20. January 2006 · Comments Off on Oboe Support Peg · Categories: imported, Ramble

Jennifer Grucza wrote here (in the discussion section, but I’m posting it here for all to read):

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. You were talking about holding up the oboe, and it reminded me of an oboist I saw once who had this stand attached to her oboe. It rested on her chair between her legs, so she didn’t have to support the weight of the oboe at all. What do you think of using those? Is that a common thing in the oboe world?

Some oboists do have problems holding the oboe. It can get so bad that a doctor may take the player “off” the oboe for a time. Much of the weight, after all, is on our right thumb! I’m guessing that the stand you saw is called “FHRED”. (I haven’t a clue about that bizarre name!) You can see it here. The device, from what I’ve been told, takes all of the pressure off that thumb. If you look at the page above you’ll see other aids for those who suffer. Some oboists use a neck strap, and some oboes even have a ring above the thumb rest that is intended for this. I don’t let my oboe students use a neck strap—I think they do more harm than good. They often cause you to pull down on the strap, hurting the neck. So nix those babies!

Playing oboe is not a breeze, and having hands act up is a real distraction. Being told to stop playing entirely is especially distressing, as I’m sure you can imagine.

If an oboe is difficult to hold, English horn is worse. Again, some musicians will use a strap (Ugh! They are quite literally, as I wrote above, a pain in the neck.) Most English horn players now use a peg when they are sitting and plyaing, which you can see on the same page I’ve linked to above. I just hold the darn instruments. When I get extremely tired I just cross my ankles and rest the bell fo the horn between them. It works, and it can even help me play with great control.

At least thirteen years ago I injured my right hand by doing too much needlework; San Jose Symphony (RIP) was on a trip to Tahoe, and I did needlework for at least 4 hours straight while on the bus ride. Stupid me! I was in pain for a good amount of time, and after that I never could do needlework comfortably. I finally gave away all of my projects, as my music was more important than my hobby.

I again went through a scary time a few years back where my hands were acting up. It hurt to hold the oboe. It hurt to type. Heck, it hurt to pick up a plate and put it in the cupboard. I’m not sure how I injured my hands, but I took it easy (I never did use a peg) and they are better now. I do know, though, to check for warning signs. There are times when I have to step away from the computer because I suspect it’s the main culprit in harming my hands. Going between hot and cold treatments can really help the hands, and I do that if I feel anything coming on.

More than you wanted or needed to know, eh? But maybe this will help some of the reeders out there.

20. January 2006 · Comments Off on Ouch! · Categories: imported, Ramble

I just read this:

Paremski performed three encore pieces and stuck around afterward to sign autographs. As she mingled with the crowd after the concert, people noticed her red and swollen fingers with shock and sympathy. Paremski laughed it off. “This happens every single day. It’s no big deal,” she said.

(Complete blog entry found here.*)

I hadn’t really ever thought about this before, nor have I seen a pianist’s fingers after a long recital. Does this happen to everyone? Hmmm. It would be a big deal to me!

I also read this, from the same blogger*:

I made my stage debut Tuesday night, helping American Musical Theatre of San Jose announce the lineup for its 72nd season, starting this fall. I was only on the Center for Performing Arts stage for about two minutes but it felt like an eternity. Two things I learned: 1) Your heart doesn’t actually burst out of your chest no matter how nervous you get; 2) You can get discombobulated saying “I’ve never spoken to such a large audience before” if you can’t see the large audience because of the spotlights. All you stage veterans out there are probably rolling your eyes right now, but seriously I didn’t know you couldn’t see the crowd. Anyway, it gave me a deep appreciation for any performer.

(Complete blog entry found here.*)

Yep. Yep.

Mind you, it’s speaking in public that can really get me (although not always; sometimes I get the microphone and get quite power hungry or something and enjoy myself tremendously! Go figure.) But most often my tongue gets ten times bigger (or so it feels). I shake. The nerves are awful. However I don’t get the same reaction to playing. I suppose it’s just because I’ve done it for so long. It doesn’t mean I never get nervous—believe me I do! But I don’t have any problem with my tongue, and I don’t get “note tied” as I might get tongue tied. Thank God!

*sorry, these blog entries are gone now.

20. January 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Mozart is sunshine.

-Antonin Dvorak, quoted in Otakar Sourek (ed.), Antonin Dvorak: Letters and Reminiscences (1954)