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
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
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 on Thursday, October 18. The group will perform gems
from the quintet repertoire, with a focus on the music of France.
The Symphony Quintet is one of my very favorite things about my position
here in the SBSO. We have a wonderful, intimate musical interaction,
fun repertoire, and a strong personal connection as well. Most of the
shows we do are educational in nature, but somehow they never get boring
with this group.
I can hardly wait to rehearse and perform an hour-long program of legitimate rep! For details click HERE.
And More Performances
Looking ahead to the spring, I will be giving a joint recital with the lovely and talented flutist Dr. Martha Councell-Vargas
from Western Michigan University. Martha and I have been friends for a
long time and are thrilled to be collaborating this year. We’ll do a
program of works by female composers, and mostly living ones at that.
Performances will take place at WMU and at Valparaiso University in late
February. All details will be on my website as they become available.
I have another program in my mind - a mixed chamber music performance
which I’d love to do in an intimate venue here in South Bend. This
program is purely speculative at this point, but rest assured that when
it happens you will hear about it.
Jennet Ingle Reeds
is in the midst of a Back-to-School Sale! I am offering 10-15% off all
finished reeds through September 30. In case that doesn’t keep me busy
enough, I have also introduced English horn and oboe d’amore Blanks and
Sort-Of-Scraped Reeds. By next month I plan to add processed cane to my
offerings - keep an eye on that website!
At the end of this month my private students will meet as a group for
the first time in a performance masterclass called Barret Night. Each
will play a few etudes for assembled family, friends, and oboists, with
the goal of increased comfort in public performance. We’ll compare
notes and award prizes, then play some more and eat cookies.
This event is specifically designed to get us over the hump of walking
out in front of an audience, speaking, and performing. It's a skill
that can transfer to all areas of life - think of teachers lecturing,
businesspeople addressing meetings, secretaries having to lead the
office in a chorus of “Happy Birthday - and is obviously crucial for a
In addition, when we learn etudes and studies only well enough to get by
in lessons, we miss that magical last step - the step in which we turn
an assignment into a piece of music. Only real performance practice
does that, and if ISSMA Solo and Ensemble is the only time that a
student performs in the year, he or she won’t improve very fast.
I've done this class before, but not in several years. I hope to have
mini-recitals and oboe studio events much more frequently this season.
We will have fun!
When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.
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 had the most interesting conversations with a few of my students after my first recital performance last weekend. One thanked me for exposing her to so many interesting new pieces that she had never heard before. One admitted unabashedly that his favorites were the familiar ones, the ones he already knew from his previous listening. And both of these observations rang true to me.
See, I LOVE learning new music. I really enjoy digging into a piece and breaking through an unfamiliar harmonic language to get to the depths of it. To discover the composer's intention, and to find the universal emotion or experience at the heart of the work, and then to communicate that meaning back out to an audience. This challenge is fun for me, and I think I do it well.
I have to be fair, though. By the time I have put that kind of work into a new piece, it's not new to me anymore. By the time I get it to the recital stage, it's an old friend. I find great pleasure in performing i…