17. March 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

I couldn’t figure out why the Cubs were wearing green hats until the Padres struck out and the announcer reminded me that it’s March 17. I’m wearing green, but only because I like the shirt. I had forgotten that it’s St. Patrick’s Day. In any case I’m not Catholic, so I suppose I needn’t think about green anyway.

Hmmm. Does anyone think about the religion behind the day any more? Doesn’t seem so.

Concert Tonight!
And it’s a fun one. At least for me. I haven’t anything terribly stressful to play. The biggie for our section, in fact, is being played by the second oboist, Miriam Kapner (a sub, as I can only play one instrument at a time!); she’ll be playing the d’amore solo in Bolero. Pam has a bit in the Copland as well. Moi? Just have to make sure the EH reed cooperates with the lower notes.

The Carrot
I had an IM conversation (you can find me if you look for patioboe — my screen name) with an adult student oboist this morning. She’s had her ups and downs with the instrument. Who hasn’t? She wrote:

i lose it when i can’t figure out how to make things better. like when i feel that i’m already trying my best but it’s still not coming out right

i dont’ like that feeling because it makes me doubt whether i’ll ever be as good as i’d like to be

So here’s my carrot story again, along with some other thought:

Nearly every musician experiences what is expressed above. I’ve been playing professionally for over 32 years. I still get frustrated. I still have that nagging voice in my head saying, “You’ll never be good enough!” I often think—I know—I could be better. So the voice says, “Give it up!” And I have to fight that voice a lot.

But the truth be told, I’ll rarely ever feel as if I’ve got it all right. That’s the carrot. The thing dangles in front of my face, just barely our of reach.

As I told the writer, sometimes I manage to get a piece of it in my mouth. I taste it. I relish that flavor. And when I’m having a bad time I try to remind myself of that flavor and also remind myself that I really did get that itty bitty taste.

Performing music is, to me, the quest for perfection, and yet everything can always be “more perfect.” I’m not talking “note perfect,” but “all around perfect.” That means notes. Tone. Musicality. The All of It. I’ve had only a handful of performances where I thought I nailed it so well that I couldn’t think of how to improve anything. And even those … I wonder if I heard them again … would I still feel that way? Doubtful.

What I have learned to do, after all these years, is to patiently wait out the bad times. Well, sometimes not so patiently. I’ve learned to laugh at myself. I’ve also learned to allow myself to get angry, frustrated, and even cry if I need to. (Just not on stage!)

So there you go. My little carrot confession for the day.

I do love carrots. Yum.
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