I got a phone call at 9:47pm Friday night. It was quite annoying to be honest because I was watching 1995’s Virtuosity with Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, an old-school, virtual reality, crazed murderer, cop redemption movie. It probably deserves the 5.5 on IMDB but Crowe is freak’n amazing in it. Heck, he did such a good job he could have been in a Terminator sequel as a next level bad-ass AI. I’m too used to him having the moral high ground so it’s good to see him where he’s bat-sh*t insane.

It turns out the call was the parent of last year’s Grade 8 ‘holy heck he got a merit, how did that happen?’ student. Apparently they wanted to get back into playing some music and do an ABRSM Diploma!

I didn’t see that one coming. I didn’t even think I’d even see this student ever again (although Auckland is a small place and with him studying medicine next year and me riding a motorcycle, maybe…)

Anyway, they were happy to have a one hour lesson the very next day, no mucking around whatsoever. This former student had decided he wanted to do an ABRSM clarinet diploma and I was the first in line to be asked to guide him toward it.

I’ve never, ever taught someone beyond grade 8. This is going to be something new.

The student had done their research and had an ABRSM list of pieces from which a performance repertoire of about 35 minutes is selected. I don’t know any details beyond that really and now I’m the one that has to do the research. Thankfully this student had been practising the Weber Clarinet Concertino in their own time so Saturday’s lesson was spent tidying it up somewhat.

35 minutes of intense clarinet music will exhaust anyone, so music selection is going to be key here. The Weber Concertino is a nice long piece with lots of rests in order to recover. Do too many pieces like the Saint Saëns first movement however, and that might lead to a lip seizure.

There’s no immediate time frame so the best I can do is lead this student as close to their goal as possible. For starters, we have to select some music and luckily I have recordings of about half the list. May as well pick something that sounds fun to play.

Watch this space.


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