28. June 2013 · 4 comments · Categories: IDRS2013

No more IDRS for me. I really had a great time, and I do hope to attend another sometime soon. Now that I understand things a bit better I know how I’d do things. I was happy to get to workshops. I didn’t get to enough concerts. I enjoyed the outdoor event, but it’s so difficult to really hear players and I’d rather hear them play where everyone is listening. Yes, even musicians stop listening at these things, and the talking was rather loud at last night’s winery concert. I know it’s not hip to want people to be quiet and listen, but I’m not hip so I guess that’s just okay!

I did three “brave” (for me) things: I introduced myself to Martin Schuring last night, I spoke at the panel discussion this morning and I introduced myself to Peter Cooper a bit later. I used some friends as my “opening line” when speaking to the two master oboists. Thank you, Cooper Wright and Jillian and Dave Camwell … do you feel used?!

Speaking of Dave and Jillian, there’s an album coming out soon that includes another dear friend’s work. Mike Touchi, I’m so excited that this will be out soon!

Here’s a full movement of Mike’s fantastic piece! (I still like it best with strings, but maybe that’s just me!)

28. June 2013 · 2 comments · Categories: Ramble

This panel discussion is talking about what to do after school is done and I thought it would be interesting to hear what they are recommending to the younger musicians.

Panel members: Pamela French, Lynne Marie Mangan, Brenda Schuman-Post, Paula Brusky

Just some quick quotes (not necessarily verbatim but close, and you may disagree with some) and notes:
Pam: I had been trained, thankfully, to be a freelance musician. (Good point: her teachers started getting her (not necessarily paying) work even in high school.)

Brenda: Income entirely freelance.

Lynne: Self-employed contractor, private teacher. “I have such a variety of things to do and it fits my personality.”

Paula: several degrees including music, marketing … more. Researched for a phd. How to stay healthy as musicians. “don’t garden because I just ruptured…” (something sorry, forgot what) … LOVE IT!

David: “Choose the right mentors.” His mom chose wind instruments for her children so they would play in a band if they were drafted. He studied with instructors who helped greatly with his career. “Luck = preparation + opportunity.” The most important thing is having a reed that responds. If it doesn’t you are dead in the water. You have to be in tune. Third is tone quality. “Do not let tone become your primary obsession when you are practicing.” “You need to be willing to travel and willing to relocate.”


I’m so glad they are discussing being wise on the web! … And gee, as scared as I am to speak, I just did! What folks in this room don’t know is that my hand are shaking!

David just suggested taking a public speaking class. Good idea (maybe my hands wouldn’t be shaking now!)

We usually rely on good relationships with other musicians.

Enhance your visibility: free charity work gets you out there, you polish your act, and the more you have on your calendar the quicker you will improve.

Be flexible! You have to be ready to play with different players and you have to fit in. (Talking about coming in as a sub.) You have to be a good colleague and if you can interact with the audience. The audience loves to meet musicians: you never know who might be in the audience.

How do I look and how do I appear to others? Am I representing what I actually do?

Use your network every day. Don’t just contact people when you want something. (How true! I have a few people who only contact me when they want my help.)

Be a good team player. Never warm up on someone else’s solo. Don’t warm up on that concerto you are dying to play. Keep your warm up short and simple. Warming up is a psychological exercise. It’s in your head.

“If I ever hear you’re warming up on stage on your solo before a performance I’m going to kill you!” -Gomberg

Get involved with your local youth orchestra. Attend a rehearsal. Introduce yourself. It’s a good way to build your studio.

Keep in touch with your network/contacts. Send notes.

Be humble, but you can still be honest about your skills. Ask for work … let them know you’d like to work if there are any openings.

Remember those who gave you those job opportunities. The power of a thank you! There are people you need to thank.

Be aware of the people you are interacting with. Keep in mind generational differences and personality differences. Saying to someone, “We’ll, am I on the sub list now?” Isn’t a good idea!

Very often it’s not the best player who gets hired for the studio orchestra, you don’t want to have a star, necessarily.

