Originally published in The Clarinet 45/3 (June 2018). Printed copies of The Clarinet are available for ICA members.
Book Reviews- June 2018
Brent Coppenbarger. Fine-Tuning the Clarinet Section. Rowman & Littlefield, 2016. 112 pp. $26.00 Amazon
Brent Coppenbarger subtitles this book “A Handbook for the Band Director.” In his introduction he states that band directors are expected to have an overwhelming amount of knowledge. Each band director must be a teacher, a conductor, a musician and an expert on every band instrument. He states that this is difficult, if not impossible. The book is intended to provide band directors with tools and information to improve the clarinet section.
The topics addressed in the book are mostly standard: embouchure, reeds, equipment, maintenance, intonation, articulation, finger technique, musicality, warm-up, rehearsing the woodwind section, preparing for a solo performance and steps to better sight-reading.
These topics are not just the typical description of each. There is plenty of detail. What is interesting is that Coppenbarger includes copious hints in each chapter not only for beginning students, but also for advanced students. In addition to that, he adds teaching tips on each facet of clarinet playing. This is very helpful, especially to the teacher who may not be a clarinetist.
Coppenbarger’s writing is clear and he provides numerous examples that give further insight into teaching the clarinet, with additional helpful hints for the entire woodwind family. The appendix includes lists of clarinet books, etudes for advanced players, magazines, recordings and selected solos for advanced clarinetists. This book is a valuable resource for any band director or instrumental music teacher. Recommended!
– Robert Chesebro