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!