Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Reed Repair Shop #1, and a new Five Minute Reedmaker video

Just a quick note today.  I've posted my first Reed Repair Shop video, along with my FOURTH short Five Minute Reedmaker reed lesson.  My goal is to help people who feel insecure about their reeds, people who need just a little more clarity on certain aspects of reed making, and people who ARE reed makers but have gotten themselves into a slump in some way.

Reed Repair Shop #1: Anthony's reeds are pretty good!  They work, they play in tune, and they look like reeds.  His stated concerns were tone and response, and I think I was able to offer some good suggestions.

watch Anthony's video HERE  or below.


Would you like me to look at YOUR reeds?  Check out my offering HERE.

My fourth Five Minute Reedmaker video is a walkthrough of winding - the process by which the cane is attached to the staple.



Let me know what you'd like to see me cover on a future episode!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Two New Reed Initiatives

I've been working hard on these next roll-outs.  You probably know from reading this blog that I've been running an Oboe Reed Boot Camp every summer since 2012, and that a couple of years ago I started offering Reeding Circles - social reed-making get-togethers - each month during the year.

The limitation, in both cases, is location.  There's not a huge mass of oboists where I live, and it's hard to get a large enough group together - anywhere, really - to make a traveling Boot Camp worthwhile, though I do love the concept.  (Do you have five or more interested oboists and a free weekend?  Get in touch!)

But there is a need.  People do have questions, and frustrations.  Reedmaking and teaching are things I am good at.   How, I wondered, could I help people beyond my own students and my own community?

There are two ways, I think. One is a series of video lessons on reed-making.  I'm calling it The Five Minute Reedmaker, and I'll be releasing one video each week on You Tube and at some point soon connecting those to my own website as well.  You can see the first few of them here.



You will note that they are very low-tech - but that's part of their charm, right?  You can tell I'm a real person because although my reed skills are real, my videography kind of stinks.  That said - if you can't see what I'm doing or if you have questions, let me know! I want to be helpful.  What other topics would you like to see?

The other, and the thing I am most excited about, is Reed Repair Shop.  Who among us, Oboists, has not hit a brick wall at some point in our reed making?  Who has not found themselves staring at a case full of reeds that all seem to have the same problem that nothing fixes?  Or, to flip it, has made six reeds that all look and feel DIFFERENT, and wondered what one consistent mistake has caused all of the craziness?

I've been there. Sometimes an outside eye is all you need.  Often there's one piece of advice that solves all of your problems.  Or an observation that you could not have made because you are too close to the problem, and too frustrated.  Sometimes you just need some nonjudgmental feedback from someone else.  I can be that someone.

Reed Repair Shop should be the next best thing to a one-on-one session. Send me three representative reeds that you have made and don't love.  I will look at them, give you my impressions, work to improve them, and capture this process on video for you to see.  I will send them back to you, hopefully improved, with advice to take you forward.

Why three?  I figure that any one reed can be irredeemably bad.  Bad cane, bad gouge, bad shape, a single bad mistake.  It might not be your fault at all, and my diagnosis might not solve your bigger problem. But three reeds that you've made are going to show your scraping habits, the areas you consistently mishandle, or SOMETHING consistent that we can talk about, and three reeds should be enough to draw a larger lesson from.

How does it work?  You order online, and I will send you shipping materials, postage paid.  When I receive your reeds, I'll make time within a week to diagnose them, fix what I can, and put together a video.  I'll mail the reeds back and post the video to YouTube.

My preference is to post that video publicly, so that others can learn from your session, too - but I don't need to use your real name if you don't wish.  Reeds feel so personal!  I can preserve your privacy and keep your secrets...

These new innovations are live now - Reed Repair Shop is available on my website, and my first two Five Minute Reedmaker videos are on YouTube.

Let me know what you think!

Friday, July 21, 2017

A Needed Reminder

I talk a lot about warmups.  How important they are. How you can do all of your practicing on warmups and get better at the oboe.  How sometimes scales and long tones are all you need.

That's not totally true, though, or at least not for me.  Abstract oboe practicing is important but it's not the only thing.

We went to a party and it solved all of my oboe problems.

I have been struggling lately to know who I am in my playing.  We came home from IDRS three weeks ago - while there I drew inspiration from everywhere and had loads of very good ideas about how to improve myself and ways I could choose to sound.  I did not have any real practice time in which to realize these good ideas.  I also bought a new oboe which feels and sounds very different from my current one.

Then we immediately went on vacation for two weeks, and I came back to a huge reed backlog which I've just now mostly cleared up.

And then for a week I played oboe d'amore - the small, spunky, adorable cousin of the English horn - with the Grant Park Symphony.  The great thing about that gig is that I could be in denial about my actual oboe playing.  The d'amore doesn't have to sound like anyone else, because it's its own adorable thing and there's only one.  This week I'm playing all English horn, and having a blast.

But at home, when I practice, now, I have no idea what I sound like.  Or how I play, or how I WANT to play, or even what I need to work on.  I'm out of the habit of just picking up the oboe and sounding like myself, and while I'm ready and eager to make changes, there has to be a ME there to change.

