14. March 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

Playing Der Rosenkavalier Suite three times in one day is somewhat tiring. (Although I confess that for the English horn/third oboe it’s not horrendous.) But then I think about playing that whole opera. So never mind any whining. Really.

Rehearsals over and out. Now on to the two performances. :-)

14. March 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I’m just home from the kiddie concerts. We played Der Rosenkavalier Suite for them (broken up into manageable slices) as well as parts of Appalachian Spring Suite. If I’d had my druthers I would have opted for the Copland and the Vaughan Williams Tuba Concerto (which would have put me out a job this morning, but whatever), but I guess that wasn’t to be. Just seems like kids might get a kick out of a tuba soloist, and I think if we’d ended with the Copland they might have been leaving with “Simple Gifts” in their heads. But they all seemed quite chipper when we were walking out to our cars, so I guess we didn’t put them to sleep or anything. (Or maybe we did and they were so well rested they were all in great moods. Or maybe it was just that missing school thing ….)

In any case, I’m having a bowl of tomato soup (probably my last Campbell’s soup since they don’t make lids that are recyclable) and toast. And … well … this sounds fairly silly, but I used our new toaster (ours is black, but I don’t see that at their site) and I love the way it toasts. So thank you, Cuisinart, for that. (But would you get your coffee grinders to grind just a wee bit finer, please? I’m not sure I like the new grinder I bought to make my latté. Hmm.)

I teach a bit later, and then it’s back to SSV for our final rehearsal for the weekend performances.

14. March 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

I’ve said it a million times. But I’ve not written about it.

Do not note test!

One fear a lot of oboists have is, “Will my first note speak?” We all worry about it on occasion. Trust me. So when you are practicing, don’t allow yourself to note test. Just trust that it will. Sure, sometimes it won’t happen, and sometimes you’ll get what I call the “donkey sound”, but you have to get into the habit of not doing that little note check … you aren’t going to get to do that before most of your solos! So just go for it. Be brave. Be strong. Remember how your embouchure feels. If you do have a difficult time with a particular note, practice attacking that one for a good amount of time, to develop the memory of it. (I have a 5 times, perfectly, in a row, 4 days in a row. It seems to do the trick most of the time.)

One of the first things my students do during the lesson is to run their scales. I can’t tell you how many times I hear this (using B-flat major as an example): B-flat … pause …. B-flat, C, D, E-flat … and it goes on. Yeah. That’s note testing!

Just don’t do it.

And yes, I have an EH note I really want to test this week. Go figure! :-)

14. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

Good old Facebook. Someone entered “Joe Nobody (not his real name … duh! But his read name is right there on the facebook page) went to his 10:00 class drunk today.” Now it’s not like that is at all anonymous. I can’t quite figure out why someone would do that. A cry for help? A joke? I dunno. But schools read these things, you guys. C’mon. Be smart. (And please don’t go to class drunk. Or stoned. If you come to my class that way and I find out I’m gonna be mighty ticked! … and yes, I have wondered about a few of you at times …. Hmmm. You are friends with this guy. Double hmmm.)

I really am baffled by the university students who blog so openly about what they do and what they think about their instructors. Names are mentioned. (Ever heard of search engines? Take the time, on occasion, to run a search on your name. Run a search on your instructor’s name. You might be interested to see what you find. On google you can do a blog search.)

We might be old and out of touch, but many of us know how to run a computer. A lot of us can read facebook (I learned to read years ago, tis true, but I still remember how!). So why blog about things that might get you into trouble? Why admit you haven’t practiced at all, or that you hate your oboe instructor, or that you think you know more than your professor? If you’re going to do that, you should consider doing it privately. Heck, I wouldn’t even put those kinds of thoughts in writing.

Oh … and for some anonymous student musician bloggers? Well, it’s fairly easy to figure out who you are. Trust me. It’s not like I go out searching, but it’s just not that difficult to find out who a musician is when he or she blogs about a recital and gives out tidbits of information. I don’t make a habit of searching out who is who, but I just think you might want to be a bit more careful.

The internet is one gigantic worldwide billboard.

14. March 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Links

I love a rare but fun story. How handy to have a piano-playin’ dad, too. :-)

(Short story: Son is making conducting debut. Soloist is ill and can’t play. Daddy is in town to see debut. Daddy can play! Woo hoo!)

… at this. Trust me. Horrible. Abominable. Disgusting.

Can you play cello? Do tell!

I saw it first at Musical Assumptions but I’m sure it’s all over the place by now. I’m a bit slow these days … that’s what work can do to a person. :-)