28. September 2006 · Comments Off on Ouch! My Ears! · Categories: imported, Ramble

I never used to wear ear plugs when playing; I hate the way I hear myself, including my tongue clacking—yes, it sounds like that—against the reed. I can’t stand not hearing everyone else clearly. And I hate “ear plug tone” from my oboe and English horn. But recently I have had to don ear plugs on occasion. I just assumed I was getting more sensitive as I aged for some reason.

But Alex Ross writes, “…everyone knows orchestras play louder than they ever used to…”.

Silly me! I always think it’s about me and, in this case, thought it was about me and my ears. I’m guessing he’s right; people are playing louder.

But you know how it goes … higher, faster, louder … doesn’t that make for good music?

(My students will know I don’t mean that; I tell them that I’m much more impressed by those who can play softly and slowly. It takes so much more skill and control! And everyone knows about low notes and oboe. Don’t they?)

I do recall, though, that a friend of mine decided to try out “classical” music. He emailed me to ask what was up with the music; he had to keep turning the volume up and down because otherwise he either couldn’t hear it or it was too loud. I had to explain dynamics to him; most popular music is pretty much the same dynamic, or so it was with the stuff he was listening to. And I do want dynamic contrast. That is one of the (many) things I love about what we do.

28. September 2006 · Comments Off on I Can Still Be Stuffy! · Categories: imported, Ramble

I download music. Lots of it, in fact. Much more than the 11 pieces of music, which is what those folks older than 50 download. I listen to music on my iPod (right now I have some Malcolm Arnold playing; I decided to become familiar with his symphonies, which I’ve never played). I burn CDs. I have playlists.

But, darn it all, I can still be stuffy if I want to be!

I read this:

Fans of classical music have shed their stuffy image and embraced technology, according to Gramophone magazine.

And, well, I say, in the most uppity sort of voice I can manage, “By golly, can’t stuffy and technology go hand in hand, my dears?”

Yes. Yes they can.

So I will still pretend to be better than everyone else. I will still suggest that “classical” (or shall I say “serious”?) music is so much more important than “popular” music. And I will hold my pinkie daintily away from the tea cup as I sip my spot ‘o tea.

Or not.

Sorry … I just thought it was funny that embracing technology implies we are unstuffed.

I hope folks who read this know by now when I’m winking.