In a little less than 3 weeks I will have been playing the oboe for 2 years. Can you believe it? I certainly can't. Because I can no longer imagine my life without the oboe, it feels as though I have been playing a lot longer. However, some days when I am working mostly on only "basic" stuff I feel as though I am still very much a beginner. I think that the reality is that I am somewhere in between; it's probably safe to say that I am firmly entrenched in the "intermediate" category. Considering the reputation my instrument has for being difficult, I guess I've progressed well in 2 years' time. What's even better is that I am still completely in love with the oboe. Even more so than before if that's possible. I have my moments where I feel discouraged, but all I have to do is listen to a few recordings and I am reinspired and re-energized. Hearing the oboe or EH still puts a huge smile on my face and makes my eyes well up. Every day I thank God for it because it has changed my life for the better forever.
I realized over the course of the last week that this upcoming year's theme will be control. At this point I have at least touched on all the basics. The goal now will be to gain control of them so that I am in control of my playing. I have to get to the point where I know what will be coming out of my instrument at all times. Right now I may try to play pp, but it might turn out a little louder than expected. Or I may get no sound at all. I spent a lot of this past year on my intonation so that major area is my best one. This coming year I need to spend more time on breathing/air flow, vibrato, sound, and dynamics. Oh, and reed making of course. At least I am starting to see some progress with the reeds. The one I took into my lesson yesterday was my best looking reed yet. She had to work on it some but they are turning out better and better. I took a picture of my new reed corner and will share it with you once I get it to the computer. I'm convinced that creating a comfortable place for me to work on reeds at is part of what's helping me improve.
I am excited about this coming year because I think that at the end of it I will finally be making some really beautiful music. At that point, hopefully I can really start to work on the repertoire, both etudes and solo pieces. Maybe at some point next year I will finally find a nice group to play regularly with.
Speaking of which, my bassoonist friend called me recently and is interested in restarting the quartet. I don't want to get up my hopes too much, but so far this has been the only group I've been happy in (aside from my duet buddies). Apparently he has a project with a Brazilian singer where we'd be accompanying her on some Villa-Lobos music. I think that means it will be hard! We might also prepare some more modern quartet pieces. I'll rejoice about it when it actually happens.
For now I guess I have to put up with well-meaning but clueless arrangers. My husband got invited to a church concert by an ambitious arranger. He even wrote in some parts for oboe. But then he forgot to show up to the rehearsal last week. And the papers are a mess. The rehearsal was another complete fiasco. The concert is this coming Saturday. I am not sure if I will bother participating or not because at this point it will probably end up just being my husband on piano. All the brass and wind players were very discouraged and will probably not show up to the concert.
I have another lead on a possible group, but have to look into it first.
The good thing is that tomorrow I meet up with my new duet buddy. We were supposed to be a trio but that didn't work out. I should get to play some more EH again tomorrow. WOOOOOT! I came *this* close to buying a Fox EH that a friend of J's was selling. But then I decided to hold off because I really didn't want to use up my entire savings and because I figured I should just keep focusing on oboe for now. I'll have one soon enough :-)