Lawrence Dillon writes:

But I’m always amazed at the number of people who live perfectly comfortable lifestyles, yet insist on asking for comps at every opportunity. With all of the things we pay for without thinking, why do so many people consider music an essential part of their lives, but one that they should get for free?

In particular, I can’t understand why successful professional musicians want comps — after all, they can take the price of concert admission as a tax deduction.

He’s right. Most of my colleagues don’t want to pay for any concerts at all. One has even said, “We should never have to pay for tickets to concerts.” I can’t understand why my fellow musicians think we are any more deserving of freebies than anyone else out there. Some suggest it’s because we are underpaid, and I do understand that some folks I work with are making too little. But many of us are making enough money to own a home. I figure if I can own a home I can afford a ticket or two.

Now if a show isn’t selling well, and the people in power want to paper the house, I say by all means, give us some tickets! Heck, we might even use them. (Truth be told, when I get comps and give them out I often find the recipients don’t show up; not paying a cent makes it much more likely for them to opt out at the last minute.)

But really … we can purchase tickets now and then. It won’t kill us. It is tax deductible, and even supports fellow performers.

30. May 2006 · Comments Off on Not Dead Yet · Categories: imported, Links

… and maybe not even dying?

Allan Kozinn tells us what he thinks about the death of classical music. Thoughts?

30. May 2006 · Comments Off on Music and Sadness · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m at “my” coffee shop in Santa Cruz. I haven’t been here for at least three weeks (horrors!) and it’s nice to be back.

But they are playing some sad music. So now I am sad. And I’m wondering, “Was I sad before the music began? Did the sad music only make me aware of my mood? Or did the sadness come as a result of the music?” I suppose if some really happy music came on and I changed moods I’d know it was purely music-induced. But once I’m in sadland I’m not sure it’s as easy to get out of it.

This isn’t a “bad sad”, by the way. It’s merely that sort of gentle sad that isn’t really miserable, but just there. So to my close family readers, never fear! I’ll be just fine, thank you! 🙂

Things are winding down. Opera San Jose is over (although why, oh why can’t we do a summer series?!). Symphony Silicon Valley is over. Cats is over. Schools are nearly finished too; including this week I only have two more weeks plus finals. Same as Jameson and Kelsey. Gee, could be even Dan has this same schedule, but I haven’t checked his finals schedule yet (I only check to see when he’s leaving, so I’ll know when something will go awry with the computers! Joking … sort of.)

I received the San Francisco Symphony season brochure for next year. I’ve thought about purchase a season ticket to the open dress rehearsals on Wednesdays, although I can’t really guarantee I’ll be able to attend them all. Still, I’m going to think on this a while. I can never buy season tickets to performances; not only can I not afford it, but I have too many conflicts. But Wednesday mornings? It just might work.

I finally exercised today and it was very difficult to get through the mere 25 minutes I chose to do on the elliptical machine. What a weakling I am. But at least I got there … right?

Still sad music here. No changes.

30. May 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

As you get older, the assumption is you get wiser. I try to earn it by not staying still, not resting on laurels. A lot of people in other professions are retired at my age. I care about music more than ever.

-Lorin Maazel

29. May 2006 · Comments Off on The Planet it Half Missing · Categories: Announcements, imported

Boring Stuff

Some of you use a speakeasy address to contact me, and this continues to work. But others use a planetmitchell address and for some unknown reason that is now down. If you’ve sent me anything recently it’s probably bounced back by now, so you already know things aren’t working. Because I get notification of comments via the planet address I’m currently not receiving notification of anything you’ve posted (although I’ve been checking to see if there are comments so I think I’ve caught them all). Of course if anyone new has tried to sign up as a member I doubt you’re receiving your password notification because I believe that goes through the planet. Very sorry!

This is a little bit of a bother, but since I do have a number of addresses, including the speakeasy one (oboe (at) speakeasy (dot) net) and my UCSC one, I think I’ll actually survive. My husband isn’t home from a skiing trip until later tonight, and he’s the miracle man who will, I hope, repair the problem. But just so you know, it really is best if you email me using the speakeasy address since it rarely has a problem.

(Oh … and if you’re wondering why I say the planet is “half missing” it’s because at least all our sites are still up and running! If those go down while Dan is away—and he does take a long trip every summer—I’m in very bad shape!)

28. May 2006 · Comments Off on Done! · Categories: imported, Ramble

Yes, Cats is over. I don’t suffer as much withdrawal from a non-professional production—really none at all in this instance, although I’ll miss playing something—but I suspect Jameson is going through a little bit of what I do.

Still, he now knows what they are planning for next year so he can start obsessing over those musicals. The first semester brings Bye Bye Birdie which is a musical I’m pretty much unfamiliar with (why pay attention to something without oboe, eh?). The second is Fiddler on the Roof and I have very fond memories of that. I saw the movie when I was in high school (probably my freshman year) and I’ve played it at least two times, once with American Musical Theater of San Jose (back when they were still SJ Civic Light Opera I think) and then again with a tour that came through San Francisco. I love playing it … absolutely no stress and some little solos that are just fun to play. I may even join Jameson’s school again, although I suspect it conflicts with work … time will tell.

But I ramble. Why? Because I can. So there you go.

