31. July 2006 · Comments Off on Music Education Facts · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’m not exactly sure where these facts come from, as the newspaper doesn’t tell me, but here you go:

Most popular instruments for children: violin, trumpet, trombone, flute, percussion.
Most in-demand instruments on college or conservatory level: viola, bass fiddle, oboe, bassoon, French horn, English horn, tuba.
Most in-demand instrument on adult, amateur level: violin.

Not many schools have an English horn major, by the way. In fact, it might be only Julliard that offers that. I was surprised clarinet and saxophone didn’t make the most popular instrument list. Hmmm. But it’s so fun to be in-demand, you know? And violin is most in-demand for adults? My guess would have been piano. (But piano isn’t listed as the most popular instrument for children either, so maybe they aren’t including piano in this list.)

I found this attached to an article my news alert service on the word “oboe” provided. Funny thing was that I read the same article back in January. Judith Schoolman is the author listed for both, so it’s not that someone plagiarized, just so you know. I do find it odd that it doesn’t say it’s an old article, but maybe things like these work the same way as poetry first rights. You can sell a poem with first rights and later publish it again. I can’t remember if there’s a certain amount of time one must wait to resell something, but I am guessing that with an article you must have to wait around six months. Just a guess, of course!

In any case, it’s the article I mentioned back in January, about how some instruments can be a ticket to scholarships. I know that’s the case for oboe. So do a lot of parents. But I want to remind readers that the oboe itself isn’t the ticket … it’s how you play it! Don’t assume it can sit in its case day in and day out and somehow provide you with miraculous money.

Devin Cohen, a 15-year old from Bolton, Conn., has been playing bassoon for five years, and has already made the two hours a day he practices pay off.

TWO HOURS! See that? Get it? It takes time. Commitment. A little bit of craziness. (Well, maybe not that last one … or maybe so. You tell me!)

Passion. Practice.


30. July 2006 · Comments Off on Slowboe · Categories: imported, Ramble

Not much to say today, and I doubt not much for the next few days. It’s just a slow time for me. And that’s okay.

What’s not okay is that I couldn’t go to the IDRS convention this year, I’ve not ever gone, and I can’t go next year. So to feel as if I’m nearly there I’ve been reading Prairie Oboe Companion by Jillian. It’s really wonderful to read about it all, even though it makes me a wee bit envious of her experience. And the story she tells in July 28th’s entry (second paragraph) about a high school student and master oboist and what he says to the audience is priceless. Really.

29. July 2006 · Comments Off on The F Words · Categories: imported, Ramble

If you have an oboe that I’ve not suggested be dumped, you have an oboe with a left F key. Some of my students arrive at their first lesson having never played or learned this fingering even if they have the key. Why? Because nearly every book I’ve ever seen doesn’t include it on a fingering chart!

I didn’t learn it either. I, in fact, learned the forked F fingering with the E-flat key first. (The E-flat key was added, I believe, because the F resonance key either hadn’t been added to oboes yet or because the folks making fingering charts didn’t know about it. I’m guessing the former.) I wonder, also, of left F had not been put on the chart because … well … maybe it hadn’t been invented when these books were written …? Anyone know? That would be my guess.

I can promise you that a fingering you learn when you are first discovering oboe can haunt you for nearly forever. So learn your F fingerings in this order: regular F ( XXX | XX F key 0 ), left F ( XXX left F key | XX0 ), and forked F ( XXX | X0X ). Really. It’s the best order for most everything, although not all.

When not to use regular F: If you can use regular F, you want to use that, but if your right hand ring finger is used before or after F you move to left F. But of course sometimes you can’t do that, because you are playing a combination of keys before or after that requires the left pinkie for a note. So move to forked F.

And of course these rules can be broken. I sometimes use forked F because of the way it responds, or because of its slightly different tone. (On my Marigaux the note is nearly the same as the other fingerings, but I’ve noticed Lorees aren’t quite that way. My old oboe—a Loree—had a stuffy forked F which came in handy for a pianissimo low F when necessary. Sometimes I use forked F when I’m playing D before or after just because that combination is easy to work for me.

