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Showing posts from 2017

Reed Repair Shop: Commercial Reeds

Commercially made reeds - those profiled-cane, shinily-wound Jones and Lesher and Emerald Reeds - have their place. They are designed for beginners, or for young players, or for players that don’t have reed-making skills of their own or a private teacher where they live.  And there are thousands of people who fall into that category.  These reeds are designed to be relatively affordable, and they are designed to WORK, immediately out of the box.

But they are not meant to sound GREAT, and they are not 100% conistent, and they are certainly not meant for an advancing player to make beautiful, nuanced music on. 

The ideal answer is to make your own reeds, or work with a good teacher who can help you by supplying reeds at the appropriate strength or by working on what you have - but there are plenty of scenarios in which you might find yourself holding a store-bought reed AND possessing high oboe standards, and wanting to make the one thing match the other.  Maybe you ARE a teacher, and y…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Finishing Tips and Tricks

After you get to the point where your reed has structure, symmetry, and balance, and you still don’t quite like it, what then?  What can you do to fix problems like Too Hard, Too Easy, Too Sharp, and Too Flat? 

The Five Minute Reedmaker offers tips and tricks.  (My favorite ones are at the end!)


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 the end of the year.
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!

Five Minute Reedmaker: U vs. W

A student asked me as we were making reeds together whether I use a U or a W scrape.  I didn’t immediately know the answer, so I quickly ran the experiment and discovered that it makes a BIG difference!

Today I’m going to talk about this distinction - which was not one I’d given any thought to before it solved my own problem this past month.

UPDATE: I was asked for a quick video demonstrating this technique more thoroughly, and it is HERE.  Thanks for the request, Sameer!





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 the end of the year.
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!

The Pleasure in Doing It

Sometimes I just like having run. After your shower and your coffee it feels good to have run, earlier in the day, and to feel that gentle ache and tiredness in the muscles that comes from having used your body productively. I don't always enjoy running while it's happening, and I HATE the snow.

But running in the snow is such a pleasure.  It's exhilarating.  It's freeing.  It feels like being a kid again, with the icy wind in your face and the triumphant feeling of doing something all by yourself.  Anyone can go out for a jog when it's 65 and sunny, but I was out this morning, in 22 degree weather, with the snow all blowing up in my face, and I met another woman running  - and as we passed each other we both raised our arms like Rocky and cheered for each other, and for ourselves, just filled with the
gleefulness of being in the club. The club of crazies.

This pleasure, the joy of winter running, is hard to come by.  It's HARD to power through the resistance …

Five Minute Reedmaker: The Weather

If you live in a place with seasons, you will notice dramatic changes in your reeds a couple of times a year.  (I'm sure I write about this twice a year, EVERY year - but I found one post HERE for sure) Changes that require some fundamental reworking.  I find that I struggle with these every year, but when I got a request from Dean to make this video I got my act together and came up with some strategies that may help you - and ME - in future seasonal shifts.



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 the end of the year.
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!

Projection

I heard a student's sophomore recital last week, and noticed that although she played all of the notes and technique well, chose appropriate tempos, and used her own reed - which is all FANTASTIC for a sophomore - her playing was small and felt static from where I sat in the audience.  This surprised me - in lessons I find her a lovely player who makes real musical shapes. Then, this past week, I had a college conductor speak to me about another of my students - he's sounding great, he said, but it needs to be bigger.  I was surprised.  This student did not appear to me to have a small sound. 

Then I realized that it was once again time to talk about Projection. 

Projection, according to Merriam Webster, means:  control of the volume, clarity, and distinctness of a voice to gain greater audibility. 

When you tell a student to play more, to project, the most frequent thing that happens is they blow harder.  They get red in the face trying to play louder.  They yell, metaphorica…

Five Minute Reedmaker: The Heart

I'm getting close to the end of this project.  It's been really fun, and I will keep making these videos as ideas occur to me or as people ask questions or send me reeds to analyze - but the end of this year is the end of my weekly publishing schedule.  Thanks for all the support and feedback along the way!

