Thursday, April 27, 2017

Everyone Flops

It was winter, now it's spring
It got humid and my reeds changed
I was tired from driving
The conductor was unclear
I couldn't hear my entrances
I'm not good at playing second oboe
My reeds are all too old or too new
My oboe is out of adjustment
I wasn't warmed up because of not playing the first piece
Dvorak is mean to the second oboe

Every one of those thoughts went through my head during the ten minutes that I was onstage playing the piece I couldn't play, and not one of them was helpful.

Because, ultimately, it was all on me.  I couldn't pull it together,  I didn't do a good job, and I disappointed myself.  Bad concerts happen to everyone, occasionally, but in this case it happened to me and it was no fun at all.  



A student came in this week, and told me a sad story about the concert she'd played over the weekend.  But unlike the defeated me you saw above, she framed everything in the form of a lesson learned.  She shouldn't have had only one good reed to her name.  She shouldn't have left her oboe on the stand. With the reed in it.  She should have had more in-progress reeds, instead of just blanks.  She should have been brave enough to WORK on the dreadful back-of-the-case reed that she had to perform on, due to having nothing else.  She was not going to get caught out in the same way again, she said, and I believe her.

She also said that in the moment she was able to let go of her unachievable desire for a beautiful sound and excellent pitch, accept what she had, and make music through the obstacles she was facing.  Was it objectively good playing? Probably not.  But was she able to enjoy aspects of the concert, did she keep striving for each note the whole way through, and did she in fact manage to get through the event - on her own- without bailing out and giving up?  Yes.  She made something work, she dragged some measure of success out of a rough concert, and she forced herself to learn a lesson from it, and I love and respect that.  

What's my point? At some point everyone has a performance that gets the better of them. Everyone flops. There are good ways and bad ways to react to it, and I think in this case - between the two of us - my young oboist came out the winner.  

Be like Kimberly.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Balance, Rebalance, Counterbalance

I do a lot in my life and career, as I have discussed before.  And every bit of it is something I have taken on intentionally, at some point, and every bit of it is something that I enjoy - but still sometimes it gets overwhelming.  Just as you should balance your checkbook every month and your investment portfolio every year - or so I read -  I have to periodically find a way to rebalance all of the balls I keep in the air in my life.

My income comes from three main sources - performance, teaching, and my reed business.  My time has more claims on than that, of course, because of non-income-producing but important things like interacting with my husband and daughter, exercising for my own health, and practicing and writing which are sort of a part of my job but are mostly my own creative outlets.

This year I have had a lot of wonderful performance opportunities, including my Mozart concerto, several enjoyable chamber music concerts, our ballet tour to NYC, and a few CD Release Recitals. Performance is what I live for. I'm always looking for more solo opportunities, and I'm eager to revive Musicians for Michiana, which has been on hold this year due to crazy amounts of committee work with the SBSO, but there is just not time in my life.

I need more room in my schedule, more room to not do anything.  More room to let creativity happen.  I used to post on my blog multiple times in a week.  I'm a different, busier person now, but posting once a week should be possible.  Currently it is not.  I used to have performance ideas and brainstorms come to me, as I drove or ran or showered.  Those have stopped coming.  I need the space to invite this inspiration back into my life.

When I did my monthly New Moon tarot reading in March, the message I drew was to stop playing the victim about my busyness.  All the things I'm doing come from choices I've made myself, and I need to not complain about the work when it is largely in my own control.

Jennet Ingle Reeds has picked up a lot.  With the launch of my new website I'm making and selling more than ever, which is fantastic but does take a lot of my time and attention.  I have two people winding for me, and might even be looking for more soon, but I'm doing a LOT myself.  Financially this business is very good for me and I am not planning to put the brakes on it.

Which means that something else has to go.  It can't be Steve and Zoe. It can't be the orchestra work, though I do turn down more than I used to - playing validates me and keeps me visible and keeps my reeds relevant and also I love it.  It can't be the minimal amount of self-care that I try to maintain - that's REALLY minimal and without it I'll fall to pieces.

So it can only be the teaching.  I have a VERY large studio this year, due to having been low on funds and willpower at the end of summer last year.  I teach at three colleges and have ten private students as well. This is too much.  I love every one of my students, and I enjoy teaching in the moment, as I do it, but the time it takes is becoming painful and the energy it requires of me is not sustainable.

