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 the practice room and do anything productive. I have the constant need to be making reeds, of course, and that works as a fear-motivator par excellence, but it's not enough. I find I'll only really do any driven, focused practice when I'm preparing for a show. That's no good. I know I have technical issues I want to overcome, and they aren't going to get better by working on one exersize every 5 months or so!

So recently I started getting slightly serious about learning to skateboard. I looked up tricks online, decided which one I wanted to learn, went out and learned it, got a bunch of scrapes...looked up a bunch of communities....started setting goals for myself with rewards if I achieved them (new board)....and I realized I was spending 2-4 hours a day skating.

Two to four hours is that lovely round figure that, if I'm practicing the oboe, tells me I'm interested and having fun AND improving (even though I often feel like I'm going backwards during these times, too). And I was only playing the oboe about an hour or so a day....out of guilt and fear of sounding like crap.

So I've started myself a little notebook of goals; weekly and monthly, and I'm already feeling better about going into the room. I have things I have to finish, things I need to start, and the oboe is fun again. I guess those silly educators had something important to say after all.
 

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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hardware malfunctions

February 25, 2012
Seriously low on reeds. Having the dull knife problem again. Ugh. I've also somehow damaged the side of my shaper tip with the razor while shaping cane, so now every time I shape a piece of cane the razor catches and it's super hard not to destroy it. AUGH. Not sure how it happened, but I might have to buy a new shaper tip - it's getting really annoying.

Playing Beethoven 4 tonight - I'm still not sure I like it (which is a horrible thing to say, I know, but it just never grew on me). Usually ...
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Stop being so Afraid and Just Play.

February 11, 2012
Making reeds under the pressure of an upcoming performance is always a little terrifying, but it seems like having a revolving cycle of different stages of reeds takes a little of the fear out of it. I've finally gotten to the point where I'll always have a few blanks, a few profiled and a few nearly finished reeds in my case, and boy does that make it easier to have a reed ready for tomorrow when I need it!

This week my student had a reed crisis at the same time as me; apparently an over enth...
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Fast and Furious February

February 4, 2012
And Suddenly I haven't got a moment to breathe. It's always the same; no work followed by what seems like every single person you know calling you for a show on the same weekend. Reeds are being challenging, too. Sunday is going to have to consist of some very intense reedmaking and practicing because I have at least one rehearsal every day after that until the next Tuesday. Yoiks.

I'm feeling surprisingly good, though, considering I took about three weeks off being sick.

I haven't been teachi...
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Sickness

January 9, 2012
I've been off and on sick for the last couple of months and it's played havoc with my practicing. I'm on my second round of antibiotics for an ear infection that had just enough bite left in it to come back after my most recent brush with the flu. I am going to get the flu shot as soon as I'm well again, but DAMN ear infections are annoying.  If it were just the ear I could probably practice - it sounds really weird (like wearing one ear plug) but at least I could keep in shape and just do so...
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Violin?

December 22, 2011
That's right. For no particular reason, though maybe because I've taken a liking to the poor things, maligned as they are by all who aspire to play them, ignore them, listen to them and even, sometimes, make them, I've taken up learning to produce sounds on the violin.

I really like the violin. I feel like I should be at a WLVA* meeting, or something. Hardly ANYONE I know will admit to liking violins, or their players, or their sound. EVEN people who play them are always "ick, violin!" when pr...
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D'oh, of COURSE!

December 9, 2011
I've been having a lot of reed problems lately, a lot of failed reeds, a lot of unresponsive or hopelessly flat, hopelessly sharp, hopelessly ugly....basically everything was All WRONG and I could NOT for the life of me figure out WHY.

So I took out my old india oil stone and sharpened my knife, then honed it on my ceramic sticks. 

I've only had about an hour of reedmaking time since then and I already have two very promising new reeds. Why is it that I'm always thinking it can't be my knife??

D...
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