Terry Teachout is a bit concerned about the new Sweeney Todd movie. He provided a link to the trailer and he’s right, there’s not a heck of a lot of singing. But if I’m remembering the show, most of what I heard spoken in that clip were spoken in the theatre production as well.

I do have a problem with Johnny Depp. And I never have a problem with that guy! I think Depp will look young when he’s eighty. And Helena Bonham Carter … well … she’s beautiful even when she’s not, you know? I guess I can’t help going back to when Angela Lansbury played the role. (I happened to do it with Jean Stapleton but I won’t go there right now.) So I’m just not sure about the movie. But you can bet I’ll want to see it.

07. October 2007 · Comments Off on What Counts as Playing? · Categories: Ramble

I ran across a YouTube video (no, I’m not including a link, as I think I’m being negative here and I don’t want to point something out in that negative sort of way right now) because the person who posted it said he played “basoon (x2), oboe (x2), cello (x2), violin (x3), harpsichord and English horn (x2).” That caught my attention … I’m always looking for new YouTube videos with oboe and English horn! (I’ve landed on some mighty fine music.)

Well, I began to listen … and I didn’t hear any bassoon, oboe, cello, violin, harpsichord or English horn. It was all synthesizer.

So I wonder, does that count? Did he play all those instruments? Seems to me he played one instrument, but I know I’ve said some stupid things here recently so I’m not about to state anything as fact.

I’m too fast to speak or write and too slow to learn, but I think I am learning! A little. Very slowly.

I won’t ever give up. I will continue to say scales are important. Forever. Until I leave this dusty planet. Really.

So get used to it.

But, after checking out Chris Foley’s latest blog entry I see I’m not the only one. Go visit his blog and you’ll see.

My students know their scales. The private students I begin at home in my studio can outplay nearly all my university students before I get them to accept the necessary requirement of scale playing. I have middle school students who play chromatic, major, melodic minor and whole tone scales. Really. Once they get those down we move on to thirds. (Everyone hears those awful glitches that oboists have between thirds and I just can’t stand it; having them start thirds early and carefully makes me hopeful they’ll not have those glitches haunt them.)

Eventually we get to all those exercises at the beginning of the Vade Mecum. That adds arpeggios to the mix, along with other patterns that are glitch-prone. It’s about clean playing. It’s about recognizing a key signature and knowing which alternate fingerings will almost certainly be required. It’s about finger agility. And it’s just about following my rules, too. I’m mean that way. 😉

07. October 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

We can listen to rock, jam, jazz, hip-hop, punk, new wave, old wave and wavy. After a time, classical music can be to our ears like water to a drunkard’s liver.

-From The Official Blog of the Grateful Web (RTWT)