This course is an actual DOING course. You are required to TAKE ACTION and have fun every step of the way!
You will learn all those practical skills of playing, which fulfil the expectations of most beginners. However, the teaching goes to a deeper level as it subliminally installs the much more important concepts of musicianship – the listening skills, the rhythm and pulse, the natural phrasing and the flow of the music. The student sees the new skill set as a vehicle for artistic expression and creativity from the very start.
Originally, the material was designed for young beginners and their supportive parents. However the DVD version, which has been on the market since the beginning of 2015, has also been hugely popular with adult beginners who appreciate how the simplicity of the presentation adds up to a solid technique through which to express the music.
Designed for ease of manageability and the avoidance of problems, the series of simple steps in "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" will provide constant enjoyment, and you will feel a sense of achievement as you progress from level to level.
Use this material as:
The course comfortably niches all the relevant material from the first months of lessons into one product. Used as a series of lessons, a beginner can take anywhere from 3-6 months to complete the content. During section 8, students are told to pause the material, and use supplementary exercises to strengthen their embouchure muscles and current reading ability before moving on to the next stage – it is important to allow the playing to evolve. There is an emphasis on measuring progress, not by the number of notes learnt or the number of tunes played, but by the quality of the tone produced and by the ease of the execution of that sound.
The terminology of the notation is both American and English. Literacy skills are taught with the note values from Whole Tone/Semibreves through to Eighth Note/Quavers. The notes studied are the natural ones from low F, below the stave (in the low/chalumeaux register), to A in the throat register, plus Throat Bb, F sharp on the first space and low Bb.
Offering hours of fun and variety, the material is delivered as audio-visual instructions by Maggie Gray – your teacher on tap providing you with all the facts at hand, and the answers at your fingertips!
Grateful thanks are expressed to...
Caroline Scott – Producer and Editor.
Bill Worrall – Composition and Recording of the Accompaniments.
James Iaciafano of "Bananajims" – Character design of "Anthony the Ant".
Debbie Roe – Photography
A big "Hello" to Beginners showing all the fun stuff to come, and an explanation why it's important to do all the exercises along the way.
An introduction to the whole course. Using the material as a Series of Lessons, a Reference Guide, and a Problem Solver. How a parent can support a child and what to expect. Attitudes to practising and its importance.
Examine both the robust and delicate parts of the instrument and appreciate why its important to handle it in a specific way.
Pick your wits against the countdown clock – have fun!
Learn to keep a natural body shape as you sit or stand to inhale the air correctly. Imagine the shape of the column of air as you push it through the instrument to make the best sound in town.
How the position of the neckpiece and the length of the sling will enhance your playing experience considerably.,
Instil good habits of natural hand and arm positions before you play. Make playing feel comfortable and avoid discomfort.
How to angle the clarinet to help produce an open, round sound.
Learn how to use the Music Stand to your best advantage so it doesn't affect the way you make the sound. Practice assembling the stand and avoid bending it.
Revise this section frequently until all the body positions become habitual – get the most out of your playing experience.
Can you shout out 6 correct answers? We're just checking you have been listening!
Learn about the muscles of the mouth, and how to put the mouth and teeth around the mouthpiece to make the sound easily. Learn to make the sound in a few short steps, then slowly follow a series of mini exercises to ensure you breathe in through the mouth correctly (the nose is never involved in playing) and tongue the reed correctly. You will need to use a mirror at head height to make sure you learn each small step correctly. Take plenty of time with this exercise.
Learn exactly what to do if the sound doesn't come out as you want. Learn to make sound production comfortable and easy. Learn what to do if you have a wobbly lip or you look like a frog.
Get into the daily habit of improving your sound control and quality with this simple exercise. Develop your listening skills at this early stage by asking the right questions about the sound you are making.
The muscles of the mouth have not been used in this way before so can not be expected to have good "muscle memory" yet – revise these important principles frequently to ensure good embouchure habits and avoid practising in any unhelpful habits that may impair your playing in the future.
Appreciate how learning to read is going to be simple. Learn the lengths of the notes in both American and English terminology. Learn the rest values and where they are written on the stave.
Become familiar with the stave. Learn the names of the notes within the stave and a rhyme and a word to help you identify the name of each note. Understand the concept of how the pitch of the note rises the further up the stave it is placed.
Learn to be "pulse aware" from the outset to bring your playing alive.
FEEL the pulse then THINK/count the rhythms of the written music to the pulse you FEEL. You will be surprised how easy this is.
Learn New Note "E". LISTEN to how the note sounds, SEE where the note is written on the Stave and FEEL the fingers on the Clarinet as you play "E".
Play along with Bill Worrall's fabulous accompaniment and follow the music on the stave as you play.
New Note "D"
FEEL the note, SEE the note, HEAR the note.
Play "Swing with D"
Learn New Note "C"
Play along with the accompaniment and count as you go. Follow the indicators as the notes move along.
The notes C,D, and E are combined in "Smoothly Please" . Play along with the accompaniment and see the fingerings as you follow the movement of the notes.
"Remember to RECAP regularly" – keep your skill sets and knowledge refreshed.
Shout out the right answer before the clock counts down! Can you score 6 points?
Understand the meaning of the flats and sharp signs at the beginning of the lines of music and how they affect the pitch of the written notes.
This huge section – apart from being for your FUN, ENJOYMENT AND ENTERTAINMENT has THREE MAJOR OBJECTIVES
1) To teach a SYSTEM OF READING MUSIC, enabling you to BECOME MUSICALLY LITERATE forever.
