January 27, 2021

Very nice to hear you play! Best of luck with your recording!

General Comments

  • Embouchure:
    • Your basic embouchure looks good from what I can see, but some ideas that have helped me in the past are:
      • embouchure
        • place the reed on the lower lip and roll the lip inwards slightly to cover your teeth
        • surround the reed with your lips as though you are going to whistle, or drink through a straw 
        • the lips are rolled in, and cushion the reed
        • keep the lips sealed around the reed - think about making a circle with your lips
        • When you need to apply pressure to bring the pitch up or play softer, try to tighten the corners of your embouchure (the sides of the circle) this allows the reed to keep vibrating, as opposed to when we clamp down on the whole reed, causing it to close
  • Air support
    • Your airstream should always be supported by you core muscles when you play, but don't tense up - you need to be able to take in a big breath and your whole body should expand with that breath
    • to increase your lung capacity, try taking a big breath in, then a little more air in, then hold it for a few seconds
    • breath out in a controlled fashion with your oboe embouchure formed and your core muscles keeping the air speed steady
    • when all the air is out of your lungs, try to force a tiny bit more out, then allow yourself to full fill your lungs again
    • repeat several times - this also works as a great stress reliever
  • Tonguing
    • work on light staccato by tonguing the beginning of the note and letting it go to air (keep your core muscles supportive - you can pulse a little if you want to accent the notes, but you should be able to do this without pulsing your core muscles)
    • Try to play light staccato notes faster this way - you are just flicking the reed with your tongue as you go faster - practice on one note
  • Reeds
    • you're producing a good sound on this reed, even if it's old - try to get more from the same supplier
    • If you plan on studying oboe seriously and/or freelancing as a musician on oboe, you will need to make your own reeds - but many people learn this skill in university or college, so it is not necessary to learn now

Excerpts:

Short excerpt 

  • Try to find out what this is from and listen to the piece if possible - it will help you make it more musical
  • there is only one dynamic from the beginning until the 5/8 -  but that doesn't mean you can't put in some crescendos/decresendos
    • typically as the notes go up it's common to crescendo, and descrescendo as you go down - try it and see if you like it - if you don't, don't do it!
  • Practice counting out loud after rehearsal marking G in 4/4 and then switch to the 5/8 - you played so much more rhythmically right after you did this in our lesson!
  • Use a metronome to bring this up to speed slowly - you're not that far below it so it should be possible to play it at 72
    • Each time you make a fingering mistake, take the tempo down by 2 clicks
    • Each time you play it with no mistakes, take the tempo up by one click
    • Work in small sections - even just 2 notes back and forth - make it easy, then add another note - this is my go to method for learning to play things fast

Albinoni

Have a quick read about Albinoni here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomaso_Albinoni

Listen to the video below to get an idea for some of the ornamentation that can be added, and the style !

  • This does need to go around 80 to 88 - I would practice it in small sections, bringing it up to speed with the metronome
  • Try to start at the end of the movement and work backwards to avoid the common problem of knowing the beginning really well and then coming to the end as though you have never seen it before :)
  • For your dynamics:
    • Put a metronome on 60 beats per minute
    • play a 1 octave scale (any scale) where each note is 12 beats long (3 bars in 4/4 time) 
    • start as softly as you possibly can
    • GRADUALLY crescendo to the 3rd beat of the second bar (for 6 beats)
    • Gradually decrescendo to the end of the 12 beats 
    • move to the next note and do the same thing
  • If you don't have time for the above exercise, simply hold a note and crescendo to your LOUDEST fortissimo, then ever so slowly decresendo to piannissimo - hold the pianissimo! then practice re-starting at that same soft dyamic
  • Pay attention to what you change physically when something goes well, and do it again!
  • I think it is worth putting in the trills that you can, but take care that they don't cause you to lose rhythm, as it is always more important than ornamentation

Once you are starting to feel comfortable throughout the whole movement at a slow tempo - try to play it all the way through - the focus will be different - try to keep going even if you make a mistake.