The goal of my work at Washington State University is to advance the independent artistic abilities and critical thinking skills of each student with whom I work. In applied clarinet instruction my ultimate goal is to have the student become her or his own teacher. Each student completes basic technical requirements, encompassing scales, arpeggios, intonation studies and extended harmonic patterns, all from memory. Assigned etudes and special exercises have clear correlation to the points emphasized in lessons. Repertoire chosen ensures each student learns a broad representation of clarinet literature and develops the skills to learn repertoire without a teacher’s guidance after graduation. Lesson Report forms provide detailed feedback and specifically composed exercises that reinforce goals and techniques for structured practice and state the weekly goals and the grade for each lesson.
To foster independent artistic ability, each student researches historical background, structure, significant requirements and recordings for each piece assigned using the Repertoire Report form. Once basic principals of phrasing are in place, the student analyses the music within the context of both historical and current performance practice and integrates the knowledge into her own performance. Furthering the student’s progress towards becoming her or his own teacher, lessons gradually move from teacher led to student led, as the student chooses the order of the material played and selects points for further work or clarification. After the student passes the junior/senior qualifying exam he or she directs study by choosing the repertoire, which allows the student to explore specific interests. For graduate students, self-directed study is expected early in first semester. This results in intense courses of study in contemporary music, nineteenth-century opera fantasies and a survey of repertoire suitable for advanced high school clarinetists.