Sunday, June 24, 2012

Advanced Oboe Institute

As I mentioned in my last post, I had the privilege of attending some of the Advanced Oboe Institute classes during prep week here at Interlochen. This was my first time seeing Elaine Douvas in action, and all of the wonderful things that I had heard about her are true.

The first class I attended was a roundtable discussion about college auditions and beyond, which was led by both Ms. Douvas and Mr. Stolper. While class was underway, campus was placed on a severe thunderstorm warning. The lights kept flickering on and off, which made for a very interesting atmosphere. A few key points from the discussion:

  • Keep an audition notebook. Make lists of the schools you plan to visit and apply, as well as their repertoire requirements. Write down your thoughts and impressions. Get organized by keeping everything in one place!
  • Multiple day workshops, like the Advanced Oboe Institute or the John Mack Oboe Camp, give students a much better idea of someone’s style of teaching than an hour long sample lesson.
  • Never take an audition without your teacher’s blessing. If you don’t do a reputable job, the committee will look up who you are!
  • In auditions, they are looking for someone who is teachable. It has been said that great actors can be made out of anyone. It’s the same principle.
  • You could put everything into the oboe and come out with nothing. Think of every possible way that you could have a life in music and not set your sights on one of those orchestra jobs.
  • You can get a year’s worth of work done in the summer when you don’t have to worry about classes. Take advantage of it!
Other classes throughout the week covered solo repertoire, etudes (Barret, Ferling, and Vade Mecum), orchestral excerpts, and, of course, reed making. Like my posts about the John Mack Oboe Camp, I’ll narrow it down to the ten biggest things that I took away from class:

·        The two axioms of music are to delay crescendos and to delay decrescendos. Move all dynamics to the right to avoid doing anything too soon.
·        If Barret was smart enough to write the book, he was smart enough to know what dynamics he wanted. Don’t change them!
·        You must learn to phrase within the tempo.
·        Make a list of things that would make you sound as a singer sings, and incorporate them into your playing.
·        A slur is not a phrase mark – it just tells you when to tongue, like it tells a violinist when to lift the bow.
·        The big rule of mixed articulation is that all notes must be equally heard.
·        Sound like a wind instrument, not a lip instrument.
·        Think of something you know to learn something you don’t.
·        Playing should have the same inflections as speech. Don’t deny the natural curve of the music.
·        The subtext of your warm up should be that this is fun, this is easy, and I can’t wait to play for you!

My next post will talk about training and prep week in the ensemble library. But now, it’s time to enjoy my first day off in a week and a half! Well, after a few visits to the library to meet managers and faculty... But I can't complain :)

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Mallory. I especially liked the comments on musicianship skills learned at the John Mack Oboe Camp!

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