Thursday, December 13, 2007

Romance No. 1 (I love you, Schumann)

Because I am out of shape on my oboe the Mozart has been relegated a "reach" piece again and we're taking a little break from it. As my teacher said, it will always be there to work on since it's such a famous piece. In the interim we started working on the first Schumann Romance and I am loving it so far! First and foremost, it has remotivated me to practice. I had NOT been feeling the desire to practice for months now and I am not sure it was entirely due to my pregnancy-induced exhaustion. I think I still was subconsiously frustrated about not really having others to play with because even though I am unofficially part of an orchestra it doesn't really feel as good as it should because I miss most of the rehearsals. But anyway, whatever the reason was I do feel the need to practice every day again (though afore-mentioned exhaustion does get in the way a lot of times). Even if it's not quite happening as much as I'd like I am just happy to have that feeling again.

I think that the Schumann was the perfect piece to help me ease back into playing "real music". After being out of practice so long my embouchure had shifted again, affecting my sound and intonation. Before I could really start working on that piece I *HAD* to work on getting a better sound again. It's such a beautiful, deceptively simple piece that the sound is a huge part of what makes it. So there was no way I could really start practicing it with what was coming out of my oboe at first. Thankfully it didn't take as long as I thought to regain some of the sound improvements I had made earlier this year. I am still not back to where I was, but the sound is much better than a month ago. Also, intonation improvement came along with the sound improvement (since it was my biting the reed that was mucking up my sound AND tuning). At my previous lesson we talked about opening things up in the jaw and throat and getting the corners of my mouth back to where they should be. All that advice helped a lot.

Another way that the piece helps with sound and intonation is through the wide intervals in it. Though it doesn't sound technically challenging, it's quite difficult to in terms of dynamics, breath control, and phrasing. These are all things that I am enjoying working on because at least the pace of this piece is not as fast and furious as in the Mozart.

We went through the entire piece at my lesson this past Monday and it went better than expected. I hope it continues to improve for next week. :-)

Yay, I am playing again!!!!!!!

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