I have a new mantra now as I'm playing: Good air, good air, good air . . .
I sort of came up with this revelation on my own and then it has been more than substantiated through all the books and websites I've been reading and my past lessons. Before I never understood why the oboe was always likened to the human voice and all this talk about singing through your instrument. Finally I understand that the air really is everything. It's the entire reason why any sound comes out of the darn instrument. I was always blowing wimpy air into it before, being so preoccupied with everything else: notes, fingering, intonation, etc. Yet, a lot of those problems were being created by poor air support. Or at least were being made worse. I've completed my first week back at practicing every day and the main focus all those day was improving my support. Second main focus was regaining my embouchure and endurance.
Today was my first rehearsal of the new year and it went quite a lot better than previous rehearsals. I had the chops to last until the end of the rehearsal w/o fatigue. My intonation was better. I projected better. I think my sound was better overall. I even read well! We practice Copland's "Little Horses" and there was this funky syncopated part where I was pretty exposed but I actually was pretty close to nailing it. So proud!! We also revisited Mahler's Kindertotenlieder No.1, which I really love for the beautiful sad melodies. As a whole the group sounded better on it and I think I am slightly more expressive than before. I really want to do it justice. I tried not to worry so much about technique and to focus on the air and line and I think this created a better performance from me.
I'm so elated right now. It's always such a high to play in the orchestra but today I think I really pulled my weight. I owe it all to regular practice. Boy, what a difference it makes. The only downside to this is going to be that my reeds will not last as long. *gulp* Ka-ching!