29. December 2006 · Comments Off on Glasses & Music · Categories: imported, Ramble

I have horrible vision. Really. Awful. Can’t-leave-the-bed-without-glasses vision. It’s not fun.

And of course I need reading lenses as well. So there you go.

Paul Viapiano blogs about his recent experience. I know the struggle of adjusting to progressive lenses but, unlike Paul, I’ve managed to deal with them. My first experience (too early in my life, if you ask me—I wasn’t even 40!) was frustrating, and it took me three months to adjust. Three darn months. But I’m stubborn. I dealt.

About two years ago now I moved to two pair of glasses; one pair is for everyday use and the other is for music. The second pair allows me to see the music incredibly clearly, and I can see the conductor enough to see the beat pattern but not enough to see a conductor’s glare. It works really well for me. And I do read ahead. I’m not sure if there’s a difference because they are primarily suited for close up reading—I do still have to “follow my nose” a bit— but I can see more than I had expected.

I still use no glasses at all when I’m doing extremly close up reed work.

It all seems to work fine now.

Earlier in my life I wore contact lenses, but my eyes seemed to rule those out after a number of years. I’m okay with that. Glasses hide those lovely dark bags under my eyes! I’m okay with that.

Anyways ANYWAY you very well might have to deal with the problems Paul had, so his blog is well worth reading.

29. December 2006 · Comments Off on Lorraine Hunt Lieberson & More · Categories: imported, Ramble

There’s a touching article about Lorraine Lieberson that’s well worth the read. (I might argue that she began her career even earlier, and was first known as a violist in San Jose, but oh well. I suspect it’s just because I want to lay some sort of claim on this incredible individual who carried with her the richest, warmest, loveliest voice I’ve ever heard.)

In addition, you’ll read Justin Davidson’s Top 10 (performances) for 2006. He doesn’t include the Lieberson concert, but maybe that’s due to the huge write up prior to his list …? Dunno.

I’m busily (well, sort of) looking at lots of 2006 Top 10 lists these days. So many movies, so much music, so many books … most of which I’ve not heard, seen or read.

Maybe I should have my Top 10 Reeds of 2006?

If I even had 10. Kind of doubtful.

29. December 2006 · Comments Off on Why Not? It’s Easy. · Categories: imported, Ramble

In other news, I’m now pursuing playing the oboe and harmonica (not at the same time, mind). I felt it was time to pick up something new. As soon as I have the finances, I’m going to look into picking up a bass.

When I read quotes like this I smile. It’s as if someone can decide to choose a few (rather unrelated) instruments and easily learn them. Or at least that’s the impression I get. I do hope this blogger gets a teacher for each instrument. (Well, maybe not the harmonica … does one need a teacher for that?)

I once heard from someone who wanted to teach herself English horn… because she had already taught herself French horn. Hmmm. They aren’t at all related, taking up a double reed is a rather big challenge, and it’s usually best to begin on oboe. I’ve not heard how it’s all going.

I did teach myself oboe for the first few months and I survived … but I do still fight the forked F with the E-flat key issue.

A private instructor is so necessary for a serious student. With oboe and English horn one isn’t dealing only with an instrument, but with reeds. And very fussy instruments as well. I can’t tell you how easy it is for these instruments to go out of adjustment! Turn a screw even 1/8 of a turn and you may have problems. I’ve studied my Sawicki book for a good long time and there are still things I can’t repair.

I recently heard a horror story: a student came home from a lesson and told her dad that the teacher had tightened one screw. (The teacher was only tightening one of the rod screws.) The dad, being such a helpful dad, tightened every screw on the oboe!


Just a few suggestions for now (I have more, but I’m feeling a bit lazy):

1) Don’t tighten screws on your oboe unless you know what you are doing!
2) If you drop your oboe (ahem … you know who you are!) assume it will need repair!
3) Have your oboe checked out once a year … and if you are using a school oboe please still do this. (I also believe you should pay for this … you are, after all, getting an oboe for free! Be responsible.)
4) Swab. (Please.)

As readers add other suggestions I’ll put them on this list (and give you credit! 🙂