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Showing posts from October, 2017

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…