My intention had been to work on fundamentals this summer.  To take my time learning my new oboe in scales and long tones, make lots of lovely reeds, and enjoy the slow pace of things.  But it's been making me nuts.  Abstract oboe playing isn't my bag, or not for long.  I need it, it has to happen.  Patient long tones do make me better, and scales are helpful and etudes are tremendous.  I like a nice ten minute warmup that hits these fundamental skills, but playing actual music is what I need in my life.

Monday afternoon we went to a chamber music party.  I did not want to go.  It was in Chicago, far from home, and we had to get ourselves in the car in the early afternoon and wouldn't get back until late.  Of course I wanted to stay home, do laundry, make reeds, catch up on my life - which is somehow still just out ahead of me in spite of the relaxed summer schedule - but we went.

As soon as we arrived I was SO glad we were there.  I played Haydn, Mozart, Poulenc, and Britten, with great colleagues, while eating and drinking and enjoying ourselves - and suddenly I had the thing I had not had, which was CONTEXT.

Playing my new oboe with other people, and using it actively to make phrases, effects, colors, and dynamics told me in a very few minutes what hours of patient abstract practicing had not.  Playing actual music, like riding a bicycle, is something I don't forget how to do.  Making real music uses all of those fundamental skills, of course, and in the middle of the season I crave the time for calm sessions of long tones to keep myself accountable - but I can't keep myself interested with warmups alone.  

Playing in tune has nothing to do with matching a tuner, as much as I like my tuner app.  It has everything to do with fitting into a chord, into a group, blending, leading, matching sounds.  Making precise attacks and pristine releases is meaningless in a vacuum, but having the oboe speak right with the strings and disappear like smoke at the end of a sustained taper - to make JUST the right effect at JUST the right time - is magic.  It's WHY we practice.  This party was exactly the thing I had needed to remind me.

In other news, I LOVE my new oboe. Looking forward to many more REAL MUSIC experiences with it going forward!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jennet Ingle on Crushing Classical

Are you listening to the Crushing Classical podcast?  Tracy Friedlander has been doing really great things ever since she started it - maybe less than a year ago?  It's become a conversation about the intersection of music and entrepreneurship, and about how you can make your career be what YOU want it to be. Which, as a concept, is right where I live.  I'm delighted to see it come up in my feed every week - and THIS WEEK'S EPISODE FEATURES ME!

I did this interview back in the spring, right at the tail end of my busy season, and when the episode launched yesterday I was very nervous about listening to it.  I mean, of course there's the sound of my own voice, which always causes me to cringe, but even more to the point, I had no memory of what I talked about.  Vaguely I remembered blabbering on about my reed business, and telling the embarrassing story of our first foray into real estate, and laughing a lot with Tracy, who is delightful and easy to talk to. But really, those last couple of months of the spring were a blur and I could have said anything.

But I steeled myself, and listened to the episode, and was pleasantly surprised at how well Tracy framed and steered the conversation to make it seem as though I was on point. It came out sounding pretty cohesive.  It was fun, and funny.  And maybe interesting.

I certainly recommend the podcast which you can find at iTunes or in your favorite podcast app, but if you want to start out by listening to ME, you can do that HERE.  


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The End of My IDRS Conference

I have no words.  It's been too much, too great, too inspiring, too stimulating, and finally too exhausting.

Over four days in Appleton I heard two of my students outdo themselves performing in masterclasses.  I helped one find a bocal, and joyously encouraged another to purchase an English horn.  I bought an oboe.  The Ingle Oboe Studio is SUBSIDIZING this convention, I've  just realized!

I've been blown away by player after player, piece after piece.  I'm returning home with a new eagerness to play better,  do better, be better.

I saw my teacher.  I saw my mentors.  I saw friends and colleagues.  I saw former students and current ones.  I've made contacts for the future, and had beautiful conversations in the now.  I sold some CDs, and met some reed business customers and blog readers.  

I performed, and some of it went really well, and I know now how I'm going to improve that program going forward.

The thing that made the greatest impression on me this time around was how FRIENDLY everyone was.  It's not JUST that many of us see each other only once a year at this conference.  It's not JUST that we all are sympathetic to anyone trying to make it work on this instrument that we love - people forgive water in the keys, resistant reeds, unexpected noises, and celebrate the performances that transcend the instrument.

It's that the great and famous players, the teachers, the amateurs, the students, are all just folks. You can fall into a conversation with anyone as you wait for the next concert to happen or sit in the cafe taking a break from the exhibition floor.  And we all had common ground, and everyone was open to learning, and everyone wants to know what equipment you are playing on and what you like about it.  How your orchestra is doing.  What you're working on professionally.

I'm friendly, and I trust and love humans as a generality - but I don't have this kind of easy, open camaraderie with random people in the post office line, and I wouldn't approach just any celebrity to speak about my appreciation of their work.  But at the convention we are just people, all working on it together, and I loved that sense of community.

