Monday, December 15, 2008

John Cipolla (December 2008 column)


John Cipolla's website aims to help viewers become better musicians with advice and tips on such topics as doubling on woodwind instruments, practicing, and performing. In addition to the articles and lecture presentations available on the website, Cipolla also offers video and audio clips, creating a well-rounded site with multiple formats for learning.

A a woodwind doubler himself, Cipolla designated an entire section of the website to the art of doubling. Here he gives information on not only the history of doubling, but also supplies fundamental concepts that apply to playing multiple woodwinds. He underscores the need for doublers to master the basics of each instrument, briefly discussing applications for correct embouchure, breathing, finger technique, articulation, and intonation. His advice on woodwind equipment is indispensable to the novice doubler. The website also contains an extensive listing of recommended method books for each instrument in conjunction with recommended listening sources and general readings. Information on doubling effectively covers all of the necessary components for multiple-woodwind players.

Extending the scope of information found on the website, Cipolla provides links to four of his lecture presentations at past ClarinetFests. The lecture topics range from applications of Carl Baermann's method for modern clarinetists, to jazz improvisation on the clarinet. All four of the presentations are located on the I.C.A. website. In another article titled "Internalizing the Music," Cipolla enlightens viewers with strategies on how to suppress conscious thought while playing an instrument. The player must become completely comfortable with the music in order to fully internalize it, so that in Cipolla's words, "the music will play itself." Cipolla provides clearly defined steps and exercises essential for mastery of this concept. Additional musical concepts found on the website are also concisely presented in a collection of video excerpts and audio files. Granting viewers access to an assortment of topics, Cipolla's website is highly informative and full of valuable insight.

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