Cracking

November 16, 2018
It seems the fate of oboists to be haunted by cracks. I'm gradually getting better at checking the instrument before assuming that I have just turned into a terrible oboist who can't tune to save her life...but I definitely failed this time. I believe my oboe has been cracking since October, when I foolishly played for around 10 minutes in an unheated practice space before realizing how cold it was (I had just come in from outside, and felt warm).

All the symptoms were there:
  • my low notes felt resistance, course, and FLAT
  • My top notes were weird and sharp
  • my midrange was unpredictable (THIS really should have been a tell) 
  • None of my reeds felt vibrant enough
  • Notes all over weren't speaking.
Unluckily, this crack fell in a really busy playing time for me, where I had rehearsals or performances every evening and little to no time to practice or sit down calmly with my instrument. When I did realize (finally) I ended up renting an instrument while mine was repaired (a Lorée as well, from L&M amazingly), which was unfortunately too new for the amount of reed making and playing I had to do...it cracked between the trill keys mid show...and I apologetically "fixed" it with nailpolish out of desperation.

 I returned the Lorée, and rented a lined Yamaha 440 - and was shocked at the difference. I've been seriously spoiled by my instrument. The  scale is even...but it felt...dull, and the top notes wouldn't sing. It might be that my reed making doesn't agree with it, but I was not impressed. Although I had planned to play the rest of my musical shows on the replacement yamaha because the pit was cold and I feared re-cracking, I ended up playing on my own instrument because I just couldn't handle the sound of the intermediate yamaha; luckily the orchestra loft was fairly warm that night.

I have been looking into some possibilities for colder venue instruments though - ideally they would sound as good as my instrument, but we will see! One article I ran into was very thorough and I highly recommend anyone facing the same issues (oboists, all of us, probably) have a look: Stopping a Crack Habit before it starts

I would love to try the LAMI oboes by Josef, and am curious about Buffet's new Orfeo, but will probably just try to get some lined top joints for my current instruments for now.
 

Halloween Etc.

October 25, 2018


Somehow I have a rehearsal or concert every day from October 30th to November 4th, and only single day breaks after that until the 17th of November. No trick or treating for me I guess. The first rehearsal and sitzprobe for Oklahoma have passed...I think it will be a fun run, but I forgot how cramped pits (or in this case, loft) are for musicals. Gah. 

The singers are lovely, and I wish I could watch them! I need to go to more musicals that I'm not playing in!


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refuelling

February 22, 2015
It has been a bit of a tough time adjusting to working full time while still trying to keep up some kind of practice regimen. I tend to fall into a downward spiral of guilt culminating in late night internet manga and netflix binges. 

I forget, repeatedly, that the best way to restart the desire to play music is to listen to music. I've been lucky enough to get to see not one, but two operas this past month, and tonight had the treat of possibly the most wind-centric concert I've ever attended...
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Check the dates FIRST!

November 17, 2014
I've recently moved to Toronto, which was huge. I sold all my stuff that I could possibly part with and shipped the rest via greyhound. That was June, I think. It's what, November, now? and I'm only just getting my feet under me again. It's been super hard keeping practicing, to the point where if I pick up the oboe at all it's a success.

However! I'm finally feeling like I can breathe again, and needed a way to get my practice routine back - and viola! (not an actual viola...that'd be...cruel...
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Reed Purgatory

November 29, 2013
Oh, but my reeds are Terrible this month. I have been spending wayyy more time on them with wayyy less impressive results. The more I work the worse they sound and the worse I feel. It's a sneaky hate spiral of Oboe proportions.

There is, at least, two common problems:

-that awful shrieking in the high notes
- horrid flat and kazoo-like tendencies.

Must run now. Will brainstorm solutions/troubleshoot later.

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OperaFeHk

November 2, 2013
OperaFeHk is gearing up to do a show on November 30th again. I'm both terrified and excited (and mildly alarmed that I've become rather used to this particular mix of emotions).

The amount of fiddly details involved in pulling this show together each year always astounds me - I never meant to become involved with (what has really become) an opera company. You'd think the name would have alerted me to Grimey's plans, but I can be a little dense sometimes.

Singers. Actors. SINGERS WHO ARE ALSO AC...
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Who needs goals??

August 15, 2013
You know how they tell you to set goals in highschool? In university? At work? You know how you always rolled your eyes and thought 'I don't need to set goals, I work hard, I know what I want and I'm self motivated'?

Yeah. We were wrong. Lazy brain loves fooling us into not getting things done, that's for sure. I mean, yes, I work hard, and yes, to a certain extent I've always got some internal idea of what I want but...

Well, to be honest, lately I've struggled with having a reason to get into...
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Yes, it's the little things.

September 29, 2012
I've recently started a program at BCIT which involves me getting up at 5:30am every weekday. It's amazing what it's done to my productivity! Suddenly, although I have way more to do, I'm producing way more reeds, practicing more and feeling deliciously alive.

Don't listen to anyone who tells you to slow down and do less when you're doing things you love. Do as much as you can (and sometimes you can do more than you think!)

I have TWO delightful reeds and a bunch of okay ones. Such bliss!

Now I...
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Fear is the mind killer.

August 7, 2012
For a really long time I've wanted to compose music. Why didn't I? Well, I kind of did, a little, when I was smaller and didn't really play an instrument. My friend Sarah and I wrote songs about shoes and mud and people we knew...and accompanied ourselves with the one chord I knew on guitar and usually pots and pans. It was great.

Then I started learning music. I've always been super eager to do well at things and usually end up being pretty mediocre. I applied myself and kept sort of waiting ...
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No more excuses.

April 14, 2012
There's this thing that happens when I go for too long without playing with other people. I start to hate how I sound. It creeps into my reedmaking and pretty soon I'm not happy with anything and I'm ruining what might've been perfectly good reeds with stupid anti-perfectionism.

 I'm playing with Sinfonia this weekend, and the rehearsal was very nice, even though I don't really like my reeds I still felt alright...although I was getting a lot more water in my keys than I was expecting. It's am...
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