Skip to main content

Oboe Update

So I had this oboe.  I bought it because it called to me through the internet.  I liked it, then I liked it a lot, then I liked it less.  I decided to sell it.  Two people tried it, and both seemed to like it but declined to buy it.  It came back and sat on my shelf for a few weeks, until I pulled it out to see what I still had.

And suddenly it's the best oboe in my collection!  I love it for my Chen concerto because it is so easy to double tongue even in the lower register and to pop high notes out and to sustain a note forever.  I love it to play second oboe because it is so easy to sneak in low and quietly.  I love it in my recent Big Band concert because the keys feel so small and neat under my fingers that I can lay down the complicated jazz rhythms without having to fret about my fingers - I know that's a weird statement but if I don't have to worry about the oboe I can focus much better on the music.  I loved it even in a big masterworks concert full of romantic music - that's where my love affair with it had come to an end previously.

When I see a low note, I know what to do on this instrument.  If I set up my embouchure correctly and use enough air, the note comes.  On my Loree, that solution works perhaps 85% of the time.  Hoping really hard is an important element of making entrances on the Loree, but if I just do my job the Yamaha meets me there.  When I reach for an awkward interval, the Yamaha says, Great, Boss, how soft do you want it?   The Loree says, Make me.  On this oboe it is possible for me to be (almost) completely the Unfussy Oboist that I aspire to be.

What does this tell me?  Certainly I was too hasty when I gave up on the oboe before.  Perhaps my summer of reed and intonation work has improved me to the point that I can optimize this instrument.  Perhaps I'm just a different person now, or maybe all the playing I'm doing on the instrument lately is making it more like me.  I know full well that a Loree oboe doesn't come into its own until the second year - I always love my oboes best at that time - and maybe I just wasn't willing to give my Yamaha the benefit of the doubt for long enough.  I need to be more patient.  I LOVE my new oboe!



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Discouraging Words

I can remember at least two old cranky violinists coming to talk to young me about NOT going into music.  There was a session, for example, during a Rochester Philharmonic Youth Orchestra retreat in which a real RPO professional (who was probably 47 but whom I remember as ancient) told us that, statistically, no one who graduates from music school wins auditions for jobs because there are only like 4 jobs out there in the world and 7000 hotshots coming into the job market every week. 

Quit NOW. 

I may have misremembered the details of this speech, but I remember the emotional jolt.  It was designed to discourage.

Last weekend I was presenting at a Double Reed Festival, and heard some oboists grumbling about another presenter who had evidently given something of the same talk to a roomful of masterclass attendees and participants.  High school students and cheerful adult amateurs.

And look, there's an element of truth to this.  Classical music is not a growing field, and it is leg…

Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O'Neal video everyone's sharing this week - it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it. 
Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.

Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato - his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.


What a LIBERATING concept!


When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me - it's when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.


I seek and strive for this Zone all the time - it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long…

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

We took a vacation this summer.This is not news to anyone in my life - anyone who knows me or especially Steve on Facebook followed along with all of our pictures.We took our travel trailer out to Arizona - via St Louis, Tulsa, Amarillo, Roswell, Santa Fe - and then stayed a week in Clarksdale and Flagstaff and visited some ancient pueblo ruins, Sedona, Jerome, the Lowell Observatory, the Grand Canyon.We swam in swimming pools, lakes, and icy mountain streams.We hiked.Eventually we came home again, via Albuquerque, Amarillo, Tulsa, and St Louis. (our inventiveness had somewhat worn out).After a week at home we took another trip, and drove to Vermont via western NY and the Adirondack Park (stayed an extra day to hike a mountain), lived four days in East Franklin VT, and came home via Catskill and eastern Ohio.
This vacation felt different from all of our previous ones.In the 21 years we’ve been married, I can name only one - maybe two trips we ever took that were not For Work or For …