Note: This was written a number of hours ago. I just forgot to post it.

I’m watching the end of Solti: A Celebration. I just happened across it while there’s a break in the Sharks’ game. No, I’m not really an ice hockey fan but, well, they ARE in the playoffs and they are from here and I start to get more interested when it’s a playoff game.

But back to what I planned on writing about here … it’s interesting to watch the oboists; they take more reed than I do. Of course some folks in the States take in more reed than I do as well, but I don’t think anyone here has the reed in their mouth all the way to the wrapping. (Why do I feel as if I have written all this exact same stuff before? Have I? Hmmm.) Of course they probably play on different reeds than we do here too. We have “long scrape” (or “American scrape”) reeds that, if I know what I’m talking about, Marcel Tabuteau originated. Funny, the “American scrape” was developed by a French man. Of course he was here, playing in the Philadelphia Orchestra (thus, some also call the scrape the “Philadelphia scrape” … how confusing all of this can be!). My understanding is that the oboes in the UK are somewhat different as well. I’d like to see their oboes someday. Maybe I’ll make it to an IDRS convention some year and get a chance to view them then. Time will tell.

But this whole reed thing. I’m constantly telling my students, “Corners forward! Less reed! Think “oooh” not “eeee”.” And then I see these players and I wonder what my students would think. They just might decide that I’m nuts!

And yes, I’m nuts, I suppose. But I will continue to harp on them for the embouchures. Because with our reeds I think I do know what is best. Really.

What a silly ramble. See what an opera can do to the brain? Or perhaps it’s the reeds. Or the oboe. Or everything.

Oh. And the Sharks just won. They move on. Not bad.

… and for me that means church in the morning, unless I’m entirely fried. So I’ll be off in a short time. But while I was checking out music news I ran across an article in the UKs Guardian about karaoke style music for churches.

I promise you that if that happens at the church I attend I’ll go elsewhere. Period.

Our church still uses a hymnbook, believe it or not. We also have another book with the more contemporary songs, and this book, unlike so many I’ve seen, also has notes in it, which I appreciate. Some of the contemporary songs aren’t bad. In fact—dare I say this?—some are good and even better that some of the junk in the old hymnbook! Of course some are horrible, but I can tell you that there are some terrible old hymns too. I often can look at the date of a hymn and know if I’ll like the music or not. That schlocky, emotional, romantICKY era of hymns I can do without.

But karaoke? Pleaasseee say it ain’t so!

I’m back home from church. We sang from the contemporary song book. While there are notes printed in the book, I was reminded that they don’t really suggest singing harmony. I make my own part up, though; the songs are so simple you can harmonize the first time through even if you’ve never heard the tune before. I don’t care for completely predictable music, but I suppose for hymns it’s a good idea. These songs, after all, are for everyone to sing. Complex harmonies and difficult lines probably aren’t the best thing. (I remember, at another church, when we did have a few of difficult things to sing, in fact, and it was only embarrassing to hear everyone muddle through.)

I do think that not providing notes in church music is a reflection of things going on with music. Fewer and fewer people can read music. Some churches (I’m talking Protestant here since that’s what I’m familiar with) are even moving back into the “harmony is bad” thing. A colleague of mine told me her husband, who is a pianist, was told that he needed to stop playing harmony because it distracted from worship and everything should be in unison. Sigh.

30. April 2006 · Comments Off on Bad News? · Categories: imported, Ramble

(Yes, I really should be asleep by now! When I get home from opera, though, I’m sort of wired.)

From what this article says, some arts organizations in San Jose may be losing some money they were counting on due to the sale of the Mercury News. Let’s hope the new owners are as generous as the old owners were.

It’s always a struggle in the arts.

29. April 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Some teachers should be put in prison for the way they either take advantage of women in their classes or destroy fragile egos. Be careful who you ask to help you when you’re in the arts.

-Mandy Patinkin

29. April 2006 · Comments Off on Reeds Wound · Categories: imported, Ramble

Four. Just this morning.

And at this precise moment it’s 9:00 AM (although by the time I post this it won’t be). Not bad, eh? Since Jameson has Algebra (poor boy) beginning at 8:00 Saturday mornings, I have time between driving him there and teaching my first student (9:15). I’ve decided that’s a good time to wind some reeds and get them started. If I had thought of this earlier just think of where I’d be right now.

On weekdays I drive Jameson to school in the morning and go directly to exercise (unless I have an appointment elsewhere of course). I need this sort of schedule to keep me disciplined with exercise, because I’m not exactly the sort who willingly chooses exercise over, say, blogging. So perhaps I’ll apply this same schedule to reed winding.

