Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Still a happy oboist

Hey there!

I feel so sad about having neglected the blog. But things have just been kind of nuts. I just realized today that for the last month or so I've only felt completely well on a handful of days. First I had some kind of stomach virus/food poisoning. Then I had a horrible cold for two weeks. Then I got another bout of food poisoning - the worst ever in my adult life. Now I seem to have a sore throat/flu-like symptoms. I am not any more stressed than usual. In fact, I have been more on top of school than ever. So I am not sure why my immune response is so low. It seems that for some reason I am susceptible to stomach ailments right now and it is those that bring on the other problems. Oh well.

I've managed to maintain my little practice regimen of an hour a day. I really wish I could do more on a consistent basis, but it is really all I can muster right now. I did finally return to the school practice rooms last week and put in 75 minutes one day. It felt so nice and it turned out to be a very productive practice.

I think that the latest stuff that I've been working on is starting to pay off. My teacher had me work on octaves as well as crescendo/decrescendo. When I did these at my lesson today she was pretty happy with the progress. I have to be careful that I always use enough air speed and not try to compensate for lazy air by biting. That being said, my "chops" have definitely gotten stronger. I was able to pull off some decent dynamics. It's really exciting that now my playing is sounding more musical. Oh, and my intonation was quite good today. The only time I played out of tune was when I bit on a B-flat during the octave exercise. Eep. But other than that even when we played a duet it sounded well. She complimented my sound a few times, but other times I wasn't cushioning the reed well enough and was getting a more raw sound. I also got a compliment on a flat chin at one point. YAY! I am so excited that I am getting past some of the embouchure issues that haunted me for months. We are definitely playing more music now at the lessons. In fact she wants me to get a copy of a piece!! This will be my first official piece to study with her. It's the Corelli/Barbirolli Oboe Concerto. All in all it was a good lesson. I showed improvement in the areas I worked on and we found other things to iron out for next time.

So I went to the Imani Winds concert on the 25th. It was really amazing! The setting was very intimate. There were maybe 60 or so in the audience and we were all up on stage with the quintet facing us (their backs to the official seats). They introduced each piece with some information about it and answered questions at the end. It was really wonderful to enjoy great music in this setting. I do love going to the Philharmonic but I must admit that at times it feels overly stuffy. If we're all enjoying the music, why must we act like we're at a funeral? Anyway, Imani Wind's playing was top notch. I especially enjoyed watching and listening to the oboist, Toyin Spellman-Diaz. She has wonderful technique and sound. I went up to her at the end and she was also super friendly and nice. In fact, she even offered me a free lesson! I am a bit nervous but I will definitely take her up on that. It will be so much fun. She's really an inspiration!

Good night :-)


Toni said...

Hi Hilda!

Toni here - I commented on your ABRSM entry, so do email me if you'd like to talk about the exams. My email addy is :)

The slow movement of the Corelli/Barbirolli concerto was on Grade 5 last syllabus, I would have played it if I had taken the exam last term but I hung on for this term so I could play the Cimarosa on the new syllabus instead.

What oboe are you playing on these days? I was very lucky and was able to buy a beautiful Mariguax 901 at the end of last year. Hopefully some day I will be able to play it as it should be played! It is inspiring to have such a lovely instrument.

I'm glad you're still a happy oboist :) So am I!

lots love,
Toni in the UK xxxx

dulciana said...

My blog's been very neglected lately, as has my commenting! I loved this: "If we're all enjoying the music, why must we act like we're at a funeral?" Glad things are going well.

patty said...

Meant to post a while back ... I'm SO jealous that you were able to see/hear Imani. I have two of their CDs and I think it would be great fun to hear them live.

Thomas Oboe Lee said...

Dear Hilda,

I recently completed an oboe concerto: "Persephone and the Four Seasons." The work was premiered last April 30th by the Civic Symphony Orchestra of Boston. Andrew Price, soloist. If you wish, I could send you a recording of the performance.



Thomas Oboe Lee
Departed Feathers Music
9 Remington Street
Cambridge, MA 02138