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Showing posts from August, 2011

Speaking to the Students

The city of South Bend has a little welcome session for incoming freshmen. The event makes a lot of sense, as we have 4 big colleges here but little in the way of a "strip" for them to hang out on. We are a grown-up town that happens to have a huge number of students here 9 months of the year, and they mostly keep themselves to themselves - perhaps having an introduction to the local businesses might encourage some of them to venture off their campuses and join in the community.

Apparently the Symphony gets a chance to speak every year, and this week I was asked to do the honors. Never one to pass up being the center of attention, I was right there. My speech was perhaps a little overwritten - but they sat there and took it, and hey! Maybe some of them will consider coming out to hear us! Also, I managed to keep from talking exclusively about ME and my AMAZING October CONCERTO, which I thought was just awfully selfless of me.

Hi, Everyone! My name is Jennet Ingle, a…

Summer Chops - Upcoming Concert

The South Bend Symphony has a concert this weekend! It's just an outdoor concert, free in the park, like so many other park concerts we've done, but because it is so late in the summer and my colleges are starting back up, it feels like the beginning of the orchestra season. And I am so eager for that season to begin!

Now, ready is something else. I've been practicing all summer, so it's not as though I'm returning from a layoff, but there's a big difference between practicing and sitting in the orchestra. The reeds are different. The things I need to do are different. Here in my studio I want to be perfect. I make my reeds for sound - oboe sound. I practice concertos and etudes and excerpts. But when I actually sit down in the group and launch into the Champagne Polka or Blue Tango or the Polevetsian Dances I need a reed that sounds like an orchestra. I have to be able to blend with the flute or the horns or the strings, and change on a dime. I have…

Won't She?

We are buying a house. We've been visiting loads of them, and the layout is always a big factor. Which arrangement will make it possible for us to work productively and also watch Zoe? How can I teach in our home without trapping Steve and Zoe in one small room? If I'm working in the office/studio, say, and Zoe isn't asleep, where are she and Steve based? If Steve does fulfill his dream of turning the garage into a writing room, can he work there while I am working inside and who is keeping Zoe from burning the house down or inventing nuclear fission? If Steve is out performing, can I accomplish anything, or will I have to be in the playroom constantly?

I was working through yet another scenario in our current favorite:

So, we'll be sharing the office, which is fine if I'm just making reeds. You can be in there working too, assuming she's asleep. To practice I can step out into the front room if you are working. When I teach, though, you won't real…

Summer Oasis

I can't believe that I've just sent out the first of my fall lesson scheduling emails. Where did August go?

On the one hand, I am thrilled that this summer is coming to an end. Summers are traditionally bad seasons for freelancers and I haven't had any real weeks of work since returning from the UP in mid-July. The reed business is always slow at this time of year, and although my students always SAY they want to take lessons over the summer, I wound up teaching only a select few. I think the oboe lesson habit drops off during the weeks that I travel, and then it's a hard sell getting people to start back up.

And no work means precious little money. We predict this every year, and plan for it, but expecting it doesn't make it feel any easier. I miss seeing my colleagues regularly and having the regular outlet of orchestra rehearsals and concerts. I miss knowing that somewhere out there, someone owes me money and it will arrive any day.

But although that nigg…

Working It Out on the Oboe

The running magazines and books I read all stress the importance of knowing what your workout is before you go out. Of having a number of different workouts that you do at different times of the year and different days of the week, each of which focuses on different skills and hones different strengths. Even though I continue to go out for the same 6-mile loop 75% of the time, I acknowledge this intelligent idea. When I added a weekly speed workout a few years ago I DID get a lot faster, and when I make myself do a weekly long run I DO get stronger. I schedule my runs in little tables, just like the magazines say. When I get away from my routine, as I did earlier this summer, I notice the change for the worse.

I do this on the oboe too - different kinds of practicing for different purposes - but I almost never plan in advance. Rather, I get on the instrument, work through my warm-ups for a while and just see where the day takes me. How much more productive could I be if I had a…