11. October 2014 · Comments Off on Stress & More Stress · Categories: Ramble

I am a pretty demanding teacher. I do like it when the students and I can have a few laughs during a lesson, but I also require a good amount of work and attention to detail.

Sometimes, though, I am reminded of the stress of their lives.

When students come in to the studio I nearly always ask a few questions: “How are you?” “How’s the oboe?” “How’s school?”

Recently not all answers have been terrifically positive. School has been stressful for a number of “my” kids. (It’s that time of year: college applications, SAT and PSAT tests midterms for some ….) I try to keep an eye on them and, if I think it’s necessary, we do something a little different during the lesson.

Sometimes it’s “backwards day”, and after a short warm up we begin with the duet and work backwards. Normally our duet is “dessert” because nearly all of them love them so much. Sometimes it’s a “choose what you want to do today” lesson. Sometimes it’s a pure sight-reading day of fun music. And sometimes it’s a whole lot of talking and not much playing.

I think that the high resistance that we get when playing oboe can also be a “stress additive”. If we need to spend more time talking about music, school and life, rather than adding to the stress a student is feeling, I think that’s an okay thing to do. I hope the students’ parents agree.

I am so concerned with students these days. I’ve had some who slack off, but very few. The majority take music lessons, a sport, a foreign language, too many AP courses, do volunteer work, and many add even more to their schedules.

I didn’t have this sort of life when I was in high school and still it wasn’t a great time of life for me. Did I stress about school? Naw. Did I do sports? Nope. But did I lose sleep? You bet. Tons of it. Worrying over … can you guess? … REEDS. So far I’ve not had one student who stresses over those beasts. I’m so glad about that!

A study conducted by researchers at the University of Bristol found that hens seem to prefer classical music when laying eggs.

The study was commissioned on a whim, says Alex Sheehan from Happy Egg Co., just to see if there were any positive benefits.

“We wanted to see if it would help them feel more comfortable or produce more eggs.”

Isabelle Pettersson from the University of Bristol said the impact music has on farm animals has been noted, but not specifically about hens and their musical tastes.

“We decided to investigate this further and find out whether music has a positive impact on hens, whether they have a preference for certain types of music, and also how it affects their laying habits.”

Classical, pop and rock were selected for the nest boxes, while the fourth had no music so researchers could see the hens’ behaviour and compare the reactions.

The music was played at varying periods during the day. Researchers visited the farm weekly over an eight-week period to collect data and ensure the investigation was running smoothly.

The hens did not lay more eggs overall, but they made more frequent visits to nest boxes where classical music was playing . Results revealed six percent more eggs laid in those boxes compared to the nest boxes playing songs by One Direction.

“Hens are sensitive to noise,” said Sheehan. “I don’t want to bash the artists, I like some of them, but classical music is just more soothing. It’s not as disruptive or loud.”


… because classical is never disruptive or loud. Right? 😉

11. October 2014 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

Oboe Reed Tip of the Week: Have a reed that is too resistant or stuffy? Try lowering the wire a little

(Trouble is, most of us in the US don’t use wire!)