I first “discovered” this video via Maria Kochetkova’s blog. If you want to skip the chatting before it begins scroll in to 1:45. Who knew that Saint Saëns’ work would work with this style of dance … but it works for me!

21. February 2011 · Comments Off on English Horn Outside My Little World · Categories: OutsideMyWorld™

Randy Mckean-Saxophone
Murray Campbell-oboe
Ross Hammond-guitar

21. February 2011 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

– John Adams, Letter to Abigail Adams (12 May 1780)

21. February 2011 · Comments Off on FBQD · Categories: FBQD

Nephew is exploring what instrument to play for this coming year-Oboe maybe… looking for a good deal on one if he so wants to play one!! Any out there??

21. February 2011 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

now that i have my pay, i shall go repair my oboe -.- The pads and cords are are loose and broken.

What fun!

Bartók’s one-act opera is no cakewalk for a university symphony. Roughly an hour long, the work calls for massive orchestral forces. On Friday and Saturday at Mondavi’s Jackson Hall, a total of 99 musicians will be in the orchestra pit.

I’ve never done this opera. Heck, I’ve never heard this opera! But I am trying to imagine squeezing 99 musicians into a pit. That must be one large pit, yes?

You can read more and even watch a video at that link if you want. This was done at UC Davis. They must have a strong music department there!

Here’s the opening of a performance from a while back:

Conducted by: Sir George Solti London Philharmonic Orchestra
Judith: Sylvia Sass
Bluebeard: Kolos Kováts
Directed by: Miklós Szinetár

Protecting the hearing of orchestra musicians just became a little more complicated in the US with the release of a new policy from OSHA, the federal agency responsible for workplace health and safety. The new policy declares that the simple provision of earplugs is insufficient, unless all other administrative or venue-renovation options have been exhausted first.

Pin Drop Acoustics has an interesting blog post about OSHA, the new policy, and what this might mean for orchestras. I’ll be curious to see where this takes us.

I wear earplugs some of the time. I hate them, but I wear them. After my whole what-I-thought-was-a-virus story (you can read a bit about it by going here, I had to purchase some. I should have purchased them many years ago. There is no way I can wear them if I have a solo, but if I have a solo the orchestra is playing softer anyway. If the orchestra is blasting the earplugs go in. I have to rely on my years of playing to count on playing with a good sound, as I can’t hear what I’m doing very well. I have to deal with the sound of my tongue clacking (not sure what else to call it!) on the reed. I have to deal with being a wee bit unsure about intonation. But no one can hear me, so there’s that.

But what is the solution to noise exposure? PinDrop (as I’ve now nicknamed him/her) mentions some. What I don’t want is for us to never play above a mezzo forte (fat chance!). Certainly placing louder instruments in spots that aren’t directly behind musicians helps. Sometimes we can play a bit less fortissimo, too.

I do think every musician should go in for an annual hearing test. And every musician should own a pair of musician’s ear plugs. I have these, although I only have flesh colored ones. Gee … I think colors would have been fun! But I’m not about to spend another $215 (or more; I’m guessing prices have risen since I purchased mine).