When the great Alex Klein came out onto the stage on Friday night, he was in the midst of an extended and public setback, which I will not go into here. The musical world has been abuzz.  There are many thoughts and many rumors.  But his arrival on the stage was greeted with the longest ovation of the entire conference.  His performance - from memory - of the Silvestrini Etudes was thrilling, imaginative, amazing, magical.  And the reception from that audience was tremendous.  It was an outpouring of love, respect, affection, and validation.  I was a part of that ovation, that audience, and the experience brought tears to my eyes.  In the double reed world, you can have setbacks, but we don't forget what you have done and been for us.  The oboe players - they have your back.

Friday, June 23, 2017

My IDRS Conference Day Two

Today was another amazing day at Lawrence University in Appleton.  I sat riveted as Aaron Hill put four students through Ferling Etudes in an enjoyable and inspiring masterclass.  One of my students played for him and I was SO proud of her, and delighted to hear his suggestions to her.

I love attending masterclasses because I always hear so much that I can use! Sometimes it's suggestions that I can incorporate into my own playing, sometimes a turn of phrase that I love for my own teaching, sometimes a concept I had not considered.  I loved, for example, the way he released a student's tense throat by having her intentionally repeat the bad thing before finding the good thing.  I loved the way he worked on rubato - he had a student conduct by "bouncing a basketball that you always expect to come back up" and then fit all of the notes into the bounce.  Lovely, right?  And actionable.

I heard the great Nermis Mieses present a spectacular Silvestrini solo piece that was full of the most interesting sounds I've ever heard an oboe make.  So expressive, lovely, and HARD!  I'll be buying the piece, for sure- because I want to make those sounds - but I don't know if I can grow up and sound like Nermis.  I can aspire to, though.

Most of the time I spent at the exhibits.  I'm working hard on my project of buying a new oboe.  I've never shopped at the convention for an instrument before - it's overwhelming because of the sheer number of options available.  On the first day I played almost every oboe in the room - it took hours - and made a list of my top six or so.  Then I had to leave so I wouldn't go crazy.  Day two, I focused on those top six, narrowed them down to two, but then accidentally found two more.  The step I found the most helpful was hooking up with a colleague who played each of my choices for me - hearing them with my actual ears instead of filtered through my own body and my own  perceptions of playing was very enlightening and enabled me to eliminate a few choices.

Friday is the day, though.  I plan to take my top few choices out of the room and play some real music on each of them in a quieter space, and then pull the trigger and buy one.

Getting this task accomplished will free me up to pursue my other agendas - thread, profilers, consigning my Loree for sale, sheet music, EH tubes, helping a student find an English horn...

And, obviously, I'm focusing on my recital which is Saturday morning at 10:30. I have to admit that I'm not feeling good about it right now - I have heard so much GREAT playing and so many AMAZING pieces, and my program feels small and underprepared in comparison.  Hopefully it will come together between my Friday rehearsal and my Saturday performance...

More later.  I LOVE this conference!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

My IDRS Conference Day One

The International Double Reed Society is holding its annual conference this week in Appleton, WI.

I arrived on campus Tuesday afternoon, having missed the first day of recitals, just in time to settle in and attend the first evening's Gala Concert.  Six soloists, six concertos - and a lot of inspiration.  I want to have the sweetness, dynamic range, and effortless projection of Peter Cooper, and I want to be as superhuman as Jose Antonio Masmano.  And I want to play his concerto, over and over again every night - Legacy, by Oscar Navarro, was a knock-out piece.  Just stunning.

I woke up early on Wednesday morning, went for a walk, drank my coffee, and headed straight back to campus to hear more performances.  Celeste Johnson was just about perfect - I loved her sound, her intonation, her repertoire choices.  Courtney Miller performed a recital as a duo with a dancer/choreographer, and the project was beautiful, breathtaking, exciting.  Joseph Salvalaggio presented two educational works he'd developed himself, and I wondered what I had been doing with my life.  As I left his performance, I was overcome with a wave of imposter syndrome, and a level of panic set in.

I'm performing Saturday morning at this conference.  It's a brand new program for me - only about 25 minutes of music, but difficult stuff that I haven't had the chance to workshop in front of people before.  (I'll be developing it into a full recital to tour in the Fall).  I am excited about it but good GOLLY there are a lot of great players here, and I was not at all sure that I could measure up.

But action counters negative emotions, or so I've always found, so instead of playing with my phone for 15 minutes before lunch time I found a practice room and soothed my nerves with some calm, steady long tones.  Start the note perfectly cleanly, as softly as you can.  Could it be softer?  Could it be clearer?  Could it be more perfect?  Crescendo for 8 slow beats, diminuendo for 8, and let the note disappear like smoke rising from a candle.  Could it have been better?  Do it again. Is that all the forte I have on that note?  Is that as nice a taper as I can make?  How about the pacing - is it as even from 8 to 1 as it was from 1 to 8?

I didn't touch my actual repertoire until much later in the day, after dinner, but I did feel immediately better.  More stable, more level-headed.  And while I'm still not so sure how my performance will go, I do know that I can play the oboe, that I am prepared, and that here at the Double Reed Conference I am among friends and allies.  No one is actually perfect, and everyone is just trying to do the best they can and be the best they can be. I'll fit right in.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I'm Back!

