Victor Morosco
Used with permssion
Copyright 2015, Victor Morosco

My first lesson with Joe was while I was still a student at Juilliard. I was playing the Brahms Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano and was in a panic because in the second movement I had to play C1 to C2 to C3 on the A clarinet and could not get the 3 octaves in tune. I begged Joe for a lesson at the suggestion of Les Scott and Joe was hesitant because I was still studying with Daniel Bonade, but he agreed to one lesson until after I graduated. I went to the famous studio above Whelan's Drug Store on 50th street and Sixth Avenue in New York which I had already been to because Daniel Bonade used it 1 or 2 days a week.

I nervously sat down and explained my problem to Joe and he asked me to play it for him. He calmly explained to me the concept of balancing the clarinet. Moving from C2 to C3 by raising all the fingers on the top of the clarinet and having the thumb and octave key pressing upwards, one tends to increase the pressure on top of the mouthpiece for counterbalance by bending the head down which tended to make the upper C sharp. He suggested balancing the clarinet with the right hand on the the bar. I practiced it a few times and immediately began to hear some improvement. He also suggested learning an overtone fingering (low A flat) and playing the C to retrain my ear to where I wanted to arrive in my imagination.

I was so impressed with his definite suggestions and his supportive manner of teaching and the feeling I had such a direct method of improving a problem relating to my sound that I couldn't wait to return for more lessons. I asked a question about a sound and intonation problem and got a direct answer and solution in a supportive and kind way.

Upon graduation I began working at Radio City Music Hall and began studying with Joe. I had to solve a bass clarinet problem of playing a staccato solo in the upper register of a piece by David Rose. I had an old beat up Leblanc bass clarinet serial #055 with a Vandoren mouthpiece. He not only gave me a lesson but he loaned me his bass clarinet and his custom faced Selmer mouthpiece until I earned enough money to buy a new instrument. I studied with Joe for a couple of years after that which included lessons on saxophone and three or four of wonderful lessons on embouchure, tone and intonation production which I built my own performance and teaching techniques.

That was 55 years ago and I think of this wonderful man and teacher every day.