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Resolutions

If I had a New Year's resolution this month, it was to take better care of myself.  Which has an awful lot of component parts, not every one of which relates to the oboe...

I'm making no progress on getting to bed earlier - that's just not changeable for me at this time.

But less booze, more stretching is going pretty well.  Daily exercise and daily journaling are at about 80%, which is still a big improvement over last fall.  My new archery hobby is nourishing my need to learn, practice, and improve in a highly satisfying way.

But one thing that isn't coming back together for me yet is this blog.  My posting schedule, if there ever was one, has dwindled down to once or twice a month, and I don't exactly want to add more stress to my life by committing to something I can't follow through on.  But I miss it.  I miss feeling inspired to write and having the blog always in the back of my mind as I go through my life.  Lately it feels more like guilt in the back of my mind than like words scrabbling to get out - I know I should write and that it would feel better if I did, but my scratch pad is full of half-completed posts and vague ideas that don't quite make it to publishable.

That said - I have been doing stuff.  I've been working.  Here's my winter newsletter update, if you haven't seen it in your inbox - full of concerts and optimism.  Check it out - subscribe to future ones if you wish - and thanks for sticking with me!

NEWSLETTER

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Resonance

When my students get too MOUTHY with the oboe, I put them in a corner.

Really.

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 teach resonance.  I talk …

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My Five Minute Reedmaker Season Two seems to be largely about experiments.  People ask me how LONG, how THICK, how SLOPED, etc - and I'm running the experiments for them and for you.

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Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until I run out of ideas this season.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Never Trust an Oboe, Part 2

(Part One HERE)
(Similar story HERE)

Mercifully, THIS one didn't happen to me.  But my poor student was playing an audition for his orchestra, and reached up with his right hand to turn the page of his music.  And heard a "plink".  And when, a split second later, he returned his hand to his oboe to continue playing, he found that his entire thumb rest had fallen off onto the floor, leaving only the post it had been mounted to.

With his hand now contorted uncomfortably, he finished the audition - ably, I am sure - and tracked down the crucial little piece of metal.  Evidently the screw that secures the adjustable thumb rest into its most optimal position had come out - never to be found again - so the thumb rest itself now can escape at will.

He devised a workaround - teflon tape to keep the thing in - but let this be a lesson to all of us.




Seriously, the oboe is not your friend.  It's like a cat trying to slip out the door - it's just WAITING for an opportunity …