This past season ended hard. My last two weeks of heavy work were...heavy.  I was mentally bruised and physically exhausted. I didn't have the energy or the willpower to practice, to write, to put food on the table in any caring way.  But that was mid-May, and we've been recovering since.  I have needed and luxuriated in the time.  At this point, I'm finding myself in a great phase of practicing both the oboe and the tarot.  This is the thing I love the most about summer - just having the time and space to dig in deep.

Last week had long been intended as MY week.  I had four days away from home and I'd been looking forward to it for months.  As always, I was overambitious about the way I planned to use my time.  I packed three books, four magazines.  Running clothes.  Three tarot decks.  And 25 minutes worth of difficult solo oboe repertoire that I couldn't play yet, to be performed in two weeks time in front of hundreds of oboists at the IDRS conference.

Mind you, I was in central Illinois to perform with the Peoria Bach Festival, which is not an insignificant time commitment.  But anytime I'm away from my home and my family responsibilities I just KNOW that I'll be able to achieve greatness .

I accomplished a lot.  Of COURSE I'm not exactly ready yet to perform, but the program is coming together.  I got a lot done.  Somewhere in the middle of Friday, though, when I was struggling to drag myself back out of the sunshine and down to my basement practice room, I sat at a picnic table by the river and drew the Five of Swords and Ten of Cups from the Wild Unknown deck.


The combination was immediately resonant.  The Five of Swords is traditionally  about a victory that doesn't feel like one, a short term win that may be a long-term loss.  This deck's image of the earthworm cut in half - the enemy vanquished but arising again twice as powerful - reminded me of the pitfalls of unproductive practice time.

Sure, you can make yourself practice, but if you aren't enjoying it, aren't actually interested and curious and enjoying the journey, you'll be learning bad habits, or practicing grimness and anger into your music.  That felt too close to my last month for comfort.

I don't want that.  I want the openness, joy, and abundance of the Ten of Cups to be a part of my practice time as well as  part of my playing and my performance.  I want to approach the oboe with the right mindset.

So I finished my walk.  I came back to my host's house, took a shower, got a cold drink - and approached the oboe fresh and refreshed.  I took some time to meditate before I started to play.  I began with long tones that brought focus to my brain as well as to my sound.  And then I had a spectacularly productive session, loving the music that I was working on.

Could I have gotten there without that message from the cards?  Sure.  It was an obvious insight.  But would I have thought to sit down, take some deep breaths, and consider how I intended  to practice?  And ponder what was wrong with my mindset?  And decide how best to get back in?

I love summer. I love the oboe.  I love the tarot.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Traveling With a Reed Business

Summer is about vacations, and breaks, and relaxing.  But people who rely on my reeds and services can't always wait while I ogle national monuments - if you need a reed you need me to be sitting at my desk!

When the orchestra and teaching season dies down, and school gets out, Steve and I like to travel, and we hope that as we move into fuller ownership of our happy middle age we will do more and more of that.  But you can't just up and leave a business for months at a time.  I've been reading about the lifestyle of "digital nomads", and I want it - but I can't quite be as nomadic with a reed business as someone whose entire income happens in cyberspace.  Which is not to say I can't be nomadic at all.

I'm in Peoria this week, performing with the Peoria Bach Festival.  It's a busy, active week of rehearsals and concerts, and I'm living in a host's home, and I couldn't truck my entire reed studio down here.  But I'm using this gig as an experiment - how little can I get away with carrying for a week away and still mail reeds on time and keep no one waiting?

So far I have the STUFF down to one small tote bag and my regular oboe case. The bag contains my gouging machine, which packs small. (It's in the lunchbox pictured here!). A small bag of shipping supplies.  My collection of shapers and a bag of staples and a bundle of pre-gouged cane. The minimum number of tools I could function with - knife, plaque, small block, mandrel.  My tiny diamond sharpening stone.  A small C clamp and some shelf liner designed to protect the surfaces I work on.  And I think it's going to work!   So far this week I've not gotten any orders I couldn't fill - though finding the time during this busy festival to work is a separate challenge!

If I were out camping in the wilderness, or in a motel or Airbnb, then printing labels and packing slips might be a challenge - I want to look into tiny portable printers for our future trips - but for now I feel pretty well equipped to travel lean and light and STILL serve my customers.


Of course, this all slightly negates the idea of a VACATION, which I still need and am committed to. It's unclear at this point how much of our three week break will actually be spent out of town, and I'll update the info on my website as things evolve - but as I travel with my family to the Grand Canyon this summer I will NOT be making reeds.  Everyone deserves a few days off!


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 $5000 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.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Coming To Terms With Mozart

There's a moment - a few weeks before the event - in which it seems like you might really surpass yourself.  That your Mozart concerto, say, could be something really special.  You have a good reed.  You're working on small sections, or you're doing slow run-throughs, or you're tossing a single movement onto a CD Release recital, and you feel pretty unstoppable.  But the closer you come to the actual performance date, the more it becomes clear that THIS is the you you are going to be, that THESE are the reeds you are going to have in your case, that miracles are not going to happen and thus THIS is how it's going to go.  And it's a sort of a disappointment, you know?