Scott, over at Musical Perceptions has a blog entry about music clichés in film. Fun to ponder, yes? Have any musician stereotypes to offer?

“Oh. You were playing? I just thought it was a very good high school player. Good job!”

Comment by an audience member who came to Cats today. And to think I get nervous even for a high school production when I have big solos (and I do). Silly me. And someone again said we sound “just like a tape we are so good.”

Now I really like the kids in the band, and they are doing a very good job. But, sorry folks, it isn’t as good as a professional production. So what does one do with comments like I’ve mentioned, and how can (should?) I get folks to listen more carefully? I don’t think there are any easy answers. I don’t know that there are any answers at all, in fact. It’s not my job, I suppose, to do anything about this. And I don’t know that people all need to listen differently than they are listening now.

I’m just sort of pondering, though.

And I’m still called to play my very best which, truth be told, I am doing, believe it or not! I am playing as expressively as I always do, and I”m working on making sure that I play in tune as much as is possible, even with the pitch being somewhat … well … maybe I should call it a “Flexible A” or a “Moveable La” or something?

I am in no way putting down the kids, by the way. They are doing a worthy job. They really are! They just aren’t professional or mature players yet. That’s all. Do they hear the difference between what they do and what I do, I wonder? I can’t really tell. Sometimes a little lazy voice inside starts saying, “Just let it go. Put less energy into this, you silly girl.” But I don’t succumb and I really don’t think it is right to do so. I am called to play my best, just as they are called to play their best.

Ramble ramble ramble … and now back to the show. Call time 6:00, curtain, 7:30. Clean-up following. It’s going to be a late night.

26. May 2006 · Comments Off on Percussive Instrusion · Categories: imported, Links

So this is what drummers would do if they broke into an apartment?

25. May 2006 · Comments Off on Something’s Wrong With This Picture! · Categories: imported, Ramble

Read in a newspaper article about a couple of high school cross country runners:

She’s an accomplished oboe and saxophone player in the band. She was this year’s prom queen and is ranked sixth in her class.

Okay, okay, I suppose it could happen. But really … an oboe playing prom queen? Nearly as scary as Carrie. 😉

Just joking, folks. Sometimes oboe players just wanna have fun.

25. May 2006 · Comments Off on A Ramble … · Categories: imported, Ramble

of a pattyramble™ length.

iTunes, emusic, and Classical Music
Will they ever get it right? I wonder. I remain a member of emusic because I find it so wonderful to quickly download a work that I need to study, or a student needs to hear. And I’ve been introduced to oboists and composers I’d never heard of. I use iTunes when emusic doesn’t have what I need. But both places sure don’t get it when it comes to classical music. For instance, I downloaded The Incredible Flutist, which is a work that doesn’t stop but has a good number of sections. Argh! Every section is a separate track, and one can’t link the tracks. The same goes for iTunes; if the work is a multiple movement work with breaks between movements it’s not a problem, but if the movements are attacca or if there are multiple tracks for one movement we get an ugly break between each section that disrupts the piece.

So why, I wonder, can emusic and iTunes not fix this problem?

I’m guessing it must be more difficult than I know. (Of course I know nothing, so I’m not sure what this means!) I don’t understand how any of this downloading works (magic?), but I do know that if I take a CD I own and put it on my computer via iTunes I can link tracks (or “songs” as they like to call them). Is it an impossible thing to link tracks being downloaded from online music suppliers? Am I missing something?

I think what both iTunes and emusic need is … drumroll please … ME! I would gladly listen to their music and let them know which works need to be linked and which don’t. (Even some pop music needs linking, actually; the Cat Stevens I purchased through iTunes certainly did. Yes, I really did download Cat Stevens. I like him. Are you sorry for me? Do you think less of me … or is that not possible?) I’ve also found a few tracks from emusic that have glitches. They credited me for a couple tracks, but they couldn’t find the glitches on the others; so they need me to help with locating problems like that too. 😉

In other news
Sheet Music Plus
is having a sale on Bärenreiter editions. This includes the newest edition of the Mozart Oboe Concerto (something all oboists should own, yes?) as well as some other great works. Check ’em out!

Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale

Recently I’ve been listening to Thomas Oboe (Yes … Oboe!) Lee’s work, Persephone, for oboe and orchestra. I’m enjoying it. I think and it’s accessible to the audience, and fun for the oboist, although I’ve not seen the score. You can visit Mr. Lee’s site here.

Waterfall, of A Sort of Notebook wrote to tell me of a search that landed someone at her site: “law and order svu oboe theme music”. I’ll confess to being a Law & Order fan (original, SVU and CI), but I can’t come up with any oboe theme so now I’m determined to watch it soon and see if there really IS an oboe theme. Anyone?

And Finally (if you’re lucky) … I saw a truck drivin’ man wearing a gas mask today. Does he know something I don’t know? Hmmm.

As I said … this was a true pattyramble™ of the purest sort.

(Addition: Whoa. Big fight out front of the Mission Cafe just now. I guess someone tried to steal the tip money, although I’m not entirely sure what happened, as I’m around the corner from the counter. A cop was right here though, so some guy is now on the ground out front with handcuffs on. With lots of police milling about. I had noticed, when I arrived, that there were a few guys here that looked and sounded like they were high on something. My heart is now beating very well.)