29. October 2015 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

… about the Poulenc Trio for oboe, bassoon and piano:

Their instrumentation brings in new colors, with the high oboe, the low sounds of the bassoon and the piano playing in between.

Well there you go. 😉

29. October 2015 · Comments Off on A Mozart Afternoon · Categories: MozartMusicMatters™

I just need a little Mozart. How about you?

Lucas & Arthur Jussen playing Piano Duo Sonata K.521: I. Allegro

29. October 2015 · Comments Off on Sometimes I Miss The Mark · Categories: Teaching

For the most part teaching brings me great joy. I love working with students, including those with less ability. It’s a bit of a challenge, really, to find out what will get them to work harder, catch on to something they struggle with (rhythm, articulation, intonation … the list is long!), and I do find that energizing much of the time. Working with the more advanced, ability-filled students is wonderful too, although even that comes with challenges.

But sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fail miserably, and sometimes it’s just that I know I never managed to get a student to work at his or her full potential.

A few years back I had a student who played well, but I just felt something wasn’t quite all there. The playing was pretty accurate, although there were a few surprising simple mistakes. After a number of lessons I pulled out some sight reading for the student.

The sight reading was played just as well as the assigned lesson!

Ah-hah! That student had managed to get by merely by sight reading lessons. A good sight reader can often do that. There were a few rare occasions after that where I could tell something had actually received attention but, for the most part, I do believe lessons continue in sight reading mode. I am going to bet that student, now in college, no longer plays oboe OR has finally learned that one can’t sight read through life. I’m hoping it’s the latter, because I think she found oboe to be an enjoyable thing to do.

I highly recommend that teachers out there occasionally check in with a student and hand over a little sight reading that is at the same level as the students’ assignments. You might be surprised and learn that your students, too, are just getting by on their innate talent.

Other students who don’t have the sight reading skill (at least not yet) try to get through lessons while barely looking at the music during the week. How to motivate those students is a challenge. I’m up to it with most of them: there can be ways to encourage a student to practice. There can even be ways to cajole them into it. It takes a lot of effort sometimes, but I know that every student can improve if we can find the right “key” to get them motivated!

Music is hard work. Oboe is a difficult instrument. It takes time, diligence, desire, and a whole lot of stubbornness! It also takes good practice habits and, in my opinion, a good teacher.

29. October 2015 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: Quotes

I can whistle almost the whole of the Fifth Symphony, all four movements, and with it I have solaced many a whining hour to sleep. It answers all my questions, the noble, mighty thing, it is “green pastures and still waters” to my soul. Indeed, without music I should wish to die. Even poetry, Sweet Patron Muse forgive me the words, is not what music is. I find that lately more and more my fingers itch for a piano, and I shall not spend another winter without one. Last night I played for about two hours, the first time in a year, I think, and though most everything is gone enough remains to make me realize I could get it back if I had the guts. People are so dam lazy, aren’t they? Ten years I have been forgetting all I learned so lovingly about music, and just because I am a boob. All that remains is Bach. I find that I never lose Bach. I don’t know why I have always loved him so. Except that he is so pure, so relentless and incorruptible, like a principal of geometry.

Edna St. Vincent Millay