Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2014

The E.T. Effect

You know how, in E.T.:The Extra-Terrestrial, E.T. and Elliott are psychically connected, and then ultimately physiologically connected, and when ET gets sick from the unfriendly atmosphere of the Earth, Elliott gets sick too, and then eventually they both magically recover?

I would not have thought that I had that sort of connection with my oboe.  I’ve been subbing with the (amazing, excellent, inspiring) Milwaukee Symphony this week, and it’s been rough going for my new oboe and me.  I’ve been struggling to fit in with the group.  Most surprising to me were several low attacks that I really expected my Bulgheroni to carry off with aplomb.  I kept over- or under-blowing them and missing ever so slightly, and I was annoyed at myself, and super self-conscious about it.  And then annoyed that I was making so big a deal about myself, to myself, and then I would make more mistakes. 

Thursday morning, after two long days of hard commutes, I finally had time to get into a practice room and re…


You don’t play someone else’s solos on stage.  It’s one of the strictest pieces of orchestra etiquette out there, right along with Stop Playing when the Conductor Stops, and Turn off your Cell Phone, Already.  So strongly has this been ingrained in me that I was quite nervous while warming up for the set of concerts we just finished in Fort Wayne.

I was playing English horn on Samuel Barber’s Symphony No. 1.  This symphony features an enormous oboe solo, slow and arching and gorgeous, on some significantly awkward notes.  It’s a common audition excerpt and I’ve worked on it many times.  I would sooner die than let anyone hear me play that solo on the oboe while the orchestra’s excellent principal oboist was even in the same building, or town.  That melody, however, also happens to be one of the main themes of the entire symphony, and the English horn plays it with the violas when it first appears.  So, technically, it’s my solo too. 

When we play it, it’s in a different key, shorter,…

Needed This!

It is Spring Break.  Because I teach in so many places, and am not myself a student, this milestone has rarely been meaningful to me - so what if six of my kids are out of school in a given week?  I still have to teach the rest. 

But this week is Zoe’s Spring Break, and last week was one of the hardest I’ve had so far this season, and MERELY not having to drag a grumpy girl out of bed at seven each morning feels like a vacation.  Added to that, I’ve canceled all of my private students, even those who DON’T have break this week, and added to THAT, I have a fun concert to play in which I am not the boss of anything, and you can see why I am practically giddy with the freedom of it all.

I have always found myself to be two different people - one socially, and one professionally, with an oboe in my hand.  I am naturally an introvert and draw all of my energy from being at home and being alone.  But I act the extrovert very well.  Performing is my favorite thing to do, and that category …