Sunday, August 12, 2012

ClarinetFest Day 5

The last day of ClarinetFest was a busy one for us, as we gave our presentation and also performed with the contra clarinet ensemble.  After getting our equipment set up, we went to Adam Ballif's lecture: "Incorporating Technology in the Clarinet Studio." Adam demonstrated the use of SmartMusic to assign and grade technical exercises, how to create custom metronomes with Pro Tools, and talked about iOS music apps like Notion (a version of Finale) and Pianist Pro.  

Ballif's lecture was a great complement to ours, as we each investigated different technologies and techniques for incorporating them into clarinet pedagogy.  Our presentation, "Pedagogy 2.0: An Exploration of 21st-Century Innovations in Clarinet Teaching," centered on online resources we've discovered in the course of writing the Clarinet Cache column, as well as mobile applications.  We spent a lot of time demonstrating how to teach using the TonalEnergy app for iOS -- many thanks to Lucas Willsie for serving as our guinea pig!  Look for our full presentation and handout to be posted here soon.

Kellie and Rachel demonstrating TonalEnergy with Lucas Willsie

We had an enjoyable lunch at the Embassy Hotel restaurant with our teacher, Dr. James Gillespie, and former UNT students Malena McLaren and Chastine Hofmeister.  One of the best things about ClarinetFest is that each time we go, we have more friends and colleagues to catch up with.

Lunch with Dr. Gillespie and UNT alumni

Interesting sculptures on UNLV campus

After lunch, it was time to warm up the contras!  The warm-up room was filled with contras of all shapes and sizes, being played by everyone from undergraduate students to current and past presidents of the I.C.A.!

Dueling contras

John Scott, Gary Whitman, and Keith Koons preparing with intensity!
The contra ensemble (dubbed "A Legal Contraband" by Mary Alice Druhan) then took the stage to perform Ben Stonaker's piece 44 Contras.  From our point of view, it was an interesting and memorable performance.  Stonaker used the full range of the contrabass and contraalto clarinets, from altissimo into the extended low range, to create an unforgettable aleatoric sound sculpture.  One section sounded, in Stonaker's words, like "a flock of angry geese," while another consisted of a swelling, undulating 44-note cluster.  Audience reactions ranged from glee to complete disgust - always the sign of a good piece!

A Legal Contraband

Finally, it was time to pack up all the contras and head home.  We got to chat with conference organizer Diane Barger one last time on our way out.  She seemed happy and relieved -- as she should be after putting in so much work to make ClarinetFest 2012 a great success!  Thanks Diane!

Diane Barger

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