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Showing posts from January, 2010

This is What I Do

I love performing. The recital I just gave in Chicago was such an eye-opener for me - it reminded me why I'm doing this and that this is what I do. Yes, my level of stress for the past two weeks has been astronomical - I felt terribly underprepared, and so distracted with the baby and the teaching and the reeds and the difficult orchestra concerts that it seemed impossible to me that I could pull it off. I couldn't have done it alone - I leaned heavily on my support system this time out. Paul and I crammed all weekend to secure this tricky music that we had never played before, and we did it all in twenty-minute chunks between bouts of nursing a teething six-month-old - again, don't try this at home.


The morning of the recital, though, I woke up ready for action. I assembled breakfast, coffee, and all of the baby's paraphernalia, and got to my dress rehearsal only 5 minutes late, which in my current life is pretty darned impressive. I soaked up a reed, played a f…

Enjoy your time

There's something magical about performance. There's not another time in your life that you can be - must be - focused in that way. I've been trying to convince my students this week - their solo and ensemble performances are this weekend - that there's a magic to the 5 minutes that you spend in front of the audience or the judge. During that time, nothing else matters. A text could be coming in on your phone, or the dog could be eating your homework at home, or there could be some really hard music coming up on the next page, but now - RIGHT NOW - the only thing that matters is playing this one phrase well. It's the only thing that's important, and the only thing you can control. You can't get stressed out about whether your performance will be good enough, or whether you are going to make it through the piece - all you can do right now is play THIS phrase, or THIS measure, or even THIS note. You might as well do it really really well. It's you…

Upcoming Concert

This weekend I'll be performing Puccini's Turandot with the DuPage Opera Theater and the New Philharmonic. It's a concert version of this tremendous opera, so the singers are in costume but there are no sets and the orchestra is onstage. This is difficult to pull off, since the orchestra is very large and having us down in the pit would help to balance the voices, but it's also very exciting, I think. There's a lot of sound, and a LOT of bodies on stage, and the music is astonishing. I admit that I didn't know this opera before I began preparing for the production, but I am loving it. The orchestration is so fascinating, and the colors sound so contemporary, and of course the singers are marvelous.

Please consider coming out if you should find yourself near Chicago's west suburbs.

Click HERE for more info.

Not Recommended

This is not how I would recommend doing this. While I stand by my long-term goals of maintaining and improving my playing and my career while also being the best mother I can be, I would say that now, this month, with Zoe at 6 months old growing more fascinating and magical every day, but still not sleeping through the night, is a crummy time to be preparing a recital and a whole bunch of difficult orchestra concerts.

I'm down a lot of IQ points with the lack of sleep. She's a good baby and does sleep easily and well between feedings - but doesn't want to not feed at night. Wants, in fact, to feed every three hours or less. Which for a night or two is not bad, but cumulatively over the past 6 months is killing me. I'm in a kind of permanent fog, and anything I don't write down gets forgotten instantly, and in the orchestra I sit in amazed wonderment listening to my colleagues effortlessly grasping meter changes that I am straining to understand.

I am accustome…

Upcoming Concert

This weekend's concert in South Bend is an exciting one. Peter Maxwell Davies's An Orkney Wedding, With Sunrise is a beautiful piece and one which I had not encountered before. It was composed in 1985, which is not sooo contemporary in the scheme of things, but it's surprisingly rare in my life now to play new music and I love it! The Mendelssohn Scottish Symphony is an intimate chamber work disguised as a large symphony. Incidentally there's lots of oboe in it, but mostly I'm enjoying hearing my colleagues show off. And we will rehearse the Bruch Scottish Fantasy tonight for the first time, but I expect great things. It's a lovely piece, too. Hope to see a big crowd!

Saturday night at 8.
Click HERE for details and ticket information.


Masterworks III
Scottish FantasyKyoko Takezawa, violin An evening with a distinctly Scottish flair, complete with bagpiper…

The Work is Never Wasted

Recently I heard a colleague complaining about having practiced music which was later cut from the concert. What a waste of time! Something about that attitude rubbed me the wrong way. Why complain about time spent on your instrument improving ANYTHING? Even if the specific notes in question aren't being performed, surely the act of working them out is building neural pathways and keeping you in shape, and that music itself may come up again somewhere, sometime.

Two summers ago I decided it was finally time for me to learn how to double tongue on my instrument. Double tonguing is a technique used for fast articulated passages, and is very very commonly used by brass players and flutists, both of whom regularly have fanfare-y or quick technical passages to play, and neither of whom has a reed in their mouths to complicate matters. The technique is more difficult for oboists, clarinetists, and bassoonists, but is certainly not unusual for these players. Most professional obois…