I'm not actually disappointing, I know that.  I'm playing well, and I love Mozart, and this concert will be tremendous fun.  But it probably won't be transcendent.  It probably won't live up to the potential that I sensed a month ago. It probably won't herald the dawn of a whole new me.  It will be good and I will enjoy it but it will not be life-changing.

And it's ridiculous that this is even a conversation that I'm having with myself, right?  OBVIOUSLY, that's too much baggage to attach to 22 minutes of music. Of COURSE this concerto, composed 240 years ago, isn't going to change anyone's life when I perform it Friday night.

I know that I am a better player - a better musician - a better colleague than I was years ago.  And I'm always trying to improve.  I will never get tired of trying to play better than I play, teach better than I teach, write better than I write.

I think the real problem is that I want this performance to be something it cannot be.  The Mozart Oboe Concerto is marvelous, fantastic music, but it's not meant to represent all of lived experience.  It's fluffy, exquisite fun, and my job is to present that and to present it well.

If my job is to let Mozart be Mozart - which it is - the perhaps my other job is to let Jennet be Jennet. It's OK to perform well and to love the experience of it without hating myself for not being better than I am.

Right?

I'm performing Mozart Friday night with the Northwest Indiana Symphony  Details HERE


Friday, March 3, 2017

New Machine!

I bought a Shaping Machine.  It's by Reeds n Stuff, and I purchased it from Innoledy, taking advantage of Tong Cui's helpful customer service.

It's making me extremely happy, because the hand-shaping process has always been a big pain point for me.  That's an exaggeration, I suppose.  But I'm fed up with having to spend time on tasks that don't require sensitivity or skill.

When I shape by hand, I take my soaked, gouged cane, fold it in half, cut two corners off so the cane will fit between the ears of the shaper tip, then put it onto the shaper. 




I crank  the arms down to hold the cane snugly in place, then I use a razor blade to peel away all of the cane that lies outside of the shaper form itself.


 This requires four to six strokes on each side of the shaper, and I resharpen the razor blade after every two or three pieces of cane.  
In all, the process averages slightly under two minutes per piece.  In this technique, I am left with two "ears" at the top of the shape, which I cut off after winding, an extra second or two per reed.


On my new Shaping Machine this time is cut dramatically.  


I lay my gouged cane directly on the flat form, and lock it down with one easy motion from the handle.  



I use the two double-sided blades to cut both sides off of the cane simultaneously - a total of four short swipes for a perfectly shaped piece.  


 I then lift the handle to release the cane, fold it in half at the score-mark, and I'm ready to wind.




 There are no ears at the top, so when I cut the thread at the end of winding I am done with the blank.  This shaping process takes an average of 20-30 seconds per piece.




The machine is very handsome -it's a shiny golden bronze color, and glows with efficiency.  It locks down on my desk with a nice hand clamp.  It's also easy to change the shaper form, requiring only a small flat screwdriver, which I always have on my desk anyway for oboe emergencies.




I was surprised, though, at how hard it was to find the right shape for me.  There is a long list of shaper forms that go with this machine, but the names I recognized and tried bore NO resemblance to the versions I'm used to.  I tried an RDG -1, and a -1N, and both were CRAZY wide and flared for my taste.  I think of those two shapes as quite narrow, but somehow in the translation to flat forms they lost their usefulness to me.  I also tried a shape called Coleman - it worked much better, in that the sides were much more parallel so I was able to manage the pitch and the core of the sound predictably.  But it was quite a bit wider than the shapes I prefer.  Although it didn't flare much, it was thicker through the throat and belly, and I found that I struggled to focus the sound, and especially that my students had a hard time playing the reeds up to pitch.  It reminds me of the Ruth shape, which is currently in my stable of tips, and which I use when I want something SERIOUSLY beefy to project over a big group, or when I'm making reeds for high altitude.

The shape I wound up with is called Liang, presumably after Liang Wang, the outstanding principal oboist of the New York Philharmonic.  It's very similar to my narrowest shapes - the RDG -1N and the Samson+1, both of which I use regularly.   I will probably do more experimenting in the future, but for now I'm very happy with the way the Liang shape is working for me, and especially with the time savings I'm seeing from the new machine.

I still have all my old shaper tips.  I'll still customize anything for anyone.  But this new shape is on its way to becoming my standard reed, the basic version that you can expect when you order from me.

Let me know how you like the reeds!



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mozart Preparation

I'm working on Mozart this month.

On March 24, I'll be playing the Mozart Oboe Concerto with the Northwest Indiana Symphony.  It's a piece I've performed many times, but it never gets easy. Working on it in my room was feeling more like a chore than a pleasure - all those scales!  All that busywork!

