Friday, June 03, 2005

Dawning of a new day

A new day is dawning for little Luna and me. We had an auspicious meeting with Jackie yesterday. We had a nice talk about reeds and she fixed mine up. And you know how I've been complaining about my sound and feeling weird about my embouchure? Well, she heard me play one note and knew immediately what the cause of my problems is. Indeed my embouchure is not "circular" enough and she explained how I can better achieve that.

Well it turns out that the reed I was using before, the one I played on for nearly two months, is the likely root of the problem. She looked at it and found several imperfections with it that caused it to be a very flat reed. She said she wouldn't have allowed a student to play on it at all. So most likely that's why I started taking on some bad habits (biting, not bringing in the corners of my mouth) to bring the thing up to pitch. No wonder my technique has improved and my sound hasn't.

I'm a little sad that I hurt myself unknowingly for months but am glad that I found out now and not later. I am so happy that I had the balls to contact her. I *knew* I needed someone else to look at what I was doing.

We hope to meet a few times over the summer to work on reeds and embouchure. I have full confidence that she will set me on the right path. I think we think in a similar fashion and this will help me advance quicker in regards to reed making and correcting my sound.

Coincidentally I got home last night to correspondence from Mannes. It turns out that their Extension Division has what I've been looking for!

First we'll start with this:
Chamber Music
Schedule: 2 hours weekly
Length: 15 weeks - 1 semester
Credits: 2.0 credits

The Alaria Chamber Ensemble.
[The Alaria Chamber Ensemble is The Mannes Extension Division Ensemble in Residence.]Instrumentalists and singers work on techniques of playing in small groups. The first session is an open audition to determine placement. Groups of all levels -- beginners to advanced -- are formed. Repertoire includes music from the Renaissance to Contemporary.

And then work up to this:
The Mannes Community Orchestra
Schedule: 2 hours weekly
Length: 15 weeks - 1 semester
Credits: 1.0 credit

Sight-reading and study of the symphonic and operatic literature; audition and commitment to rehearsals is required; the Conductor of the Mannes Community Orchestra evaluates performance abilities of all new students during Orchestra auditions and determines if he/she is qualified to participate in performances.

I knew that somewhere in this big, beautiful City I grew up in there HAD to be a way that I could PAY to PLAY! And did you see? The Chamber people take beginners!!! Once I fix my sound I am soooooooooo there. And the orchestra will have me studying symphonic literature. Oooo. Aaah. Do you Mannes people want a kidney too with my tuition payment? I just want to dance thinking of the day that I will be part of all that!

I am so silly about this that for two nights in a row I'm dreamt that I'm at orchestral rehearsals. Little old me. The night before last I was the only oboist who showed up and by default the principal. Just like in that other dream a month ago my reed completely broke right before I was supposed to go in. This time it disintegrated in my hand! I think this is a sign that I need to get serious about reed making pronto. Then last night I was at a rehearsal again. But this time I didn't quite make it to my seat. People were just walking around getting prepared for it, putting music on the stands. I may have been chatting to other musicians or maybe just staring and taking everything in. I woke up before anything cool (like music making) happened though. It would be nice if I could actually get to play in one of these dreams. At this rate I might actually get to play in real life sooner!

For all those of you who know me, and those who don't, I've NEVER wanted anything more than I want this (playing in an orchestra). If I had ever wanted medicine this way I would have been half way through residency by now. THIS (how I feel about music) is how I want to feel about my career stuff. I know plenty of premeds who feel this kind of passion. Hey, I'd even settle for 25% of this feeling. But unless I can get to that level I will NOT commit myself to (medicine) and will look for other career alternatives. I'm just so happy and feel so fortunate to have found a passion (music). Even if it's not something I can live off, at least it's something I can live for.


dulciana said...

Sounds like the chamber music program is perfect! I hope you get to realize your dream!

Hilda said...

I am hoping that I'll be able to check it out come January. By then I will have a full year's playing under my belt and hopefully a better sound. Also I want to give my friend Rufi time to see if his orchestra project will work since if it does I will feel committed to helping him.

Have a great weekend. :-)