In this episode:

What is the heart? How thick is it really? What happens when it’s too thin? What happens when it’s too thick? How can you tell if your problem is in the heart or elsewhere?




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 the end of the year.
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!

Five Minute Reedmaker: Stability

I’m responding today to a note from Jonathan about stability.

Stability in an oboe reed is a big concept, and varies greatly from person to person and style to style.  I have some ideas, though, and share them cheerfully.

In this episode:
What is stability?
Where does it come from?
How much of it do you want?
What do you do when your reed is TOO stable?
Too flexible?

Click HERE for the video, if you don't see it below.





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 things to talk about. 
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!

A Tale of Two Concerts

Thursday night I gave the second performance of my Fall Recital.  I loved my music, I was happy with my choices.  I owned the stage.  I played to the full extent of my ability, my audience was on board and enthusiastic.  I felt that I was in complete control of the room, the material, and the oboe the entire time.  I got great feedback, and I also just knew that I had done well.  I could feel it.

The previous Sunday I gave the first performance of my Fall Recital.  It felt to me like an unmitigated disaster throughout.  Right from the beginning I was missing some low attacks, but by half way through my second piece I thought I might die.  My arms hurt from tension.  My mouth ached. I could barely hold my face around the reed.  And there were three more pieces to limp through before I finally managed to escape.  I was embarrassed, sad, and disappointed in myself - what kind of musician am I if I can't even play through an hour of hard music without getting tired and missing notes a…

Five Minute Reedmaker: English Horn Reeds

In this episode:


How to use your oboe mandrel to wind an English horn reedMeasurements and structures of an English horn reedHow and why to put wire onHow and why to put the little tube on the end

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 things to talk about. 
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!

Five Minute Reedmaker: Finishing

Once your rough-scraped reed crows, WHAT THEN? How do you take a reed from beeping to playable?  How do you balance it?  The Five Minute Reedmaker helps, with this basic framework:

opening and response
structure
symmetry
balance



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 things to talk about. 
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!

Deciding

I was chatting with a friend this week and she was lamenting being too busy to write.  It’s exactly the way I’ve been feeling, and something I rarely hear a musician say.  We always complain that we haven’t been practicing - in fact, I think I said precisely that back to her - but mostly we musicians don’t talk about our other forms of creativity, and that’s a sad thing, 
Even when I can’t make time to practice, I play the oboe every day.  When I’m sitting in rehearsal I try to bring mindfulness to my work, so it’s not just walking through notes and rhythms but actively trying to be artistic, to be interesting, to play with integrity, to be great.  This is why I can let practicing go on a busy day - it’s not that I don’t need it, but I can scratch that itch at work, while simultaneously doing something someone else wants.  I’m a multitasker from way back.  
Writing though, is a thing I can’t do while I’m making reeds.  Or when I’m in rehearsal.  Or very effectively while driving.  And s…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Reed Strengths

This week's video is about my sorting process:

How I organize my reeds to be Medium, Medium Hard and Medium SoftWhat those designations mean to meHow I work on a reed to change its level of resistanceWhat areas of a reed you might work in to make these changes for yourself  How to make your reed easier - and how to trick it into being more resistant again
Featuring: More Sharpie Drawings!



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 things to talk about. 
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!

Five Minute Reedmaker: Shaping

My friend Muhammad wrote:
Dear Jennet,
I'm very interested in knowing how you shape your cane. Some people shape the the top of the ears of the tip and some to the right snug to the bottom. Would you do a video about it explaining why you do what you do in that process? So - I was asked to talk about the technique of shaping, which initially surprised me a little.  Shaping oboe cane by hand seems like a simple matter - it's a straightforward task that I don't give a lot of thought to as I'm doing it.  But then, the same day, I saw this clear and helpful video by Jonathan Marzluf and realized how many details in this process we do differently, and I understood how people could be confused.

