I’m getting lots of hits via something called newsgator. Anyone reading this using that service? Just curious if those are “for real” or if it’s something I should be blocking. I’m thinking it might be some sort of RSS thing … but I’m a computer idiot so this is just a pattyguess™.

31. March 2006 · Comments Off on Sometimes (most times) It Seems To Work This Way … · Categories: imported, Ramble

… for me anyway.

Tonight was the dress rehearsal. Everything was more difficult. Counting. Note attacks. Intonation. I hate when this happens, and yet it seems to happen frequently to yours truly. I’m not sure what it is about the dress, but I tend to have difficulties with things that shouldn’t be difficult, and of course the difficult things are even more difficult than I expect. Go figure. And the Sibelius … well … it’s deceptively difficult and it’s about playing with the group, not sitting at home going over my little part. So now I fret for a time, and then pull myself together for the performances.

The reed I had thought would be “the reed” is acting up. Stupid reeds. Stupid weather. And how stupid is it that no one has ever sent me reeds, I ask you!? I do check my post office box, you know?

Still, with all my whining (I’m an oboe player and it’s a prerequisite) I’m looking forward to the concert.

Tomorrow I teach, have a recital rehearsal, and of course the Symphony Silicon Valley concert. It’s a full day, with a drive to and from Santa Cruz included. The following day we have an hour of sleep stolen from us. This is simply not a good idea and anyone who thinks it is is just plain wrong.

I speak the truth.

It’ll be interesting to see how full Sunday’s concert will be. It’s sold out … but will everyone remember to set their clocks ahead and hour? I wonder.

31. March 2006 · Comments Off on Let’s Chat About Those Folks Who Don’t Carry Instrument Cases Around · Categories: imported, Ramble

… well, unless you count a body as an instrument case!

Yeah, I”m talkin’ singers here. (And sorry, this is going to be a disjointed ramble … I feel it coming on and I can’t stop it.)

Singers and instrumentalists have sometimes had a bit of a “thing” going on … there’s occasionally (?) a rub between the groups. I’m not exactly sure why. Well, there are some things that do come into play; singers are, more often than not, a bit more … um … vocal. As in more … hmmm … boisterous perhaps (I mean that in the friendliest way) and outgoing and, to us introvert types, sometimes even (dare I say it?) over the top. And heck, I see choirs giving each other massages—as in everyone stands in a line and does this all at once, prior to beginning choir rehearsal. It sort of makes my pals and me cringe; a lot of us instrumentalists aren’t as huggy either, I guess.

Instrumentalists, on the other hand, are … well … maybe we are just plain weird. (Singers, you want to jump in here and tell me how we appear to you?) I dunno. We don’t usually give massages to each other. And I know I’m not as into looks as vocalists, but that might be the oboe in me because I think flutists are a bit more focused on that sort of thing. But anyway, I have sometimes noticed a discomfort between singers and we folk who carry our instruments outside of our bodies (although you all know, I hope, that my instrument actually DOES begin inside my mouth … right? Did you know that? Please say you do! We shape our sound inside our mouths. Really we do.)

Moving on, though … I certainly don’t think of singing as easy and I happen to think that using one’s own body as the music source is mighty frightening. Shoot, I can always look at my oboe or my reed and blame those things, but does a singer get to look down his or her throat and place blame there? Oh. Maybe they do. Hmmm. But I’ve heard instrumentalists put down singers, and I’ve heard singers say that playing an instrument is much easier than singing. (Of course I’ve also heard nearly every instrumentalist suggest that his or her instrument is the hardest. I’ve heard section string players say that playing in a section is much more difficult than what we wind fold do. I’ve heard oboe players say that their instrument is the most difficult and horn players disagree. I guess I’ve heard it all!)

I love the human voice, and I’m envious of those that sing well. I’m even jealous of those who sing poorly sometimes; you know … some of the “stars” who have pretty rotten voices but somehow the voice just works. Our younger son, Jameson, sings at home, and I love hearing his very beautiful bass-baritone voice. Me? I have about a 5 note range, and it’s somewhere in the tenor area. It isn’t anything I share willingly with the world. I can harmonize, and I think I sound okay then, but don’t ever ask me to sing alone. It won’t happen.

(See what I mean about rambling?)

But anyway, I recently ran across two blogs that mention “musicians and singers” and I crack up whenever I see that. I’ve been caught saying that phrase as well, so it’s not like I’m pointing fingers at others and feeling superior. Over at Chris Foley’s Collaborative Piano Blog it wasn’t the blogger who referred to the groups this way, but a survey he was reporting on. And over at Hugh Sung’s site it was actually a singer who referred to the two groups that way. Funny eh? (By the way, check out those blogs. Both are worth your time!)

So anyway … I just want to state it here, in public, loud and clear:

Singers are people musicians too! 😉

(Oh wait. They are people as well. I guess.)

31. March 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

I was shocked by how few opportunities there were for students to hear genuine oboe-laden country music.

-Maggie Ronan, Pomona student

Read more here.