And so it is over. For the most part I was okay with my playing, but it was just the most surreal time ever. After packing up all my stuff the flute player (hi MH!) gave me a hug and I finally lost it. For two weeks I had held it together, aside from tears between the sound check and the first performance. But the minute I was done the tears came. As I told my friend, “Now I have to face the reality of my mom’s death.” And so I do.

But, that being written, I did say I would write a bit about some of the things I found in my book. So here goes. Do you know why my students would be handed an eraser if I saw this?:

How about this one?:

Any thoughts?

If you don’t know why these are no-nos with my kids, you haven’t had lessons with me! I don’t allow “naming” or “renaming” of notes. Period. I argue that having the name above means your brain has to go through more steps that it should. We see a note, we play it, but if you write the name above you have to see the note, see the name, and then play it. We don’t have that sort of time, nor should we need to do this! At the same time, I confess that low notes still cause my silly little brain to do a “huh?” moment. Really, even after all these years. How silly is that?! A low B# bugs me, but I force myself to deal.

I was surprised (no photos of these) by the “BB” marks I saw, too. That stands for “Big Breath”. There was no point in this musical where I needed to take any sort of big breath. Not even once. Hmm.

Finally, there was this chromatic passage that had names of notes above. I erased them, but you can see them there still, I think. Really? It’s just a chromatic!

I didn’t erase much from the books, even while I didn’t agree with all the marks and it was sure full of marks. Choice of fingering for F is something we can be pretty opinionated about, and how to mark varies. Some people put the letter F above a forked F. That drives me nuts, as it looks like one is just naming the note. I put a little symbol that looks like a down bow with a shorter slash through the middle, while some use a pitchfork like symbol. I use an L for left F, while someone who played the book uses an S. Sometimes I changed that, but for the most part it just wasn’t necessary. I like to note what instrument(s) are necessary for each number so, for instance, you might see ob/EH/ob by the name of the tune which means start on oboe, go to English horn and then back to oboe. This allows me to know which reeds to have ready. If I have a long bit of resting where I need to count the measures of rest I sometimes give myself “markers”. If you see a circle with a number in it it means something happens in that measure that I easily will hear. Sometimes I add the instrument … cl for clarinet, fl for flute, for instance. It’s just a handy way to make sure I know I’m counting correctly. Of course after a few performances counting isn’t really necessary, but I’m an obsessive counter so I count no matter what! Heck, I’m just obsessive about everything, I suppose!

And a side note: I really enjoyed the conductors for this job. Both Daniel Bowling and D. Scott Ferguson were wonderful, never cringed if something went wrong, and were incredibly clear. This isn’t always the way it goes with tour shows, and it was just a joy to work with them. I’d gladly work for them any day. (But I think for now I’ll enjoy some time off!) I hadn’t told them about my mom — it’s not something you bother conductors with — so their kindness had nothing to do with my situation. They were just great guys!

This final photo, though, is the BEST ever … because here are the players that have signed the book. I love it when oboists do that! The flute book had signatures as well. Funny that not one clarinetist put his or her name in. Hmm. What does that mean?

So now I get things back together in the house before the next big job begins.


  1. Was my name in this book?? I recognize some of the markings. I didn’t know your mom had passed away. Somehow I missed this. I’m so sorry for your loss. Much love and condolences.

  2. I mark my forked Fs by putting a little circle over them. Just got that from my first teacher, I suppose.

    I definitely write in note names, because if in rehearsal (especially a dress rehearsal) I do something stupid and misread a note, I want to put something in there to make sure I NEVER DO THAT AGAIN (and usually it is not simply misreading a note, it is my own psyche freaking myself out and making me second guess what my fingers naturally want to do).

    That said, the note C with a courtesy natural before it seems clear enough . . .

  3. No, Jillian, your name wasn’t there! I was hoping to see it and wondered why it wasn’t there. Oh well …. Yes, my mom died the day of our first rehearsal. It was all sudden and very sad. Twenty days from first doctor’s visit to death.

    Sara, this former teacher of yours would make you erase those note names! But since I’m not your teacher any longer I guess you can do it. I’ll just grimace if I see them! 😉

  4. I always think a little circle is for a harmonic, Sara!

  5. I sometimes mark high f and above… I just can’t read it! It really goes quicker if I just write it, I can’t count the lines and then decide which note it is in a short time… Low B is fine, though. And I mark my forked f’s as in the second picture, sometimes with a vertical line trough it, left f’s get a L, left e-flat’s get a lowercase cursive l. (My teacher tought me to put an L, too, but I would see that L and think it was a left-f, so I do a different one to not create confusion.)

    Also I’m sorry to hear about your mother. Haven’t read in a couple of days so I probably missed you posting about it.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your mother! Much love and support, feel better soon <3

  7. Do you suppose Ann Honana from St Louis always signs her name backwards? It looks well practiced.

    There should be a mark you can use to indicate, “What idiot wrote this??”

  8. Thanks Eefje, for your kind words. Mom passed away on May 28. It’s been a rough time.

  9. Thank you so much, Krishan!

  10. Oh, I like that idea, Bob. We need to figure out a mark that represents that! Hmmm ….