2) To teach the awareness and importance of PLAYING WITH A PULSE and BRINGING THE MUSIC TO LIFE
3) To teach the RANGE OF NATURAL NOTES in the chalumeaux and throat registers of the clarinet plus low and throat Bb and F# (first space).
Each section is a unit on its own, introduces either one or two notes and is a progression on the previous section. Read about the Specific Teaching Point of each section before you start it, then give it your focused attention.
The above musical concepts are introduced gradually building up a comprehensive and robust skill set towards the end of the chapter.
You are encouraged to feel the pulse before you play, and count yourself in – developing a sense of setting the speed of the piece and establishing the pulse. There are two accompaniments to all the tunes. For your initial support,the first accompaniment incorporates the melody that you will play along with then the next accompaniment allows you to play the melody on your own and feel a more soloistic experience.
Take your time with this chapter. Measure progress, not by the number of notes known or the number of tunes played but the quality of your sound and how ease at which you get your sound.There are specific instructions throughout where to pause the recording and exercise your newly acquired skill set before moving on.
You are encouraged throughout to SEE HEAR FEEL. Link up your senses and make your playing a sensory experience full of life and energy right from the very start.Rather than just thinking "This note's an "E" or "This note's a "G" ................... ASSOCIATE YOUR SENSES!!!
Learn New Notes "F" and "G" (throat register)
Play along to the accompaniment of "F&G Swing"
Play along to the accompaniment of "Jingle Bells"
Learn New Notes "A" and "Bb"
Play along to the accompaniments of "Rocking A&Bb"
Play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" Play with the accompaniment.
Learn New Notes Low "A" and "B"
Play "A Minor Creepy Song"
Learn New Note Low "G"
Play "Low Low Down" and play along to the accompaniment
Play "Running Quavers"
Learn New Note Fsharp .
Play "Quavers/Quarter Notes in G"
Learn New Note Low "Bb"
Play "F Major in 3"
Use this chapter in the future to revise all the essential points to keep your knowledge, technique, and quality of sound on track.
Can you get all the answers right? There's a countdown clock so you better be quick!
Start to learn finger patterns, strengthen your technique and learn...
Discover the solutions to those usual challenges that are encountered by beginners...
Maggie Gray is a member of The Royal Society of Musicians of Great Britain. She has had an extensive career as a professional musician, working in television, radio and London's West End Theatre Orchestras, both as a woodwind player and Musical Director. Maggie trained at Trinity College of Music, London, and Reading University. She is an experienced teacher at primary, secondary and professional levels.
"Maggie’s teaching style is fun fun fun! A great teacher who knows her stuff and inspires her students. Learning with Maggie was so enjoyable. She’s a genuinely knowledgeable educationalist, with a sense of humour and a wealth of professional experience.” Anthony Strong,
Welcome to the "Take Note Beginner Courses" Allow me to tell you how they evolved.
My career has fallen into two stages. For the first 25 years, I played professionally, full time with a small amount of teaching then I qualified as a middle school music specialist at Reading University and my passion became teaching instruments. Combining a professional playing perspective with extensive teaching experience has enabled me to create a system of learning that has fantastic results with students of all ages.
I believe that all students have the ability to play. I never audition to establish talent because many beginners, after a challenged start, can blossom into accomplished musicians. With the right guidance, I believe all students can reach a good standard for themselves and thoroughly enjoy the process too.
As a child, my experience was typical of so many beginners. I could so easily have given up when the usual challenges arose. Had it not been for a supportive teacher and a smart Dad, who insisted that I follow through, I could so easily have missed out on the fabulous career I've enjoyed. After what seemed like a long, arduous start I felt comfortable, fell in love with playing and there was no stopping me.
I honestly believe that playing a musical instrument is one of the best things a student can do. The procedure of learning can be made easy and pleasurable through the whole musical journey. As well as being endless fun there are so many other benefits – the developed confidence, the enhanced motor skills, the sympathetic musical ear – are all life-enhancing - and life-lasting too.
As I know what it feels like to struggle a beginner, it has always been my mission to make each pupils' experience as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. There is simply no reason to struggle at any stage of playing. Over the years, I have welcomed parents into the occasional lesson and encouraged them to know a little of what their child is doing as the child always blossoms with a small amount of home support. Parents feel distressed seeing their young child struggle at home and they often feel helpless about what to do. They hold the myth that they are "not musical" and believe that they can not be of support. Suddenly it hit me that I had to create a resource for parents and children for the beginning stages of learning.It was such a radical idea because nothing like this existed out there.
Frequently young beginners forget some of what the teacher has said and will spend the week before the next lesson practising in mistakes and setting in problems and disillusionment. As a professional I know – the challenges at the beginning are always about the technical handling of the instrument – never about "being musical" A supportive parent can be one of the most valuable assets a child can have. Just by knowing simple facts a parent can merely prompt a child here and there preventing mistakes and unhelpful habits practised in over and over again. In turn, this keeps the progress, the motivation and energy high and the child's' experience transforms.
Without the right guidance, any beginner will struggle. The problem solving "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" courses were born in 2015 and until recently have only been available in DVD format. They have been welcomed to great acclaim, not only by young beginners and parents but by also by adult players who wish to either self-teach or supplement their lessons. As well as being a series of lessons "Take Note Beginner Clarinet" is used as a reference guide to fundamental skills, providing solutions and answers on demand when you have a challenge with any aspect of your playing. Being audiovisual this is like having a teacher in your living room – but at a fraction of the cost. Having the answers on tap gives you the peace of mind you are on track to a superb and secure start to your playing experience.