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Showing posts from April, 2020

Keeping My AIR to Myself

I was out running this morning and I crossed the street to avoid a perfectly nice lady walking her perfectly nice dog.  We smiled and waved at each other - but didn’t dare to get close.  Runners in this COVID season allow a lot of space.  The air I use when I run comes right out of the bottom of my lungs, like my whole body is exhaling at once, and I’m aware, in a way that I never was before, about the cloud of exhale that surrounds me when I am breathing like this. About having to keep it to myself.

And then I got to thinking about the oboe. 

We use our air in a variety of ways, right? And we oboists have that trick, that superpower, of not ACTUALLY needing that much ACTUAL air to play the instrument, so I often see students trying to get away with HEAD air only. Blowing only from the neck up, letting their lower body NOT be a part of the process.  As you might expect, this leads to an unsupported sound, a fair amount of throat strain, a need for very soft, easy reeds, and a relative…

Top Six Reasons I Love Teaching Online Lessons

I've been seeing so many complaints among my friends and colleagues about the quality of their Skype, FaceTime, and Zoom lessons. I have to say that while I acknowledge the limitations of the media, I actually really LOVE teaching online.
1. Lesson transitions are better. Sometimes when we are live, our chit-chat can take a fair amount of time, while people get their instruments out at the beginning, soak their reeds, and put everything away again. Online no one calls in before they are ready, and we can end the call at the end of the content and let everyone take care of swabbing in private. We use ALL of our allotted time efficiently online.
2. My personal focus is better. I have to listen hard to hear the details through the medium, and it keeps my mind from wandering. I think the tighter transitions help me with that, too. And I perceive the same from my students - it could be that my focus directs theirs, I suppose, but either way we’ve gotten a LOT of good work done …