Take lessons with the busy freelancer. Don’t overdo it! Attend their concerts. Audition for things … making finals can get your name out there.

Intonation is probably the biggest reason many aren’t asked back in studio work, along with response. Modern recording technology can’t fix everything.

Studio work: very frequently it’s the double that has the big solo. Have that instrument ready and be able to play it well.

Have reeds at the ready!

Don’t take a job if you aren’t prepared. You’ll only get a bad name for playing poorly.

For most conductors, all you represent is a problem. Look at the conductor … know your solo. The answer to a conductor is,”Yes.” (A studio player spoke for a good amount of time and had excellent things to say, I’m hopeful that I can write more about this later.)

You never know who is listening to you. No matter where you are, you don’t know who is walking by and might hear you, ( How David Weiss got on the Johnny Carson show!)

Studio work: you very well might have to rely on the click track. The sound has to reach the mic at the right time. You have to be ready to write notation. You might have to suddenly play the clarinet part and writing quickly and even transpose might be necessary. Be available and very prompt. Check email and phone frequently. ABILITY AND AVAILABILITY. Know the situation for each studio. Parking, navigation, how far you have to walk … it always matters. Traffic and parking are no excuses. Travel minimally, and make sure your pegs don’t make noise when changing instruments and no squeaky shoes! Set up may be different so ask where to sit. Watch where you step. Keep your music in order. Get used to no warm up. Show up at least twenty minutes early. Have your instrument in good condition. You need quiet keys. Count carefully (sometimes they have counters in studios now). You must have complete control of vibrato. The conductor is often the composer. When not, the composer will be there and he is in charge of interpretation. Be ready for a ton of takes. Don’t ask questions! Figure it put as best you can. Only ask if you absolutely have to!

Freelancer needs: you must have medical insurance. It’s okay to have a job outside of music to desk with this. You must have some! Budget. Monthly income will vary greatly. Frequently those outside jobs help develop skills you’ll use in your music career. It was suggested to hire a tax accountant for the first few years to learn how to do your taxes.

Take business courses. Don’t just focus on classical. Understand that you are the business.

Make sure your answering machine is professionally. Include your name on your phone machine and if you have a chamber group include that name. Clothing matters. You must look professional.

Clothing … some very good things ill write a full blog on. Same with moving around while performing.

Observe first and learn how to fit in.

Play, but also have a life! You need to get outside in the world, rather than sitting in your reed room all the time. Be positive. No reed whining (no one cares!), no bragging. If you’re not a good reed maker, buy them! (YAY!) If you’re not good at something, outsource it. Your time is valuable.

28. June 2013 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

An Oboe Lesson going on in this room – They Were very good, I sat an Listened Gorgeous Half an hour …. http:// Instagram.Com / P / AUARlREYDM /

27. June 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: IDRS2013

A few notes …


Ravel’s Piano Concerto:

Piano left hand is your metronome. People often breathe too late. You need to listen to the 8th notes, but you also have to have a good internal metronome.

First two breasts breaths (Oh my … thank you Vladimir! I had to leave my typo up because it made me laugh so much!) should only be small. Third breath is larger.

Start softer so you can expand.

She suggests a breath between second and third bars of rehearsal 8, not between th G# and B.

Don’t get too loud between 7 and 8.

Be careful to pay extra attention to matching the colors.

Don’t use air the same way you do on oboe. English horn is NOT oboe.

Ein Heldenleben, final solo:

You must focus on where the solo is in the piece. Save yourself during the battle scene. The fourth oboe can’t be heard.

Breathing is a challenge. (She said she chose the “least bad places to breathe”.)

Don’t overplay … allow the instrument to vibrate.

She lifts the half hole finger for D to get the slur down the octave. (I do too.)

Play less at the opening when EH doubles violins. Watch the string players … don’t rush.

Use less finger pressure and you’ll get a much smoother line.

Don’t get too soft too soon at the end.

Think about subdivision. ( Not just on Strass.)

