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Showing posts from November, 2015

Teaching and Learning

I'm taking archery lessons with my family right now, because I have always been fascinated with this skill.  And all of my oboe-playing body-use instincts are now wrong.  I need to plant my body much more firmly, and NOT use my carefully cultivated oboe relaxation.  My tendency when I started was to use my whole body to lift and draw the bow, and in fact to manage my form I need to lock my lower body strongly and lift my arms from the shoulder and draw using my arm and shoulder and back muscles only.  I need to NOT rotate and flex my hips and back to compensate for the weight of the bow.  The muscle memory I use on the oboe is not helping me here.

But my practice habits are. I've spent time in front of the mirror isolating the exact moment in the draw where my form goes bad. I've found a way to  know what centered feels like as I stand square. I've practiced releasing without excess motion. I've gotten better, and it's fun.

There are a million parallels between…

When Does a Student Need a Stronger Reed?

Hi Jennet,

I’m trying to understand if my 11-year-old daughter should be able to use harder reeds at this point, or if different people require softer reeds because of their size or anatomy. I’m writing to you because I am trying to get another teacher’s perspective (to draw on a wider range of student experience).

At this point, should she have progressed to where she could use harder reeds — say maybe medium — or is this because her facial structure is a limiting factor, and she just needs to grow physically larger?

Thanks for getting in touch!  As always, I love to talk about the oboe, and about teaching.  This is a complicated question, though, and I would welcome input from other teachers in the comments as well.  
Everyone likes something different in terms of reeds - and every reed-maker assesses their mediums, medium softs, etc, differently, so NOTHING is standardized in this endeavor.  That's my first caveat.  Even among professional players - grownups - there is a lot of v…