Last week I went in for a lesson with a colleague, which was intensely inspiring, and exactly what I needed. It was a stand-out moment - I've known the Mozart for a long time, but I've been out of the habit of thinking of it as a big deal.  I started at the beginning and immediately she stopped me and demanded MORE.  More energy, more quality, more sparkle, more PLAYING.  We spent two hours working through the entire piece and I was glowing with effort and joy the whole time.  THIS is what working on a concerto is supposed to feel like.

The soloist's job is to be the hero.  To bring the appropriate energy to the piece of music, to set the tone for the orchestra, to fill the hall with sound, emotion, and intensity, and to take the audience on a real journey.

It's a difficult thing to practice, in your own familiar practice room in your own home - or at least it's difficult for me.  So that's been my project this week. I'm honing my interpretations, and working at managing the energy I need - I can't over expend it and run out by the end, but to use less than my potential would be un-heroic.

Specifically, this week I am doing a mental run through of one movement every time I go out for a run. I'm working to be mindful about my musical choices, without overthinking them - because in the moment I still reserve the right to make changes!  I'm doing a physical run through of one movement each day, focusing on being BIGGER in my ideas, my dynamics, my intentions.  I'm making sure that I am using my energy actively throughout each movement and never backing off and "phoning in" the notes.

I'm still a work in progress...

Here's the great Francois Leleux tearing up this piece with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony.




Friday, February 17, 2017

CD Release Concert!

My studio has turned into a black hole for sheet music.  Two weeks ago I lost - completely lost - an envelope of music that I'd been sent to prepare for a gig.  Fortunately, that envelope was full of photocopies, that music was public domain, and I was easily able to print it off from the internet, learn my part, and then play from the orchestra's originals when I showed up to work - but this was unprofessional and unlike me.

Then, today, I searched through three large stacks of material for my Gershwin and Debussy arrangements.  I have another CD Release Recital this weekend and I thought I'd brush them up, you know? My focus had been on the solo Bach pieces as I performed them last Monday for a South Bend Symphony press event, and somehow the other works went entirely missing.  Fortunately, they are MY arrangements, and I have plenty of copies and could even have just printed them off from the computer again - but still.

What's the next thing to go?

Possibly my brain.  Or my entire head.

BUT now let me tell you about my next event.  Paul and I will be at First Presbyterian Church in Michigan City, IN, next Sunday at 3.  That's Central Time.  I'll play some of the material from my CD (Music That SHOULD Have Been Written for the Oboe, available at Amazon, iTunes, CDBaby, and jennetingle.com!)  I'll play a great Bach duet with violinist Nic Orbovich, founder of the Michigan City Chamber Music Festival.  It clearly should have been written for the oboe.  AND I'll offer a movement of Mozart's terrific Oboe Concerto, as a preview of my performance in Northwest Indiana next month.

The concert is free and open to the public.  There will be a reception afterward, and PLENTY of CDs to purchase if you are so inclined.  I can sign them.  I'd love to chat.  This will be FUN.

Please come out and join us!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Upcoming Concert

Northwest Indiana Symphony is performing tonight out in Schererville.  I'm enjoying this concert quite a lot.

Dvorak's 8th Symphony is a classic of the repertoire.  Like everyone else, I've been playing it since I was in youth orchestra, and its not a work I usually get excited about.  But there's something really pleasant, sometimes, about playing a piece that is uncomplicatedly, unironically lovely, and well written for the instruments, and full of catchy tunes.  It surprised me how much I enjoyed the first rehearsal on it.  And the second. In general I prefer a darker work, with edge and grit, to challenge my ear and my technique - but this is a nice piece and it's nice to just play something nice.

My favorite part of the concert, though, is the concerto.  Manuel De Falla's Nights in the Gardens of Spain is a terrific piece that I did not know before.  It's impressionistic, rich, lush, delicate, danceable, and just a real joy to play.  Our soloist, Yana Resnik, is outstanding.  She's got a beautiful delicacy to her sound and touch, and yet plays strong, beautiful phrases and uses her rubato masterfully.



Come out and join us!  Details HERE.

Friday, January 27, 2017

A Christmas Miracle

Right at the end of last year, right as I was sailing into the last Holiday Pops concert of a long season, I made a reed.  It was a good reed - one of those reeds that is good right away, so I didn't have to wonder or waste time fussing.  I liked it as soon as I made it.  It had a perfect balance of resistance and response, the sound was rich and vibrant, and it did what I wanted without having to be forced.  It was even colored just right for a holiday pops concert.







I played four services on that reed - one right after another, for three days - and it never required an ounce of maintenance.  No cleaning, no polishing, no refine-the-corners-again-and-clip, no worries at all.  Just soak it up and play all the music.  I called it my Christmas Miracle.

Subsequently I took a couple of weeks off, and when I came back in January it was STILL a great reed.  I recorded an audition CD on it.  Played it on a Mozart concert.  Put it away for another few weeks and then used it for our exciting Muses's Workshop chamber music concert last weekend.  It was still gold Monday night and I played it for my CD release concert.

It's incredibly rare for a reed to be that good for that long, so although I am not a measurer or a saver I decided to record this one's specs for posterity.