Now about yard work ….

Forget it!

All my friends are intelligent, but our musical tastes do not necessarily intersect. So what? They don’t think I?m a snob because I get more out of classical music than any other variety, and I don’t think they’re uncultured idiots because they prefer something else. We have achieved peaceful coexistence without pretending that we’re alike in our aesthetic needs and choices.

-James Reel (read the rest here)

I appreciate Mr. Reel’s words. I’m not sure they are quite true for all of us; some people have called me a snob. But oh well. For the most part we do all get along. And if someone thinks I’m a snob that’s not really my problem. Unless I really am. And if I really am I probably don’t care anyway.

You know?

But really … I just don’t think we have to all enjoy all kinds of music, or try to mix with all those who like different kinds of music. I don’t want to go to a rock concert. Why should I care if people who go to rock concerts don’t want to come to something I’m in? It’s no biggie.

As long as we all like baseball.

Okay. Maybe not even that.

I do recall one music lover getting into quite an agitated state, saying that classical music lovers are so closed minded and won’t listen to anything else and how awful we are. She, on the other hand, had never listened to classical music. But apparently that was different. It all reminded me of those people who won’t tolerate people who they deem intolerant. I just can’t argue with someone like that. There’s usually no point.

I like my classical music box. I don’t care that it’s not as crowded as Britney Spears’. I don’t like crowds anyway.

28. April 2006 · Comments Off on Auditions · Categories: Announcements, imported

It’s been far too long since I’ve updated the current symphony auditions page. I do apologize … sometimes I just can’t keep up with everything! Do check the page out; there are some upcoming auditions there now. I also cleaned up the past audition repertoire lists page. Just for fun. 🙂

Last night I couldn’t see how I could possibly wake up this morning and go exercise. This morning I woke up before the alarm went off. Funny how that happens. So I did exercise. And I know I’m better off for it. (Never any thinner though. Ah well!)

Now it’s time to look at those reeds and check out the oboe and see what’s up. Things always look better when one isn’t exhausted!

Reeds, here I come. (Some of them might be in duck and cover mode because they know they are goners if they don’t behave. Poor reeds. But that’s life in oboe city.)

Reeds & Hot Water
Have an old, dead reed? Folks at the IDRS were talking about the hot water treatment. I don’t know if any of you have tried that, but I use it when I know a reed is fried but I want just one more—okay, sometimes even more than one—day with it. The “more dead” (yes, I know dead is dead most of the time, but we’re talking oboe reeds here!) the hotter the water. I don’t soak them for long, but it seems to help. One IDRS member suggests that what this does is help an old, closed reed absorb more water and open up a bit more. Try it! You might get to experience a resurrection of sorts. Not an everlasting one, mind you. I’m still waiting for someone to create an Everlasting Reed™. Now wouldn’t that make life wonderful? C’mon, you know it would!

27. April 2006 · Comments Off on Yes, I Had Opera Tonight · Categories: imported, Ramble

I am home. And I am very, very tired.

Some nights are just more difficult than others. It wasn’t that the music was any more difficult. The performance, in fact, may very well have been the best we’ve had over all. Some tempi were a bit brighter too, which I enjoyed. A fellow musician, from Symphony Silicon Valley, said it was absolutely wonderful. And I believe it was. But I am still very, very tired.

When I was sitting there for one of the longer tacets, I honestly thought, “I’m not going to make it!” I’m not sure why I was in such bad shape. But I sure was. (I did wonder if the woman who made my Café Americano used decaf instead of caf, though!) If I could have found a bed and blanket somewhere in the hall right after the performance I would have been tempted to sleep right there and forget about my ten minute drive home. The majority of my poor colleagues are still on the road as I whine here. How lovely to work so near home. As it should be. If it can be. (I doubt any musician could afford housing around here now; we bought our home in 1980.)

But the new reed did its job. Something is still a tad awry, and now I’m wondering if the oboe is out of adjustment, but I’ll not worry about that until tomorrow.

So it’s no snack for me (I used to come home and have a bowl of Cheerios but age is having its way with me and eating late at night means I can’t sleep), and it’s nearly straight to bed. Goodnight … from the old lady whispering “hush”.

27. April 2006 · Comments Off on Um … Pardon Me …? · Categories: imported, Quotes

We are the ones who scored 1600 on our SATs or mastered the oboe underwater.

Surely the people at Harvard know that you can’t play an oboe underwater. Tsk, tsk, tsk. 😉

Read here. Just couldn’t help loving that line!