The truth? I do what works best for me, and provides the smoothest and cleanest results. Make sense? I think so.

In fact, even if we learn all the rules—and I do think they should be learned!—we often then break them. That’s how it works. So there you go.

Or not. You can disagree with me if you’d like. 🙂

27. July 2006 · Comments Off on More like a Crow, If You Ask Me! · Categories: imported, Ramble

“At the first rehearsal, it was a riot, because the oboist was just warming up her reed and my ears perked up. I heard this unusual sound and I said, “What are you doing?” and she said, “Warming up my reed.” I said, “That’s the way the piece is gonna start.” It sounded like a bird.”

It’s funny, but I’ve never thought about the word “bird” when I think about crowing the reed! I do realize a crow is a kind of bird. Hmmm. Funny me. I also never “warm up my reed” … but I guess others do. (I do check the reed by crowing it, but I’ve not considered that warming it up.)

I read this article here.

27. July 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

If you’re going to play the oboe, you have to have elementary bravery, or you’re in big trouble. Some of them are nutty, wild and unreasonable. I call myself a quintessential Cleveland Orchestra player — orthodox, but zippy, and nonwacko. I hate wacko.

-John Mack

26. July 2006 · Comments Off on More on Mack · Categories: imported, Links

Of course there have been more articles on John Mack, as I expected, so here are a few more links:

And yes, his middle name isn’t “Oboe” according to some of these articles. I have heard that he used it as a middle name so that students passing through town could locate him in the phone book.

25. July 2006 · Comments Off on Not All Classical Musicians Are Smart · Categories: imported, Ramble

A lot of people have the idea that classical musicians are smart. Some think we are intellectual giants. (Well, until you read this blog, eh?!) I don’t like destroying our grand image, but I have to tell you it simply isn’t true.

Now some of my classical pals are brilliant. Many, in fact. But I recall carpooling years ago (no one I work with now, and I can’t even remember the person’s name, so don’t go guessing!), and I have to tell you the violinist in the car was about as bright as a doorknob. And I was shocked because … you know what?! … I thought classical musicians had to be smart. (That was before I was smart enough to realize I’m not that smart! 😉

Shoot. We look pretty smart, don’t we? (Please, oh please say yes!)

Even the young’uns aren’t so bright. Robbing a bank? Sigh. I read James Reel’s recent blog entry and just cracked up.

25. July 2006 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

Art is a beacon and music happens to be our special beacon. (I wonder if there is a relationship between the words beacon and beckon?) Music most assuredly does sustain us, and beguile and nourish us. What kind of void would be in its absence? Not a pretty thought. So it falls to us to do what it is that we can do. Our contributions to the cause of music can take so many forms and go in so many directions.

-John Mack

25. July 2006 · Comments Off on The Answer · Categories: imported, Ramble

… to this isn’t, as Susan guessed. The answer, instead, is a tuba. The article was about a tuba quartet.

Um. Sure. Oboe … clarinet … tuba … all so very much alike. Yes indeed.

25. July 2006 · Comments Off on I Guess I’m Wrong · Categories: imported, Ramble

I’ve heard from a few people, and I can tell what they and some family members here have said that I’m a silly girl who over reacts to everything. Sigh. So I guess I’ll just forget about the email and move on to other things to whine about! There’s always something, you know, so letting that go doesn’t mean yours truly can’t find something!

Or not.

So … if anyone wants to do the work for me and put together a page for band double reed players, feel free. I’ll then post the page. Right now I have no time to do this. (Perhaps the gentleman who wrote the email will drop by again—he doesn’t appear to be a member, though, so maybe it was a one time visit—and if he knows HTML this would give him a nice little project. Whoever does it will certainly get credit on that page. Otherwise it will have to wait until I’m not working on some other things that, for me, are slightly more important right now.

I do NOT want to turn this blog into a Complaint Station™! Honest and true. And I love my “gig”. Teaching is energizing and great fun. Students can be a joy. There’s nothing in the world that can beat playing with pals. So it’s “all good” as some might say. 🙂