People who have bad rhythm NEVER get passed on to the final round.

Not only drop your jaw, but drop the angle of your head.

Dvorak’s New World:

Sometimes there are different tempi for the first six bars so you have to be ready for anything. There is no right tempo for the solo.

Know what is going on harmonically … not much happens at first. First two bars can be subdued. Next two have more dynamic contrast.

Bars 13 and 14 shouldn’t be an echo if you see what the strings have, but instead bars 11 & 12 should be the softer two.

Add the D key to high B flat.

Emphasized lighter finger pressure … always, not just with this. See how light you can go.

The class continued, but I didn’t! At 1:55 I realized I’d forgotten to eat today. Typical me!

27. June 2013 · 4 comments · Categories: IDRS2013

Peter Cooper Masterclass

A few notes … I’m paraphrasing sometimes as I can’t type fast enough to keep up!

Get out of that correct and seriousness mindset.

Feel like there’s an incredible whitewater of air. (Brahms’ 2nd symphony, last movement)

If you’re playing the Violin Concerto it doesn’t matter if your reed is great at 7:00 if you are playing the second movement at 8:30. Keep reeds damp rather than keeping them wet. (Talked about leaving a moistened reed in the case … don’t leave in water … either an open reed case or closed depending upon how open you need the reed, and its state, age and condition.)

Learn the WHOLE part rather than learning from the excerpt book.

How many of you care if she is feeling uncomfortable or not? (When student said what he suggested, which worked, felt uncomfortable.)

The common culprit is “support” and I don’t like that word. When you hear support you kind of clench everything. … instead think soft but athletically ready for anything. Of course you have to use your abdominal muscles, but think air. (He’s not saying don’t support, but is talking about how we think of that.)

It’s not blowing harder, but letting go. (On the high D in the first.)

This solo is piano, but it’s a noble piano. (Brahms’ 1)

I had all these nuances planned and then I played it in the orchestra and was then obliterated. (Said because he could tell the student had never played the work with an orchestra.)

I like finding different ways of playing it (a solo) and then deciding which one you like. … and that way if a conductor asks you, “can you do it this way?” you don’t say, “Well NO!”

Test your reeds on the hardest thing that you have to play.

Get a reed too vibrant and then bring it back. (Just like) when you adjust an oboe, get the screw too loose and then bring it back. Embrace going over the edge. Play like Elvis. (His demonstration was incredibly over the edge.) Now play like a big sloppy drunk. (Hysterical!) Now play that way like you are too loud and in my face. You can’t play right on the edge unless you’ve first crossed it to know where the edge is.

I play the first note with a harmonic A. (Brahms’ Violin Concerto.)

Show solo vs tutti. In an audition the bassoonist on the committee will say, “She obliterated my solo!” If you don’t pull back. (Points out that you have to know the all of it, just not the oboe part.) Play it as if you are playing in the orchestra, not as an excerpt.

If you use a mute (he does) don’t broadcast it.

Don’t double dot because you are afraid of playing a triplet. It’s just math. (Variations on a theme by Haydn)

Piano [the dynamic marking] is a range rather than a level.

I love his suggestion of taking a very small section of a phrase and turn it into an exercise. You really start to hear how inconsistencies. He talks about an audition being about a thousand little consistencies.

I’ll stop now … it’s difficult to listen and blog at the same time! (I lied … I’m adding more.)

27. June 2013 · Comments Off on Marc Lifschey · Categories: IDRS2013

I’m delighted the Peter Cooper just mentioned Marc Lifschey in his Brahms masterclass.


27. June 2013 · Comments Off on TQOD · Categories: TQOD

When [name here] gets NEW Oboe Reed tools in the mail … he is Like a Kid with a Toy NEW:. P

26. June 2013 · 1 comment · Categories: Ramble



Really. It will save you.

W.R.I.S.T. website



26. June 2013 · Comments Off on Here I Am · Categories: Ramble

Yep … so many instruments. Here are some quick iPhone pix …





The photo of the reed maker is of Tanya, from reedpros.com!