Wednesday, June 20, 2012

John Mack Oboe Camp, Part II

As promised, a few notes from the second half of the week with Martin Hebert teaching:

  • Crescendos and decrescendos are not steady changes in dynamics. They are more curved.
  • Your tongue is its fastest around age 19. From there, it only gets slower. Learn to double tongue!
  • To leap up to a high note, think of a cat jumping up onto a chair. Don’t use too much or too little energy. Use just the right amount!
  • Rules can be broken if done convincingly.
  • Be aware of which notes have more zing. Let notes stick out when you want them to, not when the oboe wants them to.
  • Be careful how literally you take some markings. Always consider the overall shape of the phrase.
  • Practice chunks at a slow tempo, but also practice chunks at full tempo. Be able to start anywhere in the piece.
  • Always plan and prepare your breaths.
  • Don’t get too attached to reeds. They’re not going to last very long!
  • Know your phrasing. Think in fast motion even if you’re playing in slow motion.

JMOC was incredibly informative and inspiring, and I've already begun to incorporate some of the lessons into my own practice sessions.

I’m ahead of schedule with my work in the library, so I’ve also been able to attend some of the Advanced Oboe Institute classes here at Interlochen. Elaine Douvas is teaching this year, and I’m continuing to learn a lot. I feel very lucky to have the opportunity for such intense oboe study with such fantastic teachers over the last two weeks. I’m close to filling an entire notebook in that time (I will probably finish it off tomorrow!), and I don’t think I have ever been this inspired to play the oboe. I’m very happy I’m spending my summer at Interlochen, “where music lives” :)

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