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Showing posts from April, 2012

Zoe is Awesome

Zoe is 2 and 3/4.    She loves to sing. She can’t carry a tune, or match pitch with me AT ALL, which I am very surprised by.  It’s not even really close.  But she knows every word to all of her songs, and bellows them cheerfully out at any opportunity.   Verbal, more than musical, but definitely enthusiastic. 

I am astounded at how fast she memorizes new books.  If I read a story to her four or five times she’s got it, and can “read” it to her toys in bed. I think BECAUSE I can read, I don’t have this kind of storage potential anymore, but it makes me think about the oral traditions of pre-literate societies, and suddenly I can really imagine how a legend might be passed on, word for word, for generations.  If my 2 year old can recite The Tawny Scrawny Lion with that much accuracy, how much more could a motivated adult retain, and access, and teach, and use?  Humans are amazing. 

Zoe has about a thousand toys, and it used to be that she just projected directly onto them the emotions …

Upcoming Stuff

What's Going On?
This is just a quick (for me) note about an exciting concert I have coming up out of town.

You may recall that last spring I did a program called CHROMA, an exploration of color and contrast featuring video elements by Paul Hamilton and Caleb Vinson and music by Rossini, Silvestrini, Pasculli, and Louiguy.  It coupled the light and movement of Impressionist painting with the beauty and virtuosity of the solo oboe, and celebrated the colors of the human voice.

At the end of this week I will have the opportunity to revisit this program.  Paul and I will be traveling to Pennsylvania, and performing CHROMA on the Delaware County Community College's Concert Series. The performance is Sunday, April 29, at 3pm, and further information is available HERE.

If you don't happen to live near Philadelphia, you could still help us out by letting your East Coast friends know about this performance.  My fan club is not primarily located in this area and a little work of mout…

My Father's Bike

My bike broke last week.  At least, the gears started slipping in a weird way, and a cursory examination didn’t yield any fixes that I thought I could manage, so I need to take it to the shop.  I commute Wednesdays by bicycle, because my Notre Dame teaching is less than 5 miles from home, and because the nazis lovely ladies in the parking department won’t replace my lost parking pass due to some technicality in my paperwork.  I have visited three different offices - twice - and am still unable to park my car on campus.  If the problem is not fixed by the next snowfall, I shall quit.

I digress.  Since I hadn’t gotten around to the bike shop errand, I headed out to my garage recently to investigate the options.  When my father passed away, almost three years ago, my mom brought two of his excellent bicycles to me, as his athletic successor, and since I was at that time eight months pregnant I tossed them in the shed and forgot all about them.  They moved to our new house out of inertia …

Upcoming Concert

This weekend I am performing with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and having a wonderful time. We are playing the Brahms Piano Quartet, orchestrated by Schoenberg, and it's tricky and beautiful and deep and enjoyable.   The orchestra sounds great, as usual, and I am looking forward to the concert Saturday night.  Details HERE.

Context

Last year I had the opportunity to play an opera with a student playing second to me.  And I was surprised and impressed.  I see this student every week in lessons, and I think I know his problems and his playing.  But in this opera pit, IN CONTEXT, he was a far different oboist.  The style and musicianship were exactly right.  He was environmentally sound and fit in with everything that was going on.  He didn't need to be nudged for entrances, or reminded to listen around him.  The intonation was perfect and the oboe playing irreproachable.  I forgot for long periods that I was working with a student, and enjoyed playing as I would with other professionals. 

When I spoke with him in his lesson about this, he absolutely confirmed it.  He felt the most comfortable in ensembles, where he could use the musical style and energy from his surroundings instead of generating it himself.  He didn't see himself as a solo oboist, but as an orchestral musician.  And that is also the way I…

CHROMA, again!

My next big project is a trip to Philadelphia.  Paul and I will be performing CHROMA on April 29, on the Delaware County Community College’s Performing Arts Series

When I booked this concert, it made a ton of sense.  I was very proud of my CHROMA programming, and the video project that went along with the recital was exciting, and popular.  I loved the repertoire and had worked incredibly hard on it.  The five full and partial performances I gave last spring made me confident that I could play the program over and over, and I wanted to make the most of that preparation.

Since then, of course, I have prepared a new program.  My Moveable Feast performance, with all new difficult repertoire, had been intended for January and February, but I wound up doing my final performances in late March instead.  So effectively, I am just beginning to practice CHROMA now, and will be performing it in 3 weeks.    Which seems like kind of a bad idea.

But it’s fun!  It’s going really well.  Turns out th…

Teaching Practicing

This morning I was working to polish the Mozart Quartet with a student.  The piece is full of tricky, finger-y passages, and we had spent the first 20 minutes using a range of practice techniques to solve some of them.

Can you tell where the problem is?  OK, let’s just play that bar.  Just that beat.  Just that interval.  Play it faster.  Play it backwards.  Play it slower.  Change the articulation.  Change the rhythm.  Etc, etc.  We’ve been working together since last September, and we’ve solved a lot of technical problems in lessons, using lots of approaches.

Eventually we started a run-through of the piece.  He got about half-way through and bumped into another touchy section.  And before I could say a word, he played it again, fast, then more slowly.  He correctly diagnosed the problem - “I’m not putting that C# in!” - and fixed it.  He played the beat in question, at tempo, and then added one note before it.  Then two notes, then three.  He ran the measure slowly and made sure he c…