Friday, December 10, 2010

As holiday vacations approach...

... it is important to remember that you can't get better without PRACTICE!

Notice that even after he thinks he has it, he tries it again in a different way just to make sure!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I can't resist...

... even though I hear middle ground all the time!

Thursday, October 07, 2010


This is a photo taken by Erin Hannigan in Carlos Coelho's oboe shop. Carlos says this much grenadilla (or mpingo) wood could probably make two oboes!

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Musicians talk about musical expression A LOT. I like how this video illustrates musical expression with facial expression. Watch closely and you will see: question and answer, going forward and coming away, mood changes, dynamic changes, and the same musical material presented uniquely each time. While both the musician's and actor's expressions are based on what the composer wrote (meter, rhythm, melody, and harmony), they have both added to that information with their own artistic sense to make it interesting and, I think you'll agree, entertaining.

Monday, May 10, 2010

A quick tip on musical etiquette...

This video illustrates well one rule of musical etiquette: If one of your fellow musicians is preparing for a performance, don't practice their part if there is any chance they might hear you. Likewise, do not finger along while a colleague is playing a solo. Make plenty of time to practice the repertoire you like in the solitude of your practice room.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No Cheating

One of my favorite things about teaching music is that there is no cheating. It simply isn't possible. No one else can practice for you, or learn rhythms for you, or learn to read music for you, or learn how to produce a fabulous sound for you. There are a wealth of people, including myself, who are eager to guide you and offer suggestions, but we cannot actually implement anything on your behalf. So the only cheating that occurs is if you cheat yourself out of an opportunity to learn, grow, or express yourself by not doing the work you must do, alone, between lessons. Of course, this applies to all aspects of life; it is just so obvious in music. Your future success (in any discipline) depends on your ability to implement the suggestions of others, and compliment those suggestions with your own discoveries found through hard work. Always ask lots of questions; this will help your teacher guide you better. Then take the answers you are given and work with them. If the answers lead to more questions, you are on the right track! My teacher, Richard Killmer, is credited with saying something like, "No one has ALL of the truth, but everyone has some of it." There is truth waiting for you in the practice room that no one else can give you. I hope you find it and share it.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

GO to the Boulder Bach Festival!

The Boulder Bach Festival features legendary oboist Joseph Robinson tomorrow and Saturday. I am not sure how it happened that I didn't have any personal interaction with Mr. Robinson until last November, but I am sure glad I finally did! He is a pleasant person to talk to, and shares a lot of insight and attitude that I admire very much. He has lived an interesting life, and does not hesitate to laugh at the absurd moments (which every oboist faces at some point!) and relish the poignant ones for the enjoyment of all. He demonstrated this handily at his class at CU Boulder on Tuesday, along with some very illustrative and moving interpretations of standard repertoire and excerpts. It is easy to hear the greatness that made him a fixture of the New York Philharmonic for many years. I hope to have the opportunity to hear him teach students in a masterclass setting sometime in the near future! Peter Cooper suggested this interview which I now recommend to you. I am so disappointed that I can't attend the Boulder Bach Festival concerts this weekend, but hope that you will enjoy them doubly on my behalf!

Saturday, February 06, 2010


There is so much to love about this clip, from the simple perfection of the music itself to the sublime performance by two of my favorite female singers. Thanks to Patty over at oboeinsight for posting!

Translation (found at Edelweiss):

Sull'aria . . .
On the breeze . . .
Che soave zeffiretto . . .
What a gentle zephyr . . .
Zeffiretto . . .
Zephyr . . .
Questa sera spirera!
Will sigh this evening!
Questa sera spirera . . .
Will sigh this evening . . .
Sotto i pini del boschetto.
Beneath the pine grove.
Sotto i pini?
Beneath the pines?
Sotto i pini del boschetto . . .
Beneath the pine grove . . .
Ei gia il resto capira.
He will understand the rest.
Certo, certo il capira.
Certainly, he'll understand.
Ei gia il resto capira.
He will understand the rest.
Canzonetta sull'aria . . . etc.
Little tune on the breeze . . . etc.