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Showing posts from July, 2016

Upcoming Concerts: Outdoors in Indiana!

Tonight is the second concert of our South Shore Summer Music Festival series with the Northwest Indiana Symphony.

I always like this summer cycle.  The music is a good mix of enjoyably difficult material with harmlessly readable tunes, and it's fun watching the conductor, Kirk Muspratt, work the crowd.  He's VERY good at it and it's inspiring.

Last week at Cedar Lake, we had a significant adventure when, 35 minutes into the concert, a storm blew in very abruptly, toppling some percussion equipment, a large spotlight, and all the pages of music from my stand.  We left the stage and dashed for shelter, and waited for ten minutes or so in case it blew over.  It didn't.  We went home.

Tonight we are at St Anthony's Hospital in Crown Point.  And we are performing outside again, despite what looks like a very questionable sky here at my home, so I wish us all good luck.

And if you happen to find yourself in Northwest Indiana over the next few weeks, try to get to one …

Beginner Oboist on a REAL Reed!

I started a brand new student the other day, and for the first time ever we did NOT start directly on the crummy machined reeds from the store.  Usually kids come to me after they have had some band experience, and I usually let them stay on their Leshers or Emeralds for a few months before we talk about moving up to hand-made reeds.  A brand new oboist is going to sound pretty rough anyway, and it's easier to have them grasp the concepts of blowing and fingering if they're not struggling to produce sound as well. After the kazoos they've been playing on, the greater resistance in my reeds feels like a big adjustment to make.

But I had recently read this blog post, by a friend of mine, and I was thinking about having good resistance and stability to work with, and I thought, Why not? Why not start out right, right away?

This new student of mine was literally holding a reed for the first time ever, and I made her a nice easy one, and we played some matching-pitch games and…

Party Planning

Zoe just turned seven and she requested a big party and we threw her one.  Parties are fun.  And there's always more people you can invite - between her friends and our friends, all the brothers and sisters of her friends, people who live in town and people who live out of town - it turned into a big event.

I bought lots of food.  I went to Costco and bought LOTS of snack foods and meats and paper plates and beers.  I planned recipes.  I spent two days prepping marinades, making gallons of potato salad, learning a new crock-pot baked bean recipe, making a gluten free cake.  When I say it, it actually doesn't sound like an unreasonable amount of effort - but new recipes always feel a little harder than the tried and true ones, and cooking for thirty feels more intimidating than cooking for three.  I like to cook. But it was a lot.

So on the day of the party, my sister and brother-in-law came in a little early, and my uncle.  We were chatting, and laughing, and sort of slowly w…

Ramping Up

It's finally time.  We're done with the season, Dake is over, we've had our vacation, and there's nothing standing between me and recording my first professional CD, except the actual preparation of the actual music.

So here we go. I've got all of the repertoire I'm considering up on my stand. (Most is set, there are just a few question marks at the very end.) I've scanned all the piano scores to Paul.  I've been practicing and making reeds enough in the last week that I no longer hate myself.  All I need to do now is learn all of my music, to an incredibly high degree of accuracy and awesomeness, so I can lay these tracks down WHEN IT COUNTS and come up with a product I can be proud of.

But I've never tried to do this before, not to this extent, not all by myself.  I know how to prepare a recital's worth of music, and I know how to perform for an hour in front of an audience.  But my preparation needs to be a little different to make a CD.

In a…

Coming Back

This is the worst.  I'm the worst.  The first day back on the oboe after 11 days of vacation, following a week of wrangling students through chamber music and orchestral rep - it's been nearly three weeks since I did any playing that I'd consider quality.  And coming back hurts.  I know it does, because it turns out that nearly every summer I've written this exact same post.  HERE, for example, and HERE.

It makes it worse this year that the most recent oboe playing I've encountered was at IDRS, where people are just so great.  I heard so many fantastic performances. And I was actively listening, and learning, and analyzing, and noticing things I wanted to work on and things I wanted to accentuate.  With my most recent habit being analytical listening, and my actual last practice session being three weeks ago, I can't help but notice just how terrible everything feels right now.

And because I'm now officially beginning my  preparation time for my CD recordi…