Back to the Grind…

August 16, 2009

Well, it was a nice summer off, but now it’s time to get back to work. Yes, this means I’m trying to practice consistently.

I don’t know how, but I made it through Interlochen, NEC, Mich State, and Oregon without ever having to get through the Ferlings, not to mention the Gillets. Sure, I took a look once or twice, but after quickly shrugging them off as woodshedding that I honestly didn’t want to take the time to do, I moved on to other things. Well, I think it’s about time for me to work my way through them, so this is my goal. This year, while I don’t have a lot of other things to work through, I hope to get through the Ferlings, the Gillets, and Stevens Hewitt’s Method book which also looks quite “thick”.

Doing Ferling feels like new territory to me. I remember beginning the Barret book at Interlochen and being so confused at all of the markings. There’s so many crescendos, decrescendos, different articulation marks, and yet the Tabuteau lineage has passed down certain “ways” of playing all of these. with some markings being extremely exaggerated, while others which are plain-out ignored. I remember the first time I played for John Mack Barret Grand Study #2, and he reamed me out for only trilling the trills once, instead of twice. Furthermore, he told me that I should ALWAYS tongue a trilled note, even if it’s slurred into it. I’m not sure why he told me that, because he is the only person that’s ever told me that, but he did, and I took it home. I find myself approaching Ferling with the same discomfort. Which markings are supposed to be brought out, while which ones are supposed to be ignored? Ferling’s music is much more operatic, so I try just to take what styllistic knowledge I know of opera and run with it.

Yesterday, I got my hands on Martin Schuring’s new book which came out a week or two ago. I’ll be eager to read it, and compare what it says with how he demonstrates in my lessons this year. I feel incredibly fortunate to have a teacher who has written all of his thoughts about playing oboe down in a book, so that I can process them aurally (by listening to him and his playing), kinaesthetically (by playing for him), and visually (by reading about them). After having such a terrible experience for the past two years, I can’t wait to begin studying with someone who is not only a phenomenal player, but someone I want to sound like, and who is a genuinely nice person!

On a personal note, I recently rediscovered a high school hobby of mine: Chess. I spent fours hours today in a coffee shop playing Blitz Chess with a bunch of folks, and am re-reading some of my old chess books to remember my opening play. It’s been quite refreshing after working 10 hour days scraping reeds for the past several weeks.


One Response to “Back to the Grind…”

  1. Darlene said

    What a coincidence! I set my own goal as working through the Ferling and and the Bozza etudes for the rest of the year. I though about those big Barret etudes in the back of the book, but I’m kind of Barret-ed out.

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