As much fun as it is to perform well-loved (and well-practiced) pieces, there’s something extra exciting about beginning to work on a new piece of repertoire.
New piece, new possibilities, new performances…
But as you begin learning a new piece, here are a few questions I encourage my students to research to better understand a new piece of music:
- Who is the composer?
- When did the composer live?
- Was this piece written for a specific clarinetist?
- Who performed the premiere?
- Are there recordings available of this piece?
- What era/genre/style of music is the composer known for?
- Did the composer write anything else for clarinet?
- How would you describe the style of this piece?
- Does the style match other music written during this time?
- What inspired the composer to write this piece?
- Are there any unusual techniques in this piece? If so, do you know how to perform these?
Students should research these questions (and develop their own questions) to better understand the piece as they begin practicing it. This will also save time during lessons to allow more focus on curating thoughtful interpretations and more confident performances.