I studied clarinet with William Rappaport when I was a graduate
student in music education at Georgia State University. He may be the
most deeply musical person I have ever known. My sense was that,
though he was a performer of the absolute highest caliber, he was
equally passionate about teaching.
When I initially contacted Bill to schedule lessons, I explained that
I was visually impaired. I wanted to share this information with him
upfront in the event that he had questions or concerns about teaching
me. I remember him saying clearly, “I am aware of the possibilities.”
That was all I needed to hear to feel comfortable entering his studio.
Bill encouraged me to take on any challenge in the clarinet
literature that interested me. He used every possible metaphor he
could think of to communicate ideas that were more easily accessed if
you could simply look at the printed page. He was always warm and
friendly, but focused, never wasting one second of our time together.
Following my work with Bill, I attended The University of Michigan
where, though I was a music education doctoral student, I was
instantly welcomed into one of the clarinet studios. Bill’s creative
work with me played an enormous role in making that happen. Now, I am
a community college professor, teaching a variety of classes including
a studio class for instrumental music students. I often find myself
using the same examples Bill employed with me to help my current
students. I am profoundly grateful for his unyielding commitment to my
growth when I was a student of his.
I’ve played clarinet for over 30 years, and was a clarinet major in college. I started studying with Mr. Rappaport after I was out of college for several years and had moved to Atlanta, where Mr. Rappaport was playing in the Atlanta Symphony. I found him to be the best teacher I had ever studied with. His ability to help me understand the musical phrase, no matter what style of music I was working on, was amazing. I studied standard clarinet etudes, orchestral literature, and clarinet solo repertoire with Mr. Rappaport. He had the same mild, yet persistent approach with me on everything we worked on – always working to get me to play it to the best of my ability.
One thing I had always feared having to play some day was the opening solo to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. A former teacher had been unable to help me with it. So, when a band I was playing with scheduled the piece and told me to get ready to play the solo, I was traumatized and contacted Mr. Rappaport for help. He worked with me and not only got me playing the opening glissando, but helped me to have a better understanding of the other jazzy spots in the piece. So now I can say I’ve performed that piece about 20 times, and the fear is gone! Thanks, Mr. Rappaport!
Regardless of your level of playing, I think you will find Mr. Rappaport to be an outstanding teacher!
Mr. Rappaport was my clarinet professor and mentor in college and has continued to be an inspiration to me both as a teacher and as one of the finest clarinetist I know, both in the classical realm and in the jazz and swing styles.
Anyone who has ever heard me play has always complimented me on my clarinet tone. I can honestly say that my clarinet tone is the direct result of Mr. Rappaport's methods and his gentle but very stringent guidelines. If you are looking for someone to take you or your child to the highest standard of musicianship, look no further. I highly recommend lessons with Mr. Rappaport. Kim C.