I would like to be clear that I am not contradicting Mr. Marzluf's methods. They are great, and smart, and clearly work for him!  I have my own way of doing this and I’m happy to show you here - because seeing alternatives is important, and helps you to make the choice that’s righ…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Knife Techniques

This is possibly my favorite video so far - I enjoy thinking of different ways to describe the various scrapes and gestures that I use in constructing a reed.

Among the topics covered:

How your hand position might be working against you
Why your left (non-dominant) hand is the more important one
Why you should Pull the cane off rather than pushing
"Petting" the cane
Centering your scrape in the channel
Cross-hatching to smooth notches and walls
"Lifting" a nick out
How to keep a scraping disaster from worsening
The CURL, and a visualization for tip construction

That's a lot for 10 minutes!





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 things to talk about. 
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 t…

New Beginnings

I love beginnings.  If I could start a project every month I probably would - I have at least three in my mind right now that I'm holding back on consciously so I can keep making time for the ongoing ones that I enthusiastically started over the past few months and years. But usually these are solo projects. 
Last month I met with a composer to read some tarot cards.  We are working on the early stages of a project that might eventually become something real. 
You know that I have long loved the tarot.  This is a thing I've mentioned many times before.  I read for myself all the time and use the images and the structures in the cards as a way to activate my intuition and as a means of self-exploration.  
You know that for my IDRS recital I worked hard on a solo oboe piece based on the Major Arcana of the Marseilles Tarot. It was a piece I was thrilled to find in a publisher's back catalog - because a difficult and intimidatingly modern work for solo oboe based on the Tarot wa…

Five Minute Reedmaker: The Windows

Last month I was in a Reeding Circle with two of my regular attendees.  It was an exciting event because BOTH of them had major reed breakthroughs and made multiple really good reeds in a row, just as we sat there together!  Secondly, it was interesting because BOTH of them had the exact same problem in their very different reeds - they hadn’t taken enough out of the windows.

In today's Five Minute Reedmaker video, I discuss this undersung area of the oboe reed.  I show how to use it, how to scrape it, and WHY. 





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 things to talk about. 
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!

Every Little Bit Counts

I was three hours from home and I had just finished playing Adrian Mann's Canzone Vecchione, a totally charming little duo for oboe and double bass.  Phillip Serna, my collaborator, is a terrific colleague, and his enthusiasm for performing and rehearsing and improving and working rivals even my own.  Although this was an unpaid performance for about 17 people, on a Double Bass Day recital, the performance was a great pleasure. 


I did not, however, have any great expectations about audience building, or career advancement, or anything big-picture coming out of this event.  A few bassists and their parents would hear me, I figured, and that would be the end of it. 

Excitingly, though, as I passed through the lobby on my way back to my car, I bumped into a former student. I had known, but forgotten, that he was studying at this university. He had been on my website and noticed this performance at his college, and decided to attend. He had brought his roommate, a music student at the…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Clipping

Clipping an oboe reed is such a tiny task, and you might do it dozens of times as you construct and polish each reed.  Are you doing it safely? Do you know the trick to neatly undercutting the lower blade?  Or WHY you would want to do so?  The Five Minute Reedmaker can help.



Here's my previous illustrated blog post about that undercutting process.

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 things to talk about. 
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!

Five Minute Reedmaker: Batch Processing, and Quality Control

Yes, I can make a reed in five minutes.  And I can play it.  But this is not my ideal way to work - the cane needs time to settle between soakings, and I find that my stability and longevity improve dramatically when I take MORE time rather than less to get to my finished product.  What I actually tend to do is work batches of cane - from pre-gouged to blank, to rough-scraped, to finished, and to polished - over the course of several days.

In an email, Beth asked: I’d like to hear your ideas about quality control during each step of the process, from cane selection to final scraping.  What would cause you to discard a piece of cane, or a blank, or scraped reed?

