In another posting I hinted on being able to keep one's eyes, ears and mind open. After playing for the last two days with only an audience of myself I thought it might be beneficial to convey what I have learned or created from my clarinet playing. Musical Interpretation is an art form that is isnt really learned, its projected from ones own desires and internal feelings. Think of the making of a play or movie. Everyone has seen where the director asks the members to project some emotional state so that the audience can feel the scene. This is the same as music. In teaching one can teach fingerings, articulations, following dynamics and doing everything written on the piece of paper. But the artistic interpretation comes from within and projecting ones emotions of what the music means to oneself outward from the instrument. This morning I found myself playing several clarinets before settling on my Leblanc LL. I also wanted to play the Mozart Clarinet Concerto k622, and more specifically the Adagio movement which Ive never really played before. The first two measures (3 actually) took me a good 15 to 20 minutes to get it to sound and feel the way I wanted. What do I mean ? Technically its very simply. In pianissimo and written dolce. From mid C, F, A, A, G, F. Technically very simple. But it just doesn't sound right to the way I wanted to express and put emotion into the playing of the piece. This harkens back to the early days of my music career. I recall my high school band director, back when I was in elementary school drawing a diagram of a teardrop bell curve and explaining the sound rises up quickly then trails off, such as playing orchestra chimes. To my private teacher pushing me to be more expressive I was great technically but lacked this expressiveness. Im glad that she pushed that even though I really did not know what I was doing. How does one express emotion and character through a musical instrument ? Donald Sinta at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is known for taking an entire lesson on just the first one or two measures. Why ? not only is it related to perfect entry, articulation but also conveying a feeling which can then be projected to the rest of the piece. I didnt realize this until years later when I was able to actually start conveying emotion and feeling into the music that I play. This cant really be done in a concert band setting but its perfect for a solo setting. Just playing concertos or anyones piece that they enjoy. Listening to music requires one to open up ones ears and listen over and over to a piece, or segment and listen to the minor variations in technique, breathing (and blowing) in the slight variations of tone and dynamics related not only to a segment or the entire piece but to each individual note. Years ago I studied Grover Washington and Boots Randolph. About a year each. But not every piece that they played, just a handful. With Grover it was fabulous, hearing the minute variations of notes and slight dynamics and jazz techniques. This was quite a learning experience. Boots Randolph himself had tremendous techniques to learn too in his recordings. I followed up the Grover and Boots lessons with studying clarinet and piano solos. There is an infinite amount one can learn from listening to soloists music over and over again. One has to open ones minds and listen, and listen for more over and over again. But I was lucky in that I had a very nice stereo that could handle deep lows and highs as it supported 2 channels of 6 speaker cones from a small ceramic tweeter to 16 inch basses and a high end Sony ES equipment powering it all. Sometimes today we listen to cheap speakers on the computer or cheap headphones that just don't bring out those slight variations, and to me, the music sounds drastically different between the two. You don't need to turn up the volume but be able to hear the intricacies in the music. Ones own internal ability to express emotion and feelings into ones playing is the difference between being technically correct and providing a fluid emotional story which one is able to convey to the listener. Back to the Mozart. Playing the first 6 notes is easy. But add that bell tone like an orchestral chime to each note, and provide a slight raise in dynamics on each note going up, and on the 2nd measure the A with a slight push before trailing off down to F, and one has a much more dynamic entry as if conveying a story. But thats not all, add a fluidity of expressionism that creates a desire for the next note, but not really knowing when it is coming requires a very slight delay of the last A of the first measure to also include a retardo of the first A of the next measure before back to tempo. One has to hear the difference to appreciate the artistic value one has to learn to convey in music. Studying music is much more than reading and doing exactly what is written. But one has to learn to express ones own internal feelings of the music outwardly through the instrument. This is the real lesson to learn and the reasons behind striving to learn all the different techniques a teacher has to offer. But as I have learned, always keep an open mind and learn to listen and listen more deeply to what you hear. You are bound to learn a lesson that is very difficult to teach and only yourself can paint the blank canvas which is a written piece of music. I some point I hope to record this example but I lack any good recording capability at the moment.