Let me say, I'm very much a math person in my life.  Numbers are my friends. I LOVE a metronome.  But my approach to reed-making is much more intuitive, and much more about reacting to the individual piece of cane I'm working on.  I don't generally take any micrometer readings at all, and use my length benchmarks only as a guideline.   The numbers I'm going to cite here would mean more to me if I was more aware of my norms - but I'll be interested to be able to look back on this during a reed slump sometime, or to hear from other oboists as to how these compare to their own standards.

The reed was wound on a 47mm brass Sierra tube.  I would have wound it at 73mm (that's a number I stick to) although I didn't make specific note of that at the time.  Who knew it would be so good?

As you can see, the cane cracked just above the thread on both sides.  This is a thing I don't like, but I don't automatically discard a blank with this issue - and a good thing, too, in this case!

Shape: Samson+1
Finished length: 70.5 mm
Height of rooftop (at the gutter): 65 upper blade, 65.5 lower blade (It is NOT intentional that the upper blade sits lower than the lower blade.  Don't know why it happened.)
Bottom of heart: 60 upper blade, 60.5 lower blade (Again, the  asymmetry is unintentional - if this had been a reed I had to fuss with I would have fixed it.)
Thickness, center of heart: .51 mm
Thickness, center of tip (a little back from the very tip.  How do we indicate that spot, people who measure things?): .15 mm
Thickness, corner of tip: .08 mm, quite symmetrical for all four corners

So interesting, right?  At least, I mean, to the five people who are still reading, not to all of the people who clicked into this post expecting a heartwarming story of some sort...



Tuesday, January 17, 2017

CD Release Event

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has bought and heard my new CD, and who has called or emailed or "facebooked" to let me know about it.  I'm so grateful and so pleased to hear from you - THANK YOU!  I'm sharing a few comments here...

My friend Dimitri put a great big long comment and review on my previous post about this- and I thought I might share it more widely here because I loved it so:

Finally I received the recording of the oboe pieces performed by my peerless friend Jennet Ingle. These pieces, a delight in themselves in any concert, had been written for other instruments, but Jennet, in a moment, (actually many moments) of creative enthusiasm rearranged them for the oboe. Her own oboe. And she performed them in various venues, and I was fortunate enough to follow their creative evolution from the first performance to the completed CD.
After I listened to the recording a couple of times I started, as I had intended, to listen to the music on their original instruments. So I traveled with Debussy to the island of Capri, very popular in his day, where, maybe he saw (and wooed) a girl with flaxen hair and Syrinx! The ancient pipe whose bucolic tunes he successfully recreated. But they sounded so much more natural on Jennet’s oboe; as if they belonged there…
But the Mendelssohn violin concerto has a special place in the auditory space of my brain. When I was studying the violin as a young teenager, there was a girl, a couple of years older and much more advanced, who was practicing the concerto opening on her violin. I listened and expressed my admiration at both the piece and her playing. Next time I saw her she was practicing scales but when she saw me she started the Mendelssohn……
I heard Jennet play her arrangement for the oboe a couple of times, in a couple of venues. I never cease to marvel, with envy, at the way Jennet tries and succeeds in reaching her desired, combined goal of technique and sonority.
I truly enjoyed Bach’s violin sonata VI. All my life I have had a feeling that listening to Bach requires a certain amount of work. I really think, however that this sonata SHOULD have been written for the oboe.
The Gershwin preludes brought me back to the familiar realities of the 20eth century.
I was very impressed by the high technical quality of the recording. Even though I tried to listen I did n’ t hear any breathing referred to in Jennet’s earlier blog- only my own breath being taken away….
Maybe I expected it, sort of, to hear some introductory remarks about the pieces, because I had heard Jennet Ingle do that in live performances before. A bit unconventional but not unheard of.
Congratulations Jennet! We truly thank you. You have entered the holy temple. Approach the altar and officiate with Orpheus’ heirloom.


And this lovely note from a customer in California:

Jennet,
I am thoroughly enjoying your CD.  You’ve captured the notion of music that should have been written for the oboe, and in some cases, could be considered barely playable on the oboe!  Or, perhaps put better, playable on the oboe only with a high degree of mastery!
I’m so glad you included the Gershwin Preludes and the Ravel — these pieces are approachable by folks like me!

And this Facebook comment:

Loved it, Jennet! Played the CD yesterday! Screech oboe and awesome technique! Learned how to double and triple tongue myself with lots of practice!!

I'm just glowing, folks, I really am.

Second of all, let me mention that I still have PLENTY of copies.  Do you have oboe-loving friends?  Have YOU not ordered your copy yet?  You can get it digitally at Amazon and iTunes, and physically from CDBaby and from my own website, jennetingle.com.

Third of all, and perhaps most important this week, I'll be playing much of this material LIVE on Monday the 23rd.  I'll do a small preview recital at St Mary's College, at noon in the Little Theater, on their Recital Forum series.  But then since I'll have the fabulous Paul Hamilton in town and I'll be all warmed up, we'll host a CD Release Party at Merriman's Playhouse that night.

