Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A bit of a slump

Soon as I posted all my wonderful goals for my second year of oboe playing I ran into a week of finals and then a nasty slump (or was the slump a result of the week of finals). During the finals craziness I was unable to practice every day and when I did I could only go for about 30 minutes or so. I think I was too stressed out perhaps. Then once finals were over I felt too tired to "work" on practicing. Plus I had fallen out of habit and it felt a bit like starting over again.

So the last two weeks were hit or miss until tonight when I finally forced myself (with the help of the hubby) to resume my old practice habits. I got a good hour plus in and was feeling so much better by the end of it. My sound didn't suffer tremendously from the craziness of the last few weeks but my fingers did feel a bit stiff and my embouchure tired easily. Maybe in a way this is a good thing. Maybe I will finally forget my old, wrong, smiley embouchure.

I've tried to keep a positive outlook regarding reeds but I feel that I must mention them as being at least partly at fault for my slump. I don't have a single good reed right now! I had been using one that my teacher made me in October and it is now officially dead. I should take a picture of it, it's pretty funny. It kept playing even though it was almost completely frayed. The ones that I started are all mediocre even though my teacher helped me finish them off. I think I was supposed to make further adjustments. Or perhaps I am tying them wrong. Today I ended up resurrecting my previous "wonder" reed. It has problems with some of the low notes and with the high A, but most everything else sounds nice and in tune. If I had had a nice reed during the last few weeks practicing could have been a nice outlet for me. I could have gone downstairs and just played a few tunes and called it a day. However, I knew that I had to contend with 10 bad reeds. How much fun is that when you're worried about synthesizing alkyl halides or transcription errors? I think I avoided the instrument partly because of the reed problem. Because I knew I would get frustrated which is exactly what happened each time I played. Our instrument is sooooooo beautiful when the reed just does what it's supposed to do. Why can't they all be wonder reeds?? *sniff sniff*

But anyway, now that I am no longer stressed out I was able to be more positive again and I tackled my fear and faced it and it wasn't half bad. Yes, I still have no good reeds, but I am still able to get some practicing in until I meet with my teacher on Saturday.

So guess what I will be doing tonight while I watch House?? Ding, ding, ding, 10 points for you if you guessed that I'll be tying new reeds.


dulciana said...

I hope your reed tying session went well! Merry belated Christmas!

patty said...

What can I say that you don't already know, Hilda? Reeds are a pain! Some are great reed makers. I am not. So I play well on bad reeds. Somehow.

I remember reading a story about some well known oboist. It might have been Marc Lifschey, but for some reason I think it was someone else. (He WAS known as a horrible reed maker, though.) A colleague looked at and even played the reed this player was going to use for a concert. Both the reed owner and the teller of the story could see the reed was simply horrible. Neither could play it well. But when the concert came the oboist managed to play so beautifully on it. I've experienced this too. I'm not sure how or why this happens, but it does! Sometimes I'll get home and try the reed again and it'll be back to awful. Sigh.

Anyhoo, hope the reed tying went well, and that you are managing to get something to work for you!

oceanskies79 said...

hope you find ways to make the reed work for you, and may you find a reed that would help bring out a beautiful tone.