10 Pearls of Wisdom from Musical Legends

by Mitchell Estrin

Throughout my career as both a performer and teacher, I have often reflected upon and shared pearls of wisdom from my teachers and other important musical influences. 

 Here are ten of those “pearls” (listed in alphabetical order by last name) with appropriate attribution. For some reason, these words of wisdom have stuck with me. The wording may not be exact, but the points listed here are as they were presented.

Mr. Abato had one of the finest techniques of any clarinetist you will ever hear. So, in case you’ve forgotten the difficulty of this study, go back to your Rose 40 book and do your best to make perfect interval connections!

Mr. Bloom was a brilliant oboist and wind pedagogue who taught me that maintaining fast air speed when playing at softer dynamic levels is the key to keeping tonal integrity.


One of the greatest French horn performers and pedagogues of the 20th Century, Mr. Clevenger has noted that it is the student, not the teacher who paves the way to success - but perhaps with a little help from the teacher.

The famous clarinet virtuoso explains how to begin to cultivate your own personal sound.

This great musician brings musical taste and opinion to a logical and indisputable common denominator.

Master double bassist Paul Harris succinctly expressed an answer to many often asked musical questions.

Mr. Hasty was a renowned clarinet performer and teacher. He provided a proven point of departure to start a student on their own musical journey.

Mr. Leister, a clarinet virtuoso and master of light articulation, offers a great musical analogy from Mother Nature. 

One of the greatest orchestral clarinetists and teachers offers wise advice. So brush and floss your teeth and see a dentist twice a year for an examination and professional cleaning.

Wise words from a master clarinet pedagogue about how to be successful in a conducted ensemble.

I hope these words from this distinguished group of musicians will be meaningful for you. I am very fortunate to have learned so much from these great musicians and mentors.

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