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Showing posts from August, 2016

Recording: Doing It!

It's not finished yet.  That's why I haven't talked about it.  But recording my CD at a professional
studio has been AMAZING.

I'll take you through my experience.  I played into a microphone in a room, and it sounded, to me, like me.  I was disappointed.  I had sort of imagined, perhaps unrealistically, that just being in the studio would make me sound better, more like the real oboists on the recordings.  But it was still me.

I heard the first take played back through my headphones, and I was kind of impressed.  Who knew I could play such cool music?  In the moment, as I'm doing it, I'm too focused on doing it to notice the effect, but some of my material is REALLY GREAT! Some of the technique sounds very impressive.  I love the music I am presenting, and I was pleased to have this record of my hard work.  That could have been the end of it for me, and I would have been happy.

But then, I stepped into the control room, where the engineer was sitting, and hea…

Oboe Reeds: Why Are the Blades Different Lengths?

When I clip my reed to shorten or balance it, I always offset the clip so that the two blades are slightly different in length.










I do this very intentionally, because we don't play the oboe straight away from our face
)____
)

But rather, angled downward

)
) \
    \
      \

So as I approach my mouth with the reed, I want the shorter blade facing towards me:

  \
\   \
  \   \

So that the longer back blade, or upper blade, can "catch" the air as it flies from my mouth into the oboe, and funnel it down into the instrument

=====  \
         \ \\ \
           \ \\ \

Instead of interrupting the air and forcing it away from the oboe

====]    \
               \  \
                 \  \

To accomplish this, I angle the reed against the cutting block as I clip

which forces the blades to offset, so I can clip straight down and wind up with an appropriately uneven result.



















Occasionally, to make the articulation a little zingier, I will clip straight, and try to minimize that difference…

Ready to Record

This is the week.  I'm meeting Paul today for one final rehearsal, and we're driving down to Fort Wayne to spend the night so we can be ready first thing in the morning.  Tomorrow we record my CD.

I've been working on this project for a long time. My original Music That Should Have Been Written for the Oboe program happened in 2004!  Music That Should... Part 2 was in 2014.  I wrote the grant proposal that set this CD in motion in December of 2015.  This entire summer of 2016 has been devoted to reworking my repertoire and becoming Ever More Awesome.

And of course, the project will not be completed when the tracking is.  I need new photos, and graphic design.  I need to write the copy for the liner notes.  I need to get the thing reproduced, and distributed.  And I don't 100% know how to get all of these things accomplished, not yet.  But after this week I can know that the most delicate, touchy part of the process is over. I can have a THING to be proud of.  I can re…

Moving Gracefully

I wrote a post last year on the difference a power pose made to one of my high school students.  Standing in an authoritative position made her immediately less apologetic, more authoritative, more confident and competent.

I LOVED this, and I believe that as women we should be using our body language to telegraph our pride in ourselves.  I'm always coaching my students to take up MORE physical space as they play. To own the room if they are soloing.  To act like musicians worth listening to.

However.

Zoe recently turned seven and started second grade.  She also hit a growth spurt - although she's still a tiny girl, and small for her age, she has suddenly begun to have the mass of a real human, rather than a fairy or a sprite, and when she crashes her body into mine it hurts, and when she bumps into things they fall over, and when she walks through the room the floor shakes.  Just like everybody else, but not like her first six years.

Suddenly I'm always having to remind …

Tonight's Concert - Mid-Century Greatness!

I'm having an absolute blast playing with the Grant Park Symphony this week.  Our concert tonight features two symphonies I've never heard before and one concerto I have long loved, and all were composed within 20 years of each other!

The Roy Harris Third Symphony is my least favorite of the three - composed in 1939, it feels to me like Copland but without the groove. Based on the comments on the You Tube video below, my opinion is not everyone's! It's a little too lush for my personal taste, but I am still excited to be playing an American symphony that is new to me, and an interesting and legitimate work.



Walter Piston's Second Symphony, on the other hand, is EXACTLY what I like, and I can't believe I didn't know it before.  It premiered in 1944, and the sounds and tonality remind me of Britten and Prokofiev who both were writing around that time.  The rhythms are tricky and interesting - it took me a fair amount of singing and tapping to wrap my head aro…