Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My lesson last week

I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to sit down and type something up about my latest lesson. I like to write about them because it's cool to have a record of my progress. Also I try to include some of the insights from the lesson in case I forget them later on.

So we met last Wednesday after nearly a month's break. The first item on the agenda was reeds. My teacher fine tuned two "finished" reeds that I had brought in. I am getting closer at actually finishing them myself but I feel like it will take months, if not years, to hone that skill. Good thing that she helps me out with that. She then made a new reed out of a blank that I had taken in. Sweet.

While the reed making was going on I worked on scales for her. It became apparent that I had acquired a new bad habit: biting! UGH! The nemesis! That came to the surface before I even had a chance to ask her why I'd been playing sharp. I really should have known. I was sort of feeling it but I wasn't sure how to fix it. This all lead into an embouchure discussion. While I have definitely made progress in terms of the corners of my mouth, I still have a ways to go with my "chops". We also discussed the last piece of the embouchure puzzle: the flat chin. I was finally able to feel the muscle that I needed to feel in order to facilitate this. And less we feel tempted to blame my intonation issue on the reed, as soon as I did what she said I was right in tune. Hilda 0, Reed 1.

After that I was a bit frazzled because it was embarrassing to be out of tune in front of my teacher. As I continued with some scales and other technical exercises I was stopping every time I heard myself out of tune. This led to some tough love. My teacher told me I am beyond the point where acknowledging a mistake is an accomplishment, that I must move to the next level which is correcting mistakes in real time. *gulp* I liked when she told me this because it was both an admonishment and a compliment. I realized that I was practicing like that at home too. All stop and go and never playing anything through. No wonder my endurance has taken a nose dive. She said that I need to both: working on trouble areas a few notes at a time AND playing things through. This was good advice because I was starting to feel a bit lost in my practicing. The rest of the lesson I was told things like "stay on the horse", "stay on the pony", "stay behind the wheel", etc. It was pretty funny, but effective too. Instead of rushing to play without being ready I waited a little longer to go in but made sure I kept playing. It felt uncomfortable for me because I still have a lot of intrusive talking going on in my head. This is something I will have to work a lot on.

I asked how my sound was and she kind of laughed at me and said that I knew I sounded better now. I didn't really KNOW know. I kind of felt like it's better because the sounds I am producing are giving me the good feelings that I normally get when I hear oboe playing. But I did want some affirmation from an authority on sound hehe. I was most excited about my sound improving.

Lastly, I was given some real music to play! Several of the pieces are by Gordon Jacob. I hadn't heard of this composer before but I like all of my pieces so far. The writing does remind me of his compatriot Vaughan Williams whom I also like. The best part is that the music isn't too hard for me yet still sounds like nice, real music! In fact I would say that it is just right in terms of the technical and it will allow me to work on expression for the first time. Now that I am playing a bit more dependably I can finally begin to think about that which makes the oboe so special. This should be fun!


oceanskies79 said...

I came by to celebrate your progress. Continue to pursue your dreams.

Brendon said...

Hey there... are you doing the Bagatelles?! Fun pieces, they are! Enjoy, and congratulations on your successes....

Hilda said...

Thanks PY :-)

Actually I'm doing some short pieces called "Interludes".