I recently discussed this issue with a friend and colleague. Now I see we aren’t the only ones pondering:

Sometimes it’s a bit puzzling to reconcile all that suffering with what I do, but I’ve learned over the years (and with many thanks to all your comments and observations) that music, is in fact, vitally, profoundly necessary and relevant to the human spirit. So I’ll keep singing whilst I can…it’s the small contributions that add up over time, right?
-Joyce DiDonato (read here)

As a music student, I often felt selfish for pursuing a career in music. I watched as my closest childhood friends grew into adults and took their places in the world community, and marveled at their accomplishments. One dedicated her 20s to an organization called Operation Smile, traveling throughout the developing world helping children in need connect with doctors to get the treatment they were so desperately in need of. Another has chosen a career in promoting cancer awareness and educating communities how to better take care of their health. One is now a Psychiatric resident in New York at Cornell, caring for many mentally ill patients and researching the mysteries of how the brain works. One is a college professor who has dedicated much of his research to education policy. One used her law degree to provide legal aid to youth in need in New England. One is finishing her Ph.D. in anthropology, researching many of the mysteries of how we evolved to be as we are today. Educators, researchers, doctors, volunteer coordinators – it was easy to see how these people who have inspired me my whole life are giving back to society, each trying in their own way to make the world a better place.

As a young musician, it’s really easy to forget why what we do is important.
-Nicholas Phan (read here)

I think I blogged about the discussion I had with my friend a short time ago. I’m too darn lazy to find it though. But one thing I said (and I sure hope this doesn’t sound arrogant) is that “the wealthy deserve to be blessed too.” He had been saying that, for the most part, only the somewhat well off could attend our concerts, due to the prices.

So dare I say that the music we make can bless people? I hope people don’t think I’m being snobby by saying that. But I know that I have been richly blessed by attending concerts these past few years since Dan and I have finally found the time (because it’s not only the money that’s an issue for many) and income that allows us to purchase tickets.

I also think that what we do — our gift — is just that. It’s a gift. To be shared. And shoot, if we are given a gift should we feel guilty about using it? Perhaps we even have a responsibility to use and share it.

Of course one of my other gifts is laziness. So now I’m going to take a little nap.

(Small PS: Of course there are many other benefits to music, and it doesn’t just benefit the wealthy! I don’t mean to be saying that. But I’m tired and I don’t want to continue writing at the moment.)

19. April 2010 · 5 comments · Categories: Ramble

Really. I never say that. I might say “break a leg” on a very rare occasion. (I don’t really want you to break a leg when I say it though, so it’s sort of like lying! Hmm.) I might say, “Play well!” I’ll frequently say, “Have fun,” or “Make good music.” But I do not say “Good luck.”

I don’t believe in luck. My faith teaches me that everything has a reason and purpose and it’s not about luck. But that’s not really the “all of it” for no “Good luck” from me.

I believe in practicing. It’s not about luck. It’s about preparation. It’s about hard work. It’s about good practice habits. It’s about good instruction, a dose of talent, and even more hard work.

Just so you know. :-)

19. April 2010 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

For years I think I have had a love-hate relationship with the oboe, although you would have a hard time trying to find an oboe player that wasn’t just a little frustrated. If you’re not frustrated as an oboe player, then you’re either a genius or so bad you don’t know any better.

-Kevin Schilling

I read it here.

19. April 2010 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

call me a lonesome star. my only 2 real friends at this time: one is the ipod, the other is the oboe

19. April 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Oboe, Ramble

I have some students who are currently struggling with hand position. Their left hand is the problem: instead of having the index finger hover over the side octave key, it is resting below the side octave key — almost pushing into the somewhat sharp point of the key, in fact. A student today asked me, “Why can’t they just make the side octave key longer?” Hmmm. Maybe that would help, but honestly, when I put my hand in the position they are using, it places the pinkie finger beneath the low B flat key, which is not a good place to have it. Not at all. In “home position” the left pinkie is over the G# key, or between that and the low B key.

The wrists shouldn’t be bent, and the left hand is not precisely perpendicular to the oboe. It is, instead, angled very slightly downward. This helps the index finger rest over the octave key, and brings the pinkie up where it belongs.

I really need to get some good pictures of hand position here. (I am certain I’ve seen some good photos online somewhere, but I’m not finding them right now.) Unfortunately the only pictures I have in my files aren’t up close enough. I wonder if I can find a photographer anywhere who could take pictures sometime. Hmmm.