Friday, September 08, 2006


Well, after almost a four (or five?) year haitus, I've gone back to the oboe. I'm in the process of breaking in my oboe again--as well as trying to retrain my diaphram, my lips, my mouth, and my ear (it is amazing how much Ive lost of my ability to "hear"). I sound like crap right now, but I hope that in a few months I'll maybe sound slightly less frightening.

Oh, and the dude in the painting? That is Marcel Tabuteau, the father of the United States oboe sound.


At 11:41 PM, Anonymous Anna said...

On a scale of riding a bicycle, ballet and/or belly-dancing, NASA-level math skills, and remembering a cookie recipe, where's "re-training myself to play the oboe" land? :)

Good luck with it.

Ya know, in hindsight, I should've known I didn't have a ear (and/or brain) for anything because it took me a very, VERY long time (more than a day) to determine that saying "peepeepeepee..." while sitting on the toilet did not produce the same sound as urinating. In my defense, I was very very young at the time...but still.
*shakes head*

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Well, I've never done ballet, belly-dancing, or NASA math, and I've never tried to remember a cookie recipe (I write them all down), so I can't really make a comparison to any of those. It is definately more involved than riding a bike though.


Embechure-maybe like starting weight training after a long break. I have to re-train my lips and build endurance to hold a very tight embachure for a very long time while remaining relaxed enough that I don't squeeze the reed and cause the pitch to go sharp.
Diaphram-maybe like doing sit-ups after a long break. I have to hold my stomach muscles tight and support the air so my pitch does not go flat.
Endurance- I need to rebuild my (and my oboe's) ability to play continously (or near continusly) for gradually longer periods of time.
Fingering- this is like riding a bike. My fingers remember most everything, but still need to get them up to speed.

Tuning- because I haven't played in so long, I have to re-tune my ear. It tends to be tuned about 10 cents to 15 cents sharp anyway, but by not playing oboe in so long, I've lost my ability to fine-tune (no pun intended) notes.
Air- I have to re-train my mind to control my breathing and the way I think about my breathing (fast air, not a lot of air, inhaling, exhaling, control of air). It is also physical, but I consider it mostly mental.
Focus- slow eight-count cres. decres. excercises over a two octave chromatic scale requires SERIOUS focus (and endurance). And that's not including scales, triads, etc., etc., etc.
Reading music- again, like riding a bike, but parts of it need to be fine-tuned. I need to re-train my brain to hear intervals. I also need to re-train my brain to remember to actually look at the key signature BEFORE I start to play a piece of music (my musician friends are now completely disgusted with me. But I almost always forget/forgot).

There's more--it is a lot of little pieces (and bigger pieces) that need to be remembered or developed or re-developed or re-trained. I'm sure there are many things I've forgotten to include in this list--as well as aspects I've consciously left out (for example, I didn't even touch on reed-making!). But so far it is good to be back on the OBOE. I really missed it.


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