Skip to main content

I'm Back

It’s been a rough few weeks.  For no good reason, really - I’ve just been feeling left-over as the season comes to an end, and a little tired of the oboe, and the driving, and the meetings.  I drag myself to my practice room and force the excerpts, and the reed-making, and retreat as soon as I can justify it.  Nothing feels particularly great, and both of my oboes have cracks that need attention that I haven’t had time to give them.  I’ve been running, but as a respite from playing and not as a project in itself - my fitness is not where it should be at this point in the spring and I’m not doing any real training.  Things came to a head recently when I warmed up carefully and mindfully, played my scales and and etude, and turned right around and left the room.  Nothing was going to make me stay there any longer.  I played my concert that night - and then left the oboe in its case.

I think this is a natural part of the cycle.  I hit this wall over and over again in my life, and it seems reasonable.  After a long stretch of hard work, I need a little downtime - even if it’s not a vacation per se, or even a long break from the oboe, I need to step back a little.  So, in the past few days I’ve taken some time off.  I’ve worked in my yard, taken long walks with my family, and pounded through some crossword puzzles.  We went to the state park yesterday and rented clunky bikes for an hour and had a blast just pedaling around in the woods.  I gave myself permission to stop practicing for a couple of days, and decided to run a 10K instead of a half-marathon two weeks from now. I turned down a high-quality, high-paying gig (that I should be at right now) with a lot of driving for a slow weekend and a previously-accepted church job nearby. I just needed that.

And it’s worked.  This morning (after a long walk and a playground outing) I came back to the oboe with my guns a-blazin’.  I felt great, and liked my reed, and played through all the material for my little Bach gig tomorrow.  I powered through about half of the excerpts on my audition list,  and everything felt looser, easier, better.  More musical and less strained.  I am happy with my work again, and ready to tackle my new projects.

So now I’ll enjoy traveling for my audition next week,  and I’ll enjoy starting the preparation for my Oboe Reed Boot Camp, my IDRS performance, and my Cultural Center Recital.  If I’d kept pushing through the weekend, I don’t think I’d be as comfortable as I am now.  Sometimes you just need a tiny break. 

Comments

  1. Through all these ups and downs, I think it helps to remember that you are maintaining an enviable balance in your life. With your running you have raised the bar for lung capacity in the use of wind instruments, your beloved oboe. I am sure you are feeling it yourself. It is the harmonization of these essences, the rigor of physical exercise, the creation of heart- touching sonorities, and the connection with the next generation,(lovely Zoe, your link to immortality), that give meaning to life. It is in the attainment of this balance that human insecurities can be understood, and sometimes mastered that is the fulfillment of human possibilities.
    Play on……….
    Dimitri

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

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 …