Thursday, October 19, 2006

Practice, practice, practice

My chops are officially "back". I did so little playing over the summer that I was actually a bit embarrassed to try oboes and English horns at the IDRS convention. Those reeds were already two months old. I feel ok about admitting that now because I'm back. Shostakovich 10 requires chops of steel. Unfortunately it also requires chops of nuance when I switch from oboe 3 to English horn for the third movement's lovely solo (that reminds me of Franck D minor...anyone else?).

This is a killer piece, one I've never played before. I have my "practice tempos" marked in my part, and some are still at about half of the performance tempo. It doesn't help that Tim is taking those tempos a notch higher than what's printed. Yesterday, I felt overwhelmed while practicing the fourth movement. I would try spurts of quarter=176, only to feel like my fingers would never move that fast. I went to rehearsal last night wishing that I could have practiced on the 2.5 hour drive to Cedar Rapids. I might not have made it through rehearsal though.

I