Her question seemed to go along beautifully with this video, already in the planning stages, so I've covered quality control along with my Four-Day, Under-Five-Minutes-A-Day, step-by-step Batch Processing video.



These Five Minute Reedmaker lessons post once a week on Youtube.  You can subscribe to me there, or keep watchi…

Bringing Joy to the Work

This gig did not start out promising.  We had a LOONNNNGGGG three hour rehearsal the first night with no soloists, on a fairly dull and repetitive score, filled with heavy irrelevant playing.  We are all coming off summer break, and I'll tell you, I've been practicing, but I was not prepared for 40 pages of long tones and periodic loud interjections.  My face was falling off by the end.  This was a rock and roll concert, a symphonic arrangement of The Who's Quadrophenia.  I did not know this music.  But listening to the symphonic arrangement of its background music I was unmoved.  I was sitting among people who can be... cynical.  I was heading that way myself.

But the next afternoon our soloists arrived.  Alfie Boe.  Billy Idol.  Eddie Vedder. And Pete Townshend.  And things immediately improved.  They could not have been more delightful - because they were all SO INTO IT.  The rehearsal was a full run through, a few hours before the concert, and they could have been forg…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Understanding and Constructing the Tip and Transition

This week I am releasing TWO videos.  They go together, but I couldn't bring myself to combine them - it's ridiculous for the FIVE MINUTE Reedmaker to appear to take TWELVE minutes on a single concept, however important. Hence, two videos.

The very tip of the reed is the most crucial area, and the easiest thing to ruin as you scrape.  It is by far the thinnest section of the reed, so it's terribly sensitive to errors - a micron's worth of thickness in the wrong place, or a single grain unnecessarily removed on the side can wreck the whole thing.

In this first video I draw and discuss the various dimensions I consider as I create the tip and transition.




In this second video I demonstrate four different methods of GETTING to that good transition and tip.  Four different knife techniques, in ascending levels of difficulty and danger.



These Five Minute Reedmaker lessons post once a week on Youtube.  You can subscribe to me there, or keep watching this space for updates…

The Capacity for Flourish

Steve and I were watching YouTube last night and we watched an hour long interview with renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson about fountain pens.  Because we love fountain pens.  And science.  And because at heart we are old, old people.

And Dr. Tyson, bless his heart, was so adorably, geekily delighted with his collection of Space-themed fountain pens, and although the interviewer was trying to wrap up he kept showing us more and more pens and talking about their nibs and the ink he chooses to put in them and why he always has to have a pen that posts, which is a term I had not known but means that the cap has to fit on the back of the pen while you are writing.  He insists on this because otherwise the pen is too small and insubstantial for his large hand and for his comfort.  And he demonstrated writing with one of his pens, and the interviewer pointed out that he holds it a long way back from the tip.

And Neil deGrasse Tyson said, "If you hold it too close, the capaci…

Five Minute Reedmaker: The Beep and the Crow

What can you learn from your reed before you even put it in the oboe?  We have two great tools - the beep and the crow. There's a lot of confusion out there, though, about these diagnostic tools.  A case in point is an email I received recently:

Josue wrote: Every time I read about crowing the reed in books, or talk about it with teachers and colleagues, they say the reed must crow a pitch of C. However, I notice some of my reeds that crow on C are actually flat in intonation. I notice also that the beeping of those reeds (when you put the reed as if you were actually playing) is flat too.  And in the other way, some of the reeds that beep in C are actually crowing in C#.
Is this difference in pitch between beeping and crowing normal? Should the beeping and crowing have the same pitch? Or which one is more important to obtain a good intonation? Should I keep the C pitch in the beeping or in the crowing?

What's he even talking about?  The Five Minute Reedmaker explains.  And de…

Back to School - Onward and Upward!

It's teaching time again. I've had 16 first lessons in the past two weeks - almost all continuing students, but in each case the first lesson of a new school year and the first after a long summer break.
Every year I find it helpful to reflect on the past and set goals for the future, so I always ask something like, "what do you want to work on this semester?"  And usually the response is something like, "I don't know - um - technique?"

