03. June 2011 · Comments Off on Goodbye for now, UCSC · Categories: UCSC

And so I’m done. I taught the last student, Karl Spiker … and then was able to attend an awards ceremony with him, as he received an award for his oboe recital! How cool is that? Heck, they even give me a certificate. I suppose it looks good on my UCSC records. So so long, Karl. It’s been fun teaching you!

I haven’t a clue if we have any incoming oboe students for the fall. This year there was a drought. I certainly hope it doesn’t continue in this manner, but I wonder. Only time will tell … and that time won’t be until September. (If any incoming students read this blog, though, please do contact me!)

I was pleased to get my contract for next year, and to receive some nice compliments about my teaching. That’s always good for the heart.

So now I finish up with symphony this weekend and then I’m solely a private oboe instructor for a time. Of course teaching is a passion of mine, so I’m okay with that!

14. April 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Opera, UCSC

… all in one blog entry! (Plus some of the days before, just to fill you in.)

I’ve been in a bizarre place since sometime last Saturday. My ear was acting up, and Sunday I woke to find that I had what I call “the dizzies”. No church. No concert I was planning on attending (sorry, Russ de Luna). It was mostly a couch day. Monday and Tuesday were okay, but Wednesday I woke up thinking “Oh no! HOW am I going to play opera AND get to Karl’s recital?” But sleeping in, taking meds, and attempting to deal did the trick.

Last night was Karl’s recital. I had heard his dress rehearsal on Monday so I knew he’d manage to get through the grueling program. Sure enough, he did! And a very fine job he did, too! Bravo Karl!

This is the stage prior to the start (I didn’t take photos during the recital until the encore, and I won’t post that without Karl’s permission):

Fancy, don’tcha think, with that lighting and all? 😉

Opera began Wednesday as well, and today we had our first sitzprobe. I’ve played Bohème more times than any other opera, so I certainly know it. I also happen to love the opera, so I’m happy to be back at it! I do puzzle over dear Mr. Puccini’s dynamics sometimes … a solo marked pppp? Really? And the most clear solo one played entirely alone: I begin on C (middle of the staff) for two bars to the B right below. Softly. Alone. With a dimunuendo. Did I mention it’s all alone? I have never enjoyed playing this solo … I can’t figure out what the heck to do with it, and I don’t think of those notes as particularly lovely. I’ll see if I can’t take some photos of the pages that are fun or drive me nuts or perplex me at some point … but I didn’t manage to get any in focussed pictures today. (My mistake!)

Today was our first sitzprobe. This morning I woke up with a migraine. Good timing, don’t you think? So it was another couch morning. Fortunately by the rehearsal I was able to function. Whew!

We “met” the singers from one cast before we began. They always introduce themselves at their sitz; it’s the only time I actually get to SEE them. Again, the photos aren’t great — but I’ll put ’em up … just proof that I really was there:

We are always so thrilled to have the singers join us. We aren’t much of anything without ’em when we are doing opera, after all!

Tomorrow we meet the other cast. I’m looking forward to it and I’ll try to take more photos. Maybe I’ll even get things focussed, but don’t count on it. I’m just not looking forward to that one C to B solo. Someone wanna play it for me?

As to my ear … I believe this evening I’m finally nearly normal. And nearly normal is about as good as it gets with me!

25. February 2011 · Comments Off on Congratulations, Karl! · Categories: Concerts, UCSC

I’m home from the UCSC Orchestra concert. Karl Spiker, a student of mine, performed the Mozart Oboe Concerto. He was fantastic! I’m so proud of him and how well he played. Bravo, Karl! (If anyone reading this is in the area you could hear it tomorrow night, as they are repeating the concert then. 7:30. Recital Hall. UCSC.)

(Sorry for the poor quality, but I was using the iPhone, didn’t think to zoom in, and obviously wasn’t using the flash, which probably wouldn’t have worked from that distance anyway.)

And Karl looked quite professional as well. But ‐ oh dear, oh dear ‐ women, if you are going to wear short dressed you really need to sit more carefully. Please!?

04. January 2011 · Comments Off on Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho · Categories: Teaching, UCSC

Yesterday I started teaching again. All of one student out of the three on the schedule. One half hour lesson. That was it.

