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Showing posts from September, 2012

Action Goals: Oboists and Toddlers

Zoe’s been going to preschool for nearly three weeks now.  And it’s been amazing for her, and I can really tell how much she’s learning, but it hasn’t been a seamless transition.  The issue is peeing.

Zoe was potty trained over the summer, and is reliable at home.  She got alarmed in the first week by the automatically flushing toilet in her classroom.  It is very loud, and she can’t predict when it is going to go off right under her, so after being scared once or twice she just decided that she wouldn’t use it any more. 

This worked out all right for her for a day or so.  But we began to notice that she was coming home with damp pants, because three and a half hours PLUS a twenty minute walk home is too long for a very little girl to wait.  Then, almost immediately, she began to have accidents in the classroom.  We warned her that too many accidents would get her suspended, but evidently by this time that sounded pretty inviting - no more early mornings, no more scary potty - so she …

Upcoming Concert

We’re finally starting up again!  I’ve been jealously watching the Facebook feeds of all of my friends whose orchestras launched earlier in September than ours did, and waiting impatiently for the South Bend Symphony’s first concert - and finally it’s here.  We perform Saturday night at the Morris. 

The first half of the program is very oboe friendly - Dvorak’s Roman Carnival Overture features a big English horn solo, and the Bizet Symphony in C is an oboe diva’s dream come true, with lovely moments in every movement and a big spectacular beautiful solo in the second.

The featured piece on the concert is Peter Boyer’s Ellis Island, which is more a theater piece than a traditional symphonic work.   It should be a crowd-pleaser, featuring video and actors from the Civic Theater in addition to the attractive music we get to play.  Not so much a big deal for the musicians, but tremendously enjoyable for the audience, and hopefully a huge seller.  Let’s get this season off to a great start…

Playing Like We Mean It

Last night I was watching Itzhak Perlman on The Colbert Report, and couldn’t get over how easy he made it look to play difficult music on the violin.  Kind of almost too easy.

Perlman has had a long and storied career.  He’s the real deal.  And I don’t want to say that he was not taking his Colbert performance seriously.  If he wasn't, whatever - this was just a three minute encore piece after a puffball interview on late night comedy TV. 

He has impressive technique - there are lots of notes in the work he played, and they were all there.  But to watch him play is somewhat off-putting - if the piece is difficult, shouldn’t he be working a little harder?  If he really doesn’t need to break a sweat or even sit up straight to play it, do I feel like he earned my attention?  The answer is that, as a VERY casual observer (flat on my back on my couch) I didn’t perceive that he cared about the music he was performing, or about his audience, and purely from a performance standpoint, I was…

It's Not Magic

My favorite moment from  yesterday was the look of awe and astonishment on my student’s face when he successfully played a passage that had been eluding him all week.  He’d been working hard - I could tell because of how quickly the problem was solved and how shocked he was at the eventual ease of the solution.  His reaction came straight out of the days of blood, toil, tears, and sweat that hadn’t quite gotten him there - if he hadn’t been fighting hard all week he’d have assumed that our magical fix could have come to him if he’d just practiced harder.

And of course it was no magic.  He had put in his time with the metronome on a difficult measure, and I took him back off the machine and we went slow, then fast, then skeletonized the passage and analyzed it, and broke it up into little chunks and worked on them, and changed the rhythm, again and again, and finally played it from back to front and then strung it together at tempo and blew his mind.  It only took a few minutes - on top…

Listening to Zarin

On my way home from Goshen College the other day I was listening to Alec Baldwin’s podcast interview with Zarin Mehta, the recently retired executive director of the New York Philharmonic.  And the thing that stood out to me was how deeply Mehta loved the music.  He didn’t have to - he is an administrator and not a performer.  But he was there at the concerts, and fully engaged in listening and enjoying the art. 

He spoke of several concerts the Philharmonic had played that had moved him deeply, and of soloists and composers who were exceptional.  He spoke of his family’s history with classical music and of his own evolution as a lover of the arts.  This is so different from my own approach, and it shamed me.

I get bored listening to CDs - the same nuances and transitions over and over, and rarely any mistakes, or any surprises.  Since regular concert attendance is pretty much out of the question for me - between my busy evening rehearsal and concert schedule, the three-year-old, and t…

Fall Newsletter

All the stuff going on this season... Jennet Ingle Welcome to Fall 2012!
Hello, Newsletter Readers!  I found myself sitting at my computer planning updates for those who like hearing me perform, to those who like my reeds, and to those who take lessons from me - and decided to replan one nice big update for everyone who is the slightest bit interested.

Incidentally, if you are reading this and it did NOT arrive conveniently in your inbox, from me, and you would like to periodically (every couple of months, totally unspammily) receive something like it, please click HERE and add your email to my mailing list.  Once you are on it you will never be forgotten, which I cannot otherwise promise.  Sign your oboe-loving friends up, too!

Everything is in development and everything is in motion.
Quintet Performance October 18 I am looking forward to a full recital with the South Bend Symphony’s Wind Quintet.  We’ll be at the Snite Museum of Art on Notre Dame’s campus, at 5:45 pm o…

How Much to Change

Teaching is back in my life!

I’m on my second week of lessons at Valparaiso, and it is always exciting and fun to welcome a new freshman class into my studio.  The first few lessons are a getting-to-know-you time for both the student and myself, and by this point I have to start developing my plan of attack.  My challenge is to figure out how much to change.

When I start young students, I can mold them in the right direction from the beginning.  Not that that always works -  but by the time I send them off to college I at least trust that they know how to blow and what the fingerings are in the high register.  Incoming freshmen have LOTS of habits formed by other people.

Some come in with their fundamentals all in place.  They can play the oboe and just need a little encouragement and an ear to bounce phrasing choices off of.  Maybe some reed advice.  Those are the rare ones.  We always have fun.

Far more often, I have students come in who have not taken lessons before.  Or who have for w…