12. August 2008 · Comments Off · Categories: Ramble

As for oboe playing, I was in a symphonic band. The high point of my ‘career’ was blowing (as in screwing up because my reed suddenly turned into a paper soda straw) a solo in front of an audience of about two thousand. Then there was the time a pad fell out right before a solo and I had to crawl across the floor under the flute section to retreive it, in front of an audience of about a thousand. But I did make that solo. The craziness of oboe players is well documented. I suspect if you aren’t crazy when you take up the oboe, you will be after you play it a few years. It has to do with being a solo instrument (many, many solos and other showcase pieces are written into classical music – Swan Lake, anyone?) that is notoriously unreliable. Either you’re crazy enough to think that sounds fun, or it’ll make you crazy after a couple tanked solos. My brother-in-law is a professional violinist, and his wife a pro cellist; on the few occasions I’ve met friends of theirs, they ask if I play an instrument, I say ‘oboe’ and they treat me cautiously, like I’m at critical mass. For the record, I think it was the tanked solos that made me crazy. I wasn’t to begin with. No. Really. Seriously.

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