This year I began to change it, and I asked, "What are you good at now? And what do you want to get better at?"

First, I observed that EVERY student, without exception, ignored the first question and answered only the second.  Second, I was surprised that EVERY student gave me a clearer, more focused response to the new version of my question than the old version.  Even though no one was willing initially to come out and say that they did things well, having that anchor to their internal storytelling caused th…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Cane Preparation

I had a request for this next video topic:

Anish wrote: Hi Jennet! :) I was wondering if you could do a video sometime on your preliminary processes with cane- you seem to get a reed vibrating beautifully very quickly from the get-go and I am curious as to what you look for when selecting cane and what you gouged to etc before you even tie the reed.

Maybe I'm the wrong person to answer these questions - I am NOT fussy about cane.  I did a project a long time ago for a colleague, in which I worked through multiple pieces of cane from dozens of different batches she'd purchased long ago, trying to determine which bags of cane were worth keeping and which should be discarded.

What I learned is that EVERYTHING makes a reed. Sometimes I have to work a little harder,  if the cane is reluctant to vibrate. Sometimes the diameter doesn't suit me well, and I have to mash the opening down.  On rare occasions, it's true that the cane is too wormy or too shreddy to be scrapable - …

Five Minute Reedmaker: The Long Scrape

The long scrape seems like it should be a gimme.  You have to get the bark off before you can start to truly scrape the reed, and it doesn’t seem like it should matter too much HOW you do it.  But I find that a good, consistent long scrape technique can really set you up for success in the remaining construction of your reed.

The function of this initial scrape is to remove the bark from the lay of the reed, AND to start some pathways for the vibration.  Oboe reeds are made up of slopes and stops, or ramps and steps, and my preference is to have a good long slope in place foundationally, so I can start working on my reed from a place of vibration and add stops, rather than working from a stopped place and scraping forever to try to encourage vibration to start.

When I put this initial long scrape in, I have three big factors I keep in mind.

The first is that the reed has two planes on each blade.  If you think of the curvature of the cane like the arc of a circle, and picture that t…

Integrity

When I see a slur that isn't an easy one on the oboe, I'm apt to cheat.  In my practice room I work hard on slurs like that, but in the moment, when people can hear me, I might add a little tongue to ease the transition, or add a few fingers to make the arrival safer.  The re-articulated result may not be exactly what the composer intended, and the fake fingering might not sound precisely like the other one would have, but it's close enough to fool an audience and it keeps me safe.

At the end of a phrase, to avoid the embarrassment of hanging over after other people have cut off, I might taper my note off just a little early.  I might play the final note very very softly to make sure it doesn't stick out.  I might use a muted fingering for the same reason.  These are orchestra tricks - they keep me safe, but they won't sound good when I'm playing by myself, and they're not good musical choices, and they don't feel honest.

This summer I'm learning …

Reed Repair Shop #1, and a new Five Minute Reedmaker video

Just a quick note today.  I've posted my first Reed Repair Shop video, along with my FOURTH short Five Minute Reedmaker reed lesson.  My goal is to help people who feel insecure about their reeds, people who need just a little more clarity on certain aspects of reed making, and people who ARE reed makers but have gotten themselves into a slump in some way.

Reed Repair Shop #1: Anthony's reeds are pretty good!  They work, they play in tune, and they look like reeds.  His stated concerns were tone and response, and I think I was able to offer some good suggestions.

watch Anthony's video HERE  or below.


Would you like me to look at YOUR reeds?  Check out my offering HERE.

My fourth Five Minute Reedmaker video is a walkthrough of winding - the process by which the cane is attached to the staple.



Let me know what you'd like to see me cover on a future episode!

Two New Reed Initiatives

I've been working hard on these next roll-outs.  You probably know from reading this blog that I've been running an Oboe Reed Boot Camp every summer since 2012, and that a couple of years ago I started offering Reeding Circles - social reed-making get-togethers - each month during the year.

