Monday, August 08, 2005


I've been meaning to write about the lesson I had on July 31st. But it's been so crazy with work and all the other stuff going on. I now have 3 weeks left here. Also, my husband's younger sister arrived last Friday. She's going to be living with us now that she's ready to start college. I was busy with her travel plans and her school applications and financial aid stuff. Her school stuff is almost completely settled now. I just need to take a day off soon to go down with her to the school to finish everything off. Lastly we've been squeezing a bunch of social stuff into the calendar because once I start school in September I might have to disappear from the social scene for a bit.

Anyway, my last lesson was really wonderful! I had such a good time and learned so much again. We started with reeds which I actually didn't do all that well with. My teacher kind of chuckled at my attempts. I thought I had taken off enough cane but I was actually quite far from a finished reed. I need to stop being scared of scraping. We might be meeting on Wednesday and I need to finish scraping one of the reeds from last week and to make another new one. I'm starting to run out of materials again. I will have to make one last big purchase from RDG while I still have an income. She wants me to make at least 2 reeds a week. Gosh, that's a lot!

After that we started to work on embouchure. My embouchure has gotten much better and reliable and so my teacher said that the last thing I need to work on is my chin. I had always read about the whole "flat chin" thing but never quite understood it. My teacher explained it some but I still don't think I have it. I will have to go over it again when I next see her.

After that we did some scales. I was very happy because my intonation was quite good throughout the lesson. I asked her about why G is sometimes unresponsive. She liked all the questions I had this time. And I was happy to know that it wasn't just me who had a problem with the response on G's and F's. We talked about being very open with those lower notes and to think of approaching them from the bottom pitchwise instead of from the top. It was weird because I thought I'd end up being flat but instead what happened was that the response was easier and I was still pretty much in tune. Thinking flatter I guess makes you open up more instead.

We played some scales together. She would either play certain notes before I would or she would hold a tonic drone. In addition to my intonation I was also happy that my sound seemed at least distantly related to hers. Before mine was in another universe. Now I think I'm in her galaxy. My very first lesson my sound was completely horrendous. But this last time when I came in after her it didn't sound completely off. I still have a LONG way to go but I am so happy that now I'm definitely going in the right direction!

So my scales definitely sounded better since I had been paying close attention to my reed position, especially on troublesome notes like A. However, my finger technique needs some work. I knew I hadn't quite worked on that yet so now I need to start to. I like how we stripped things down to the bare minimum and are now adding things back on while still playing just basic stuff. Now when I play real music again I will feel better about what I'm doing.

The last thing we went over was breathing and tension in general. This is another area of improvement for me.

Great lesson. I came out feeling redeemed from the previous one. It seems that I am having one good lesson and then one bad lesson. If my next lesson is in two days I am pretty sure I won't do as well as I wanted to because I actually had to skip practice a couple of days last week. Oh, the horror!!!

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