Friday, August 19, 2005

Water goblins and more

I heard a new piece that I really like on WQXR the other day: The Water Goblin by Dvorak. Lots of great woodwind lines.

Hmm, I'm considering auditing the intro Music History course this semester since I've forgotten all of my formal language. I wish I could speak about the music I'm listening to more intelligently (like back when I was in college). Right now all I can say is "it was nice, I liked it". Before I could talk about themes, expositions, recapitulations, forms, etc. Plus it would be really interesting to study the music now that I'm a studying an orchestral instrument. Though I guess I should just use that time for studying or practicing.

I'm worried about the practice room situation at school. I would be at the very bottom of the priority list during the sign up period. I wonder if I will be able to secure any time at all. Otherwise, I am looking at having to do all my practicing in the evenings like now. I hate giving leaving music for last during the day. I'm already so worn out. I would really like to spread out my practices during the day. But I can't afford to stay home and go into the City later as that would force me to spend extra money. Perhaps I can take the free shuttle bus up to my Mom's some days. Gosh I just hope I still have time to practice. I've been looking at the website for my biology class and it's kind of scary. I'll make the time somehow!

So I registered for the Double Reed Day at Schenectady County Community College. It will be on Saturday, October 8th. I'm quite excited about going up there and hanging out with other reed players. It should be a lot of fun. The best part is that they will have all of us play some pieces together at the recital at the end. I love the idea of playing in a huge ensemble. I can't wait for that. They sent me the music for that. All the arrangements are by Brett Wery.
(1) first oboe - Habanera from Carmen (Bizet). I see a little (but quite high) solo at the beginning but I'm assuming there will be a few of us playing each part. The piece is not too challenging technically, though there is a part in E Mayor (Left handed D# arg!)
(2) second oboe - Normandie from Suite Francaise (Milhaud). It looks innocent enough. It's in 6/8 time which I normally like and in C major. However the tempo marking is dotted quarter note = 138. Umm that is so fast the it feels like 2/4 time instead. A group of three eight notes now feels like fast triplets. Last night I was playing it at about half speed. Today I was able to play the intro at maybe 112 or something. I am not sure this one is going to work. I might inquire about the third oboe part.
(3) third oboe - Dog Day Tango (Wery). This piece is ok technically too. I am not quite sure exactly what the feel should be like, especially in the faster section in the middle. But I'll work to get all the notes in correctly for now.

They will also be playing the Ralph Vaughan Williams Oboe Concerto at the recital. That's one of my favorites! I'm so excited!

I managed to practice an hour each weekday this week. Not great but ok I guess. I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a slump. My embouchure controls me instead of vice versa. My endurance is still crap. My A's are flat on my good reed. I'm doing my scales at the same metronome marking and haven't yet progressed to beyond three flats or sharps. But!!! I think my sound is better so it's all worth it. I mean I did fall in love with the instrument's lovely, expressive sound so any step towards that has to be good. I am really anxious to play with my quartet friends to see if they notice any difference. I hope I'm not imagining it! I always wondered if my own oboe playing would ever have the effect on me that other people's playing does. Almost 9 months since I started I still periodically tear up when listening to really beautiful playing. Either that or I smile broadly. It's just so pleasing to me. So I always wondered if my own playing would be pleasing to me or if it would always be a bit stressful. Well tonight I decided to play just music for fun and I think I got a glimpse of something good. I had a fun time and I liked the sounds I was producing. Maybe it's once you reach that point that you are able to practice for longer periods of time? Another thing I tried tonight once I was relaxed and having fun was vibrato. I am a little worried about the fact that I haven't studied it yet because maybe they will want me to produce it at that Double Reed Day. I tried to imagine singing it as Patty suggested. I tried it on Faure's Pavane melody which I adore. I was unable to produce it in the lower register (the flute part on the orchestrated version) but when I got to the actual oboe part which was in the middle register I managed to produce something which sort of resembled a vibrato. It felt like it was in my stomach at first but then migrated higher up, sort of how Jay Light explains it in his Essays for Oboists. I won't torment myself with studying it for now since I have other things to focus on, but at least I am hopeful that I *will* get it someday.

Another fun thing I did this week was play along with my husband as he was studying from the Hanon book on the piano. We played I think the second scale exercise which starts off with an arpeggio. However, it's not in root position, it's in first inversion. Novel concept! The few times I had ventured into arpeggio territory I played everything in root position. So last night I was struggling because instead of playing E-G-C I'd play E-G-B. I was happy to expose this weakness because now I can work on remedying it. After a few tries all the arpeggios came out easier. The nice thing too is that doing these inversions allows you to focus on different intervals. Getting those fourths in tune is a challenge!

So what else? I tied a reed blank last night and hope to scrape that baby up during the week. I am going to take my time with this one to see if I get better results. I also ordered another batch of reed supplies from RDG.

I wrote to the timpanist of the Bronx Symphony. I wanted to make a friend there but didn't want to bug the oboists just yet. I know, I'm a long way off from being in a real orchestra but I can be a groupie for now. It would be fun to just hang out with people and maybe go to a few rehearsals to watch. I want to see what it will be like someday and to see at what level I'd have to be in order to get into a group like that. That would give me something to strive towards. Anyway she wrote back and I'm hoping to meet her by catching one of her non-Classical gigs next month.

I'm anxious to meet with my teacher again. I feel a bit directionless right now. Hopefully when the Summer is over we'll fall into a more regular routine.

Hmmm, for some reason I just started worrying about whether working as a dentist will tire out my hands too much to play oboe. It better not!!

Time to go sleepy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Help me Dude, I'm lost.

I was searching for Elvis and somehow ended up in your blog, but you know I'm sure I saw Elvis in the supermarket yesterday.

No honest really, he was right there in front of me, next to the steaks singing "Love me Tender".

He said to me (his lip was only slightly curled) "Boy, you need to get yourself a shiny, new plasmatv to go with that blue suede sofa of yours.

But Elvis said I, In the Ghetto nobody has a plasma tv .

Dude I'm All Shook Up said Elvis. I think I'll have me another cheeseburger then I'm gonna go home and ask Michael Jackson to come round and watch that waaaay cool surfing scene in Apocalypse Now on my new plasma tv .

And then he just walked out of the supermarket singing. . .

"You give me love and consolation,
You give me strength to carry on "

Strange day or what? :-)