Skip to main content

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 live performance, I am always working on managing my energy and my embouchure so that I can get all the way to the end of the program feeling strong.  Inevitably, I choose a reed for its functionality over the one that might sound the best, and I choose a reed that's a little too easy so I don't exhaust myself early on.  I plan breaths that will get me through long passages with enough reserve oxygen to go forward into the next page and next movement, though in the privacy of my practice room I might prefer different, riskier choices.  And although I always strive for technical perfection, I know in my heart that an hour long live performance will not be perfect, and I can forgive an error or two as long as I am performing excitingly.

But in a recording studio, when perfection is possible, when I can always go back and do it a little better, or I can change reeds to give me a different sound or level of resistance for the slow movements or the French pieces, and when I can stop and start to give my embouchure a rest in various places - well, I'm not totally sure how to work on that. I'm excited about the possibilities, but I'm not sure how to optimize my time.

Thus, I have a chart. I love a whiteboard, and I've made a chart. I've broken up my longest movements into chunks, and I've noted every movement, and I've considered all the aspects of each work that I want to have thought of and worked on.  I figure if I can check all of these boxes before I meet my pianist, three weeks from now, two weeks before my session, I should be in pretty good shape.  Our rehearsals will illuminate more details for me to work on, and if I keep at it all the way through the end of August we should have a great product to put out there.

That, anyway, is my hope.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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 …

Five Minute Reedmaker: Length of the Windows

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.

I've been posting these videos on YouTube, and sharing them from my Facebook Page, but haven't totally kept up with sharing here on my blog.

Here are the ones you may have missed:
Length of the Heart
Fallacy of the Long Tip
Moldy Cane

And here's the new one:




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!

Everybody's Got a Thing

I went in for my yearly mammogram last week. As you know, it's not exactly a painful procedure, but it's uncomfortable, and as I was being manipulated into the unwieldy machine I got to thinking about what a peculiar job it must be to jam women into awkward positions, over and over, every fifteen minutes all day.

So after we were done I asked the technician about that, and she LIT UP, the way people do when they FINALLY get to talk about the thing they are passionate about, and she talked about the advances in the technology since she was starting out, and the things this machine was capable of.  She talked about the women it has saved, from dying of cancer, of course, but also from unnecessary surgical disfigurement.  It was completely inspiring listening to this lady love her weird job, and I left feeling fantastic about the whole ordeal. It's great to see someone who is doing what they are supposed to be doing!

Two weeks before, I had my first Mendelssohn rehearsal with…