Building a Clarinet Choir

Mike Lawson • Archives • October 6, 2008

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Specialized ensembles provide a unique opportunity for both music students and educators. They allow students to hone specific elements of musicianship and delve into an intimate musical world, while teachers get a chance to work on creative arrangements and unique instrumentation.

Mitchell Estrin is an associate professor of Clarinet at the University of Florida, where he runs an acclaimed clarinet choir. In a recent SBO interview, he was kind enough to share some advice on tackling the challenges presented by running an ensemble such as his.

School Band & Orchestra: How did you get started with clarinet ensembles?
Mitchell Estrin: I grew up in Chicago and in the ’60s and ’70s clarinet choirs were very popular in the Midwest. I played in my first clarinet choir when I was in high school.

SBO: What was it that drew you to that ensemble?
ME: Well, of course I love the clarinet, but I think the sound of the group is what enticed me the most.

SBO: When did you start forming your own groups?
ME: Actually, the group that I played with in high school was one that I formed myself. I had heard a local community group play, and I decided that we should have one in my high school. We had quite a prolific band program and we had instrumentation all the way from the E™

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