The limitation, in both cases, is location.  There's not a huge mass of oboists where I live, and it's hard to get a large enough group together - anywhere, really - to make a traveling Boot Camp worthwhile, though I do love the concept.  (Do you have five or more interested oboists and a free weekend?  Get in touch!)

But there is a need.  People do have questions, and frustrations.  Reedmaking and teaching are things I am good at.   How, I wondered, could I help people beyond my own students and my own community?

There are two ways, I think. One is a series of video lessons on reed-making.  I'm calling it The Five Minute Reedmaker, and I'll be releasing one video each week…

A Needed Reminder

I talk a lot about warmups.  How important they are. How you can do all of your practicing on warmups and get better at the oboe.  How sometimes scales and long tones are all you need.

That's not totally true, though, or at least not for me.  Abstract oboe practicing is important but it's not the only thing.

We went to a party and it solved all of my oboe problems.

I have been struggling lately to know who I am in my playing.  We came home from IDRS three weeks ago - while there I drew inspiration from everywhere and had loads of very good ideas about how to improve myself and ways I could choose to sound.  I did not have any real practice time in which to realize these good ideas.  I also bought a new oboe which feels and sounds very different from my current one.

Then we immediately went on vacation for two weeks, and I came back to a huge reed backlog which I've just now mostly cleared up.

And then for a week I played oboe d'amore - the small, spunky, adorable cous…

Jennet Ingle on Crushing Classical

Are you listening to the Crushing Classical podcast?  Tracy Friedlander has been doing really great things ever since she started it - maybe less than a year ago?  It's become a conversation about the intersection of music and entrepreneurship, and about how you can make your career be what YOU want it to be. Which, as a concept, is right where I live.  I'm delighted to see it come up in my feed every week - and THIS WEEK'S EPISODE FEATURES ME!

I did this interview back in the spring, right at the tail end of my busy season, and when the episode launched yesterday I was very nervous about listening to it.  I mean, of course there's the sound of my own voice, which always causes me to cringe, but even more to the point, I had no memory of what I talked about.  Vaguely I remembered blabbering on about my reed business, and telling the embarrassing story of our first foray into real estate, and laughing a lot with Tracy, who is delightful and easy to talk to. But really, …

The End of My IDRS Conference

I have no words.  It's been too much, too great, too inspiring, too stimulating, and finally too exhausting.

Over four days in Appleton I heard two of my students outdo themselves performing in masterclasses.  I helped one find a bocal, and joyously encouraged another to purchase an English horn.  I bought an oboe.  The Ingle Oboe Studio is SUBSIDIZING this convention, I've  just realized!

I've been blown away by player after player, piece after piece.  I'm returning home with a new eagerness to play better,  do better, be better.

I saw my teacher.  I saw my mentors.  I saw friends and colleagues.  I saw former students and current ones.  I've made contacts for the future, and had beautiful conversations in the now.  I sold some CDs, and met some reed business customers and blog readers.  

I performed, and some of it went really well, and I know now how I'm going to improve that program going forward.

The thing that made the greatest impression on me this ti…

My IDRS Conference Day Two

Today was another amazing day at Lawrence University in Appleton.  I sat riveted as Aaron Hill put four students through Ferling Etudes in an enjoyable and inspiring masterclass.  One of my students played for him and I was SO proud of her, and delighted to hear his suggestions to her.

I love attending masterclasses because I always hear so much that I can use! Sometimes it's suggestions that I can incorporate into my own playing, sometimes a turn of phrase that I love for my own teaching, sometimes a concept I had not considered.  I loved, for example, the way he released a student's tense throat by having her intentionally repeat the bad thing before finding the good thing.  I loved the way he worked on rubato - he had a student conduct by "bouncing a basketball that you always expect to come back up" and then fit all of the notes into the bounce.  Lovely, right?  And actionable.

I heard the great Nermis Mieses present a spectacular Silvestrini solo piece that wa…