Practicing, Reeds, and More

September 17, 2009

Oboe has been going well, although it’s tiring. I’m constantly stressed about practicing, and getting the music exactly right. Playing the Ferlings is hard enough, transposing them a half step up and down is even more ridiculous. The only thing that brings me comfort is knowing that Martin makes every one of his students do this, and so I’m sure I’m not the only one to struggle through them.

Ferling 4 measure 10 was extremely hard for me. Two bits of advice that I received from Mr. Weber was, “Make a really stable reed, and woodshed like hell!” Which I did and helped. Another bit of advice I received was to make sure to anchor my thumb octave key to the oboe rather than try to play it with both octave keys, or have my thumb floating around. This really helped, and I managed to get through it. This week, rather than being in the key of A minor, I get to play it in the key of Ab minor, which is not very friendly. At least my oboe seals. Ferling 3 in Bb minor is also not very friendly, particularly the little trill section toward the end which ends with a trill from Bb to Cb, and then two grace notes down to A natural and Bb, and then jumping up to high Gb. yikes!

Meanwhile, I’ve been playing the DD I purchased from Hannah, which is turning out really quite well. It’s got a lovely colorful sounding top joint, and a solid bottom joint, nothing particularly exciting down there. I do think that once Mr. Weber reams the bottom joint however, it’s going to be a killer instrument, with massive projection. David and I played the DD today next to his CC, and a CC sent by Alvin Swiney and the DD clearly was the preferred oboe of the three. I feel fortunate to have found it, and to have received it at a reasonable price. Hopefully, the instrument will be solid enough that it will stay in adjustment, and be up for some heavy playing.

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2 Responses to “Practicing, Reeds, and More”

  1. Christina said

    I’m so jealous.

  2. Suvayd said

    Cooper, what is the rationale behind transposing the etudes? I heard JdL (on a DVD) explain that, in his youth, an oboist had to be able to do it in case an opera singer needed to change keys at the last minute, but that now, orchestras had the partitions in all the keys… But he still had his students do it anyway, and apparently, Mr. Schuring is continuing the tradition… Is it for flexibility, i.e. being able to adapt to weird keys (fingering)?

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