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Budding Clarinet Player at Martinborough School

December 19, 2018 December 2019 No Comments

The smile on Dion Liumaihetau’s face is nearly as wide as the clarinet he is learning to play is long. 

Dion is benefitting from the generosity of clarinet player and internationally recognised music teacher, Mark Walton. Mark was one of the musicians playing during the Martinborough Music Festival. While he was here, Mark visited Martinborough School and spent time telling a fascinated audience about his clarinet and playing it for them. 

Because the basic structure of the clarinet is similar to a recorder, Mark used this instrument to demonstrate how the clarinet is constructed.  He needed an assistant. Dion offered to help. At the end of this demonstration, Mark asked Dion, who was learning the recorder, to play for him. Dion played a perfect scale – no squeaks! When asked if he would like to learn to play the clarinet one day, Dion nodded “yes”.

Following his return to Australia, Mark Walton sent a spare clarinet and method book to Ed Allen, Chair of the Martinborough Music Festival, to lend to Dion to see how far his interest would take him. Mark also offered to provide on-line lessons for Dion but thought it would be better if local clarinet player, Euan Huggett could do this. Euan was more than willing to provide free lessons for Dion.

Three lessons down the track, Dion is showing promise with mastering the clarinet. A complex instrument, he already knows how to identify the reed which will give the best sound.  He is learning how to use the bottom of his thumb to support the weight of the clarinet while at the same time making notes with it. 

It was a real pleasure to listen to Dion playing a note-perfect Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had A Little Lamb with Euan playing in harmony on his own clarinet. Dion has also played for his class.

The final part of Dion’s lesson was to clean the clarinet, carefully separate it into its parts and pack it away in its case. As for practice, Dion says he tries to do this at school after his lunch break. 

Teacher, Amanda Pickering, who helped organise the session with Mark Walton, said it was great the children had Mark to speak with them and the School “embraced the opportunity to have Dion learn the clarinet”.  Dion thinks this is “good” too.

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