Today I go back to UCSC. And I have two of the usual three students here at home.

Slowly but surely I’m getting back to work. And I’m currently feeling very poor. Ah well … the life of a musician!

21. September 2010 · Comments Off on Heigh Ho Heigh Ho · Categories: UCSC

Back to UCSC today! I do hope I get some oboe students … so far only one has contacted me about lessons. This is not a good sign ….

Okay, banana slugs, here I come!

13. September 2010 · Comments Off on UCSC Oboe Students · Categories: UCSC

We are nearing the start of the fall quarter, so I’m posting this here, in hopes that I might “catch’ some of you this way. Time will tell:

Fall Quarter, 2010

I am planning to continue teaching on Tuesday mornings. If you would like lessons please contact me so that we can set up a time to meet. I will be on campus on Tuesday, September 21 from 1:30-3:00 to hear you audition for the studio. Please come by then so I can hear you, determine if you are able to sign up for lessons, and work on scheduling things (room yet to be determined … stay tuned!).


(Questions? Email me a pmitchel [at] ucsc [dot] edu)

Ah fall quarter … it’s always a challenge to get the word out to new students. It’s even more of a challenge to schedule the lessons around everyone’s already scheduled classes.

08. June 2010 · Comments Off on Over The Hill & Back Again · Categories: UCSC

Today I taught the final lesson at UCSC for the year.

To those current and incoming UCSC students … do check in with me or check my UCSC page when you are nearing the start of fall quarter. I’ll have information there about meeting up for your audition for lessons. I do hope to continue teaching on Tuesday mornings. Odds are I’ll hear auditioning students on Tuesday, September 21, but I’ll know for sure when we are much closer to the start of school. Feel free to contact me at pmitchel [at] ucsc [dot] com with any questions.

Thanks, and safe and happy summer to you all!

29. March 2010 · Comments Off on Congratulations! · Categories: UCSC

If you have been admitted to UCSC, congratulations! I don’t envy high school students these days; getting into colleges, universities and conservatories is getting more and more difficult. You all are under so much more stress than I was back in the dark ages.


If you are thinking of a music major, or even if you are just interested in oboe at UCSC, please feel free to contact me at pmitchel [at] ucsc [that dot thing you put here] edu. I’m always happy to meet with prospective students if we can make schedules work. (I am on campus on Tuesdays, so if you are making plans, do keep that in mind, please.)


You just can’t beat the beauty at UCSC. I really need to post more pictures from the campus.

UCSC Trees


Here is my starting page for UCSC students.

19. January 2010 · Comments Off on One Thing About UCSC · Categories: UCSC

I could write a ton of things about teaching at UCSC. But right now there’s only one thing that comes to mind: today’s drive was a bit hairy!

Yes indeed, the drive today was not the sort I do frequently. We had quite the storm, and highway 17 had a ton of water on it. Fortunately everyone was driving at a decent speed, aside from two crazy people who sped on by. Guess they must have done okay since I never saw them overturned anywhere.

The drive home was a piece of cake … the way it should be. The way it usually is.

I hear we are going to continue with this storm stuff. I’m hoping next Tuesday we’ll be done with this. For the day, anyway; I LOVE stormy weather!

07. December 2009 · Comments Off on Ah, Frustration · Categories: UCSC

I went to put in grades for UCSC just now. The grading is so much easier and quicker than the written evaluations I have to do, and grades are due sooner, so I thought I’d get them completed before I move on to Nutcrackers.


Not as easy as I thought it would be. One of my hour students isn’t on the roster. Ack! (So, RKH, if you read my blog, please do pursue this … if both of us pester people it might get figured out sooner!)

At the beginning of the quarter I couldn’t check my rosters online for some unknown (and new, as this had never happened in the past 6 years) reason. But I did see that all my students had registered for lessons by looking at their class lists that they showed me before I was allowed to teach them. Unfortunately that doesn’t show the instructor, but only that they are enrolled in lessons. So now I haven’t a clue how to resolve this. I’ll assume, though, that the music office folks will somehow figure this out. They are smart that way.

I don’t know if the inability to access a fall roster was due to my being adjunct faculty or not. I’m trying not to take it personally.

But I’m not a happy camper right now.