Ferlings, Professors, Recital, and Reeds.

November 5, 2009

It’s funny how Ferlings come together in the end.

I spend 5 days preparing them slowly, methodically, learning the notes, and methodically practicing them time and time and time again, thinking that they’ll never get faster and I won’t have them at a decent tempo by my lesson. In fact, every Wednesday night I find myself unable to sleep from fear that come Friday morning, the weekly Ferling etudes are just not going to be there, and Martin will kick me out of his studio and tell me to never come back. Somehow, come Thursday things just seem to come into focus and get better. Maybe it’s because I have to become really focused at that point when the countdown is on, or perhaps it just takes me exactly one week to get comfortable with four Ferlings. I’d like to think it’s the latter, and I’d also like to believe that this is why Martin assigns me as much as he does; just enough to push me to the extreme but not too much that he sets me up for failure.

A few weeks back I had a “less-than-stellar” lesson, which frankly I felt like I fell flat on my face in my lesson, but he didn’t blink and eye, and so I know that my fears are unwarranted. In fact, I’m conscious that my past emotional “scarrings” with my previous professor are the exception, and I’m just grateful for the nurturing such as Mr. Weber and Martin that I’m currently with. I’ve always gravitated toward nurturing teachers like Mr. Stolper whom I transferred back to at Michigan State, and find that it’s a lot easier for me to take instruction and critique from teachers who I know genuinely care for their students and enjoy teaching.

The reed business is going very well. I only wish I could keep up better with the orders. I think my waiting list is something like 70 reeds deep at the moment, which is quite overwhelming when I think about it, but I know that the only thing I can do at this point is slowly chip away at that number, one reed at a time.

Tomorrow, Martin and I will actually take a look at my reeds and find a way to build them so that they fit me better. Last week I had a “Eureka Moment” as my friend Erin Goad puts it. Martin showed me that while my reeds are responsive, flexible, and comfortable, they’re actually too light for my blowing, and so I often blow too much, but because the reed can not take the amount of air I have to offer, my body has to work twice as hard to build in “resistance” (i.e. tension). The solution is either to blow less (and inhale less, but more often) and relax more, or to build a thicker reed which can take more air. I think the answer for me is a compromise of the two, and I need to explore further. This week I’ve definitely been more aware as to how much physical strain and blowing I give the reed, but also how tense I sometimes get. The problem with the thicker reed is that I’m used to really really responsive reeds, and so I’ll probably need to shift my embouchure to compensate on heavier and less responsive reeds.

My friend Adam Shapiro and I are still planning a recital for December 3rd. We almost have a venue, but it’s still being finalized. The program should be fun, he’s doing a piece called American Rags, a Couperin Royal Concert (hopefully on Baroque Oboe) with harpsichord, and I’ll be doing the Dutilleux Sonata. Together, we’ll do Zelenka #6, and maybe the Beethoven “La Ci Darem La Mano” Variations. Should be fun, if we can get it organized in time.




2 Responses to “Ferlings, Professors, Recital, and Reeds.”

  1. Paul Wallace said

    Let me know how you like “Snake” . I’ve had a copy for years, but never performed it.

    • cooperwrightreeds said

      Paul, I played it, and while it suited a purpose, I’m not planning on picking it back up any time soon. It just wasn’t the most exciting, and I think there are better solo EH pieces out there (Try Evocations for EH)

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