Thursday, April 14, 2005

Darn little half hole

I had my lesson today instead of tomorrow because I'm meeting a friend tomorrow (my friend from CA will be in town).

The lesson was 30 minutes today. I asked my teacher if he could make me a reed because I really didn't want to be dealing with my dying reed near the end of my school semester. Also I have two oboes coming in for trial and I wanted to test them on a decent reed. My teacher gave me one of his that is really nice compared to WR2. The sound on it is decent and it responds well in all registers. My intonation on this reed is the best it has been. I need to learn how to make my own reeds like that! I am going to use his as a sample when I start making reeds again soon. Did I already talk about the reed I tried making this weekend? I kind of killed its heart trying to elongate the tip. Doh!

So I played the first and second movements of the Telemann concerto at the lesson. There's been definite improvement over last week's sight reading of it. But my D's and E-flat's came out messy due to my missing the half hole sometimes. I've been ordered to focus on cleaning that up. I know how to do it correctly but I think that in the process of trying to get through a piece I forget or get lazy and start cheating or something. I consciously worked on it during my practice today to try to instill the feel of it in me. Crossing that break was a pain on the sax too from what I remember.

I felt a little bad after my lesson because of the messy playing but after I got home and practiced a bit I felt better. I went back to my Gekkeler book to some exercises involving the D break and forked F. It was nice to practice from there because now I remember how just a few months ago I was struggling with those exercises and couldn't even get to the end of a line without needing a break. I was able to play the beginning exercises cleanly and quicker.

That's what's so cool about music. If you put in your dues you get results and at the same time there is always a new challenge.


Patty said...

Hi HIlda!

Ah yes ... the pesky half hole. But you're doing the right thing; just take those exercises slowly and "metronome" them up as you are able.

What about left F? Though? I hope you're doing that instead of forked F whenever possible.

This is your friendly neighborhood oboist ... IM me sometime! :-)

Happy Oboing to You!

Hilda said...

Hi Patty! Nice hearing from you!

I'm going to definitely keep working on these half hole exercises. I think I have a tendency to tense up as I approach those notes and that's not helping matters.

Ahh, left handed F. Now that you mention it, I really need to use it more than I have been. The oboe I played on for my first two months did not have the left handed F. So even though this one does, I've gotten used to forked F. I need to get out of that habit pronto. The nice thing is that some of the music I'm working on now is forcing me to use it. So I hope that it becomes second nature soon.

Happy Oboing to you too! :D

Patty said...

Hilda, I didn't have a left F for about four years, at the beginning of my oboe playing years. I began oboe in the late 60's. I STILL suffer for not having one way back then. can you believe it?

Does your teacher teach the pivoting movement for half hole, or the sliding? I've heard of both methods. I'm a "pivoter" or "rocker" myself. Heh ... I used to call it "rock or roll" to my kiddos!

Hilda said...

He's definitely a pivot/rocker guy. He's pretty much against any sliding motion. I usually don't slide (unless I forgot to open the half-hole). I think my problem is that I don't pivot enough. Sometimes I overcompensate and either end up moving other fingers out of whack or end up not covering the half hole back for later notes.

I tried to play close attention to that finger during the recital I went to on Sunday. Most of the performers seemed to have a hinge on that finger. They were all using a rocking kind of motion which did not depend on wrist movement or anything else.

My husband noticed something semi-related over the weekend. I think I was going down from either G or F# to that middle D (the half hole one). He noticed that I was putting down my right hand fingers in a sort of cascade, rather than putting them all down at the same time. The interval would sound right sometimes but not consistently. I had been thinking it was some air support thing for some reason and it wasn't until he pointed that out that I realized that I was indeed "fanning" my fingers. For some reason I was trying to be dainty or something. I think I've been overcautious and scared to break the instrument maybe. Instead, I need to be a bit more aggressive with my fingering so that I can be quicker and neater. Everything has to happen at the same time. And you're right that the best way to practice is to do it all very slowly until I get the feel for it. :-D

Hope to be back on IM soon! I've been having some trouble with it at work. See ya!