Saturday, April 22, 2006

Baroque-y Me

When I think back at the time when I was trying to decide whether to play oboe or clarinet I remember that one of my perceived cons for the oboe was that a lot of its literature is from the Baroque era. It's not that I didn't like Baroque music. It simply wasn't my favorite.

So now I am working on my very first real piece with my teacher and it's Corelli's Concerto for Oboe and String. And guess what? I had a grand old time today working through the gavotta, which is arguably the most "baroque-y" sounding of the movements. I was very surprised at how I seemed to get into the feeling of the piece without really trying. For some reason I always thought that it would be unnatural to play in that style. But I think the instrument lends itself quite well to it which explains why they wrote so many oboe concertos in those days. Tada!

I am glad I proved myself wrong because now I have a ton of pieces to look forward to playing.

I wonder how it will go on Wednesday when I play it for my teacher. I haven't told her yet that I got the music. I am trying to work through it as much as I can to surprise her at the lesson. The piece is just at my level technique-wise. Not too easy yet the challenging parts are all things I can work through slowly. The range is pretty comfortable too. It does have some extreme notes but they are not troubling me. What I need to work on most is intonation and articulation. Oh and dynamics. For some reason I am still not back to where I was before my flu in terms of dynamics control. I was able to play softer than I am now. Maybe it's the reeds?

At one point tonight I realized that I've come really far in the past year. At this point last year I was still struggling with everything. Well, I guess I still am. But now I sound like an oboe. One without vibrato yet though. Hahah. It will all come in due time. It's really fulfilling to be able to work on real music and play it closely in tune and with some semblance of musicality. I think I've gotten to a point where the practice is reinforcing itself. Before I'd be almost afraid to practice because I didn't want to find out how bad I'd be playing that day. For a while one thing would get better while three others would get worse. So on any given day I had no idea what would come out of the instrument. At least now I am consistent. I know what I need to work on and when I practice the next day I usually don't feel that I am playing worse. I guess I had hit a plateau and am now on a new rising curve. It must be because my embouchure is finally closer to a real oboe embouchure.

I have another lesson Wednesday so I will definitely be writing about my preparations for that and the lesson itself. I have to make 2 reeds and am procrastinating on it. My scraping technique has been faulty lately. I keep making my tips uniformly too thin (instead of being slightly thicker in the center and thinning out towards the side). This creates a very raucous sounding reed which even after professional adjustment are barely good enough for doing long tones. I'm happy though because right now I'm still playing on the reed my teacher lent me for the Beethoven. It has a nice sound and I can control the pitch (but not the dynamics) better on it.

Off to listen to some music before calling it a night.

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