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Showing posts from September, 2020

The AIR is the Sound

It's never wrong to go back to basics.

I was working with some college freshmen and we were playing two-bar phrases. I talked about arcing the air over the barline. I talked about singing. I talked about how the tongue is just the consonant of your speech, not the punctuation. I talked about D articulation as opposed to T.  I have a LOT of different words I can use for any given concept, and I pulled all of them out. I drew the phrase on my whiteboard, I explained how the LINE is longer than the SLUR, and how the BARLINE is not a STOP. 

Still, though, this ONE articulation brought the whole thing to a standstill, every time. So the piece moved measure by measure and not phrase by phrase. They were frustrated and I was too. 

And I finally realized that the thing I wasn't saying was this -if the AIR is moving consistently through the oboe, THAT'S what is making the sound.  Within that, every instant that your tongue is touching the reed is an instant that sound is not happening…

How Do You WISH You Could Describe Your Reeds?

In Reed Club last Monday, we took a moment before we started scraping to set some intentions.  We each said one word - an adjective to describe what we WANTED our reeds to be.  An aspirational adjective.

Efficient was a word that came up, and Consistent. Dark and Mysterious. Mellow. PredictableTrustworthyHonestBIGGER.

Reed affirmations actually felt helpful - both in the moment and in the results we found as we worked.  I don't know why that surprises me - I set intentions at the beginning of the year, at the beginning of the month, at the beginning of a run, in the morning before I work.  I love a good affirmation.  I love WORDS.  But I'd sort of forgotten about the possibility of applying one to the mundane work of reed-making.  

You don't have to know exactly how to GET to that result.  But having clarity in your mind about what that result is?  Helps you to stop going down unhelpful rabbit holes.  Reminds you to seek something beyond competent, beyond correct - to…