So I am vowing, here in public, to let this third of my life begin to slip aside.  I need to have fewer demands on my time and energy so I can use those resources for other things.  I'll graduate one senior this spring.  I've already arranged to eliminate one college commute by having students come to me.  I will change my tuition model to make it easier to cancel lessons in busy times.  And I'll commit to not accepting ANY new private students until I can handle my load in two days a week.  I think it may be three years before I get there by organic attrition - but I'm playing a long game here.

By allowing myself to say NO to new students, and by leaving one school, I hope to be able to cook more meals for my family, and play more games with my daughter, and more effortlessly manage vacation days out of town during school breaks.  I hope to have the personal energy to write more and practice better, and to reach out to find new performance opportunities both at home and farther afield.  I am trying to be very strategic about doing the things I want to do, which also bring in income, while consciously letting go of the things which bind me to a tight schedule and sap my energy.

We'll see how the next few years will go!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Oboe for Sale


For sale:   Loree oboe, AK Bore, serial # RJ XX.  I bought this oboe new in 2008- from Carlos Coelho - and played it as my primary oboe for two years.  Since then it has been a reliable back-up instrument.  I keep it well maintained, because oboes  are unreliable beasts.  My back-up oboes don't sit in a closet, they travel with me to gigs and teaching and are always ready to be pressed into use.


RJ  did crack, extensively, the first year that I had it.  But since being pinned and inserted by Carlos Coelho, those cracks have been perfectly stable and trouble-free.  It was fully serviced about a year ago by the great Sue Shockey, and is working beautifully.


This Loree is slim and agile.  It has a dark sound, but is beautifully flexible - I can make it bright, make it dark, make it sing or shout.  The scale is even and the high register leaps out strongly and proudly.  It plays in tune.  I have loved it for years.


Selling to buy a new instrument.  Asking $5600 or best offer.  Contact me at jennet@jennetingle.com or 773-450-4581.





Saturday, April 8, 2017

Some Gigs are Special

I work all the time.  In addition to teaching and making reeds, I play in a different orchestra almost every week.  Most nights find me out in a rehearsal or a concert.  Different repertoire each week, different colleagues, a different commute.  I take it all in my stride.

But sometimes there's a gig that is clearly special.  That is worth getting really excited and happy about.  That gig happened last week.

Steve and I got to spend a week in New York City, playing Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet with the Joffrey Ballet at Lincoln Center, to packed and enthusiastic houses, with a great orchestra, being paid well.  It was fantastic, spectacular music which was genuinely fun to play every time, and it was the greatest city in the world.  This gig felt like the best EVER band trip, in that I got to do it as an adult with grownup social skills, sovereignty over my free time, and real money, instead of as a painfully introverted 15-year-old being dragged from site to site, trying simultaneously to be noticed and not to be noticed, and struggling to make my reeds work without the skills to fix them.

My favorite part of New York was just walking around in New York.  We'd google a site, map ourselves toward it, and explore the whole way.  Sometimes we'd get to the site.  Sometimes we wouldn't.  But we were not bored for one second.

We toured MoMA.  We toured the Hayden Planetarium.  We visited Innoledy New York Showroom and tried oboes and bought reed knives and picked up my repaired gouger.  We bought books.  We bought tarot cards.  We heard great jazz at a tiny club.  We strolled in Central Park.  We had smoothies, and sushi, and falafel, and street food, and LOTS of wine.  It was an entire week of Date Night with my husband and NO child.

You know I love Zoe.  You know she's brilliant, and loving, and precious, and I love her more than anyone.  But the unimaginable luxury of NOT feeding her, NOT entertaining her, NOT wrangling her into bed every night at 8:30  - for an ENTIRE WEEK - really reminded me of how constantly hard parenting really is.

For a week we set our own schedule (yes, we occasionally did go to work), and even though Steve wasn't interested in the new age store and I wasn't that excited about the Planetarium no one whined, or complained, or dragged their feet, or demanded to be fed.  We had awesome meals out that never involved macaroni and cheese.  When we felt like eating peanut butter in our hotel to save our appetites and per diems for better things, no one objected.  When we wanted to nap in the afternoon, no one bounced on our bed.  When we wanted to sleep in, no one bounced on our bed.   We never needed to do laundry, no one spilled food on themselves, we both showered daily without having to be told to.

What's my point? The gig was so special.  We were both so lucky to be on it.  New York is great.  Parenting is hard.  I'm happy to be home. I love you all.