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Showing posts from July, 2014

Putting in the Work

The first speed work of the season - the first time I really try to push my running in a specific, measured way - knocks me to the ground.  I accomplish most of the workout, and then drag myself around for the rest of the day and sleep 9 hours and wake up still tired.  I wonder how I, or anyone else, could ever do it.  But by the next week, I’m ready to try again. And sure enough, I am able to complete a planned workout better at that time.  I’m tired afterward but not dead on my feet.  By the third or fourth week of track workouts, I can sort of take them in stride.  They’re hard but a good hard.

As you know, my running’s been in the tank this whole year, but I found myself on a track yesterday after dropping Zoe off at camp, and had the above-mentioned experience, and can’t WAIT to do another one next week, for the above-mentioned reasons.


Mercifully, I can recover much faster on the oboe than I can running.  Which is why I'm not a professional athlete. 

On Monday I tried a run-…

Zoe is FIVE

The paper plates I bought for Zoe’s birthday on Friday had a unicorn on them.  With rainbows and ribbons and swirls all around. 

When we pulled them out for the pizza, Zoe was awestruck.  “That’s so beautiful!” she cried!  “What’s that pony’s name?” 

Now I was feeling kind of bad - because this was not actually a My Little Pony character plate, but just a dumb paper plate from the dollar store.  I know that my love for my daughter is not lessened by a reasonable frugality, and that Twilight Sparkle or Rainbow Dash plates would get grease-stained, thrown away, and forgotten just as fast as any other cardboard designed to briefly hold food - but in that moment I felt cheap. 

“I think it’s just a generic unicorn, Babe,” I apologized.

“Ooh!  What a pretty name - Generic!”  And with that Zoe grabbed a piece of pizza and danced off to rejoin her friends.

This is what I love best about Zoe.  She is completely ready to take joy in the lamest unicorn plate, and able to listen with fresh ears to…

I Love my Metronome

I had such a great time with my metronome today.  In fact, I’ve been feeling fond of it for weeks.  I gave a metronome seminar at the Dake Chamber Music Academy at the end of June, and in preparation for it I revisited My Favorite Metronome Games, and although I use the device all the time anyway, and have one on my stand and one on my phone and one on my laptop for emergencies,  I was happy to have been reminded of it and to use it in my work.

In my continuing effort to bring my playing back to normal I warmed up carefully, playing long tones on the reed and oboe and an arpeggio exercise.  Then I tackled some repertoire.  Not the hardest material on my recital, nor the easy stuff which I love but which requires only a brief brushup before my August performance. I came back to the Gavotte en Rondeau from Bach’s E Major Partita.

First, I worked through the rondo theme a few times, and made sure that I was confident with my interpretation and my ability to present it.  It’s only eight bar…

Coming Back

Ahhhh.  I’ve been on vacation for a week.  Haven’t touched the oboe, in fact, in ten days.  And wasn’t that into it for a while before that, either.  At the end of a long season it feels fantastic to take a break.

Although I am still technically on vacation, up in gorgeous Northern Vermont, we do have a home base now, rather than a tent, and an element of routine reestablished, and I’m eager to come back to the instrument that I love.  Just the smell of it, as I pulled it out of its case, was evocative and welcoming.  I can’t wait to be a musician again!

It’s not quite that easy, though.  The tiny embouchure muscles in my face are out of shape.  My reeds are dried out and and unfamiliar.  After even this short a break, the oboe feels like a foreign object.  My brain is ready to come back, but my body is not.

There’s some urgency to the return.  I have some summer outdoor concerts coming up, which will of course be fine.  I am also planning to play a full recital at the International Doub…