Skip to main content

Timelessness

You know how, when you're really engaged in a performance, time slows way down? Every second feels eternal, and your focus is both intensely tight and also broad, and you can react in the moment to the nuances your colleagues throw you, and you have no sense of the passage of time. You emerge at the end of the concert and it could be five minutes since you sat down or four hours.

This is why I do what I do. It doesn't happen every time - sometimes a concert is just work - but when I get there, the intensity of focus that I feel is so invigorating that I can hardly wait do it again. This is why I always perform solos from memory, too - I love how hard I have to concentrate to make it work, and how I can slide into that zone where my intellect is telling me what happens next but also my fingers know, and my whole body, and at the same time I'm aware of the world around me and the piano and my own sound and every note that I'm playing but not of the time that's passing.

The baby has a similar effect on me. I can be playing with her and smooching her amazing little face and eliciting smiles, and then she can poop and I can clean her up and then she can poop again and I can clean her and the changing pad and the outfit she had been wearing, and then I can nurse her, and lay her down and make sure she's comfortable and look at her beautiful little sleeping self, and only then notice that and hour and a half have gone by and my oboe is still sitting unswabbed on the chair where I left it when she summoned me, and the cane I had wanted to soak for 20 minutes is limp and lifeless at the bottom of the bowl, and the bed still isn't made and the dog is crossing his legs and I have a student coming in RIGHT NOW, and the surprising thing is that I don't mind at all.

Certainly, I would like to get more done and be a little more on top of my game, like I used to be pre-baby - but I kind of love the fact that I am completely in the moment with her. I've always been pretty Type A, and have always maintained a very structured - not to say regimented - schedule. There's something a little bit delightful about being forced off of that. When I'm with Zoe I am not thinking about the 27 things I still have to do, I'm just enjoying her. And the rush I get from just being in the moment is like meditating. Or performing.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

They tend to play the oboe only from the TOP of their body, north of the collarbone, and it winds up unsupported.  Fussy.  Weak.  And out of tune.

So I back them into a corner, and have them stand a foot or so out from it, facing out into the room.  And I challenge them to find a sound that resonates BEHIND them, out from the corner of the room that they are not facing, to fill the space without blowing directly into the space.

It's a weird metaphor.  I wouldn't have any idea how to describe the physical technique to do it. When I find it in myself, it feels like my back is puffy and my body is round, and large, and barrel like, and also collected and zipped up, and supremely powerful.  If you know me, you know that these statements about my body aren't remotely true.  But that's what I feel when I'm blowing well, and filling the room, and owning my resonance.

I teach resonance.  I talk …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Never Trust an Oboe, Part 2

(Part One HERE)
(Similar story HERE)

Mercifully, THIS one didn't happen to me.  But my poor student was playing an audition for his orchestra, and reached up with his right hand to turn the page of his music.  And heard a "plink".  And when, a split second later, he returned his hand to his oboe to continue playing, he found that his entire thumb rest had fallen off onto the floor, leaving only the post it had been mounted to.

With his hand now contorted uncomfortably, he finished the audition - ably, I am sure - and tracked down the crucial little piece of metal.  Evidently the screw that secures the adjustable thumb rest into its most optimal position had come out - never to be found again - so the thumb rest itself now can escape at will.

He devised a workaround - teflon tape to keep the thing in - but let this be a lesson to all of us.




Seriously, the oboe is not your friend.  It's like a cat trying to slip out the door - it's just WAITING for an opportunity …