Merriman's is at 1211 Mishawaka Ave in South Bend.  (You can park in the Farmer's Market lot if the street parking fills up.)  Doors open at 7, we'll give a performance at 7:30, and then there will be much mingling, high-fiving, and CD signing to follow.  There will be snacks, and wine.  There will be CDs available for purchase.  This event is open to the public and there is no cover charge.  Please come on out and see us! Drag all of your friends!  We love the oboe!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Upcoming Concert - MLK Day Celebration!

The South Bend Symphony's MLK Day concert will be tomorrow night.  As always, my favorite thing about this event is the new music we get to perform.

This year we are featuring a 1991 work by Michael Abels, Global Warming.  I had presumed from the title that the work was about climate change, and I was on board with that message.  But as I worked on my part, it just seemed too chipper and cheery, too folksy and happy for that.  So I did my research.  

Abels is quoted as saying:

"Global Warming was written around the time of the collapse of the Berlin Wall, when the Cold War was ending. Living in Los Angeles, I've been able to learn about music from around the world simply by opening the window; among my neighbors are immigrants from every corner of the world. I was intrigued by the similarities between folk music of divergent cultures, and decided to write a piece that celebrates these common threads as well as the sudden improvement in international relations that was occurring. Since the piece was commissioned for an orchestra in the desert city of Phoenix, AZ, "global warming" was the title that seemed to incorporate all these ideas best."

And how delightful that the message of this piece is actually one of unity, celebration, and optimism! What a wonderful way to honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and how timely to offer this message of global unity, given the terrifying reality of our current political situation.  Music SHOULD be something that brings us together, and SHOULD be something that inspires and engages us.

I'm an hour away from our first rehearsal.  Reality has not yet asserted itself - I don't know how the overall arc of the concert will feel, how our guest conductor will be, whether everyone will be prepared with the tricky rhythms and grace notes in the Abels, how the overall presentation will come together - so for now I can revel in my optimism, and my enjoyment of the concept and the plan.

Come on out tomorrow night, and hear how we do!  Details HERE.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Upcoming Concert

The South Bend Symphony has a concert this afternoon. We're playing Mozart, which of course is always great stuff. Don Giovanni Overture and Symphony no. 40. I have no complaints.

But the star of the show is Scott Metlicka, our piccolo player, featured in the Liebermann Concerto for Piccolo and Orchestra. It's a beautiful piece - romantic and flowing. It sounds like pastoral movie music one minute, and in the very next it becomes a virtuoso flourish for the piccolo. I'm really enjoying hearing and playing it.

The great thing about Scott's playing is that he really makes the piccolo sound like an instrument.  Far too many people play this tiny flute like an unpleasant toy, but the Liebermann Concerto is a real piece of music, and Scott gives the picc a real range of color, and a range of dynamic. He phrases on the thing. The piece is virtuosic but also rhapsodic and beautiful, and for me it's the highlight of the concert.

Come on out and see for yourself!  Sunday at 2:30, at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center at Notre Dame.  Details and tickets HERE.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Tool!

Happy New Year, everyone! I know I fell off this blog at the end of the year - the schedule got overwhelming and getting my CD released took up a lot of my time.  But I'm back now.  I love the oboe, I love writing, and I love you all.

Over the holiday Steve and I visited the Smoky Mountain Knife Works.  It's on that giant, congested strip of attractions in Sevierville, TN, and it's a very... outdoorsy store, so I didn't have high expectations of finding anything for me.  But ooooh we had a great time.  I've never seen so many knives and tools and the staff were super knowledgeable and friendly and helpful and we were there for hours learning and shopping.

The inexpensive folding pocket reed knife I purchased didn't end up working out for me.  It had the right shape, and I loved the size, and I felt like a real bada$$ whipping it out of my pocket to scrape a reed - but once I started really working I couldn't keep an edge on it and fell out of love pretty quickly. I'm on the lookout for another folding option, though, now that I see what is possible.

I DID discover a spectacular sharpening stone which is about to become my primary tool - and for a crazy low price and in a teensy travel size.



I've experimented with diamond stones before but haven't found one this fine.  The coarser ones I've used have made a fairly jagged edge on my knife - no good for reed-making.  So I generally work with diamond stones only to reset a VERY dull knife, and follow that up with substantial work on my finer grit stones.  This tiny green strip, though, is giving me a terrific edge on my (already sharp) knife, with only a few light swipes.  I find that I'm addicted to the burr it gives me, and it's so easy to achieve that I swipe much more frequently than I did before, but that doesn't make me resentful at all.  It doesn't feel like having to WORK to keep an edge on, more like choosing to use the absolute best edge I can have instead of the adequate blade I already had.

And for my purposes, as a traveling oboist and teacher, the tiny size is a huge bonus.  It's even smaller and lighter than the spyderco doublestuff stone which I have always sworn by.  I don't see myself actually attaching it to my keychain - but I COULD.  That's the size.

I've only been using it for a week or so, but I'm all in at this point.  Great sharpener, great price, everything I need.

Happy January to us all - it's time to get back to work!

Update: my previous post on knife sharpening is HERE.


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and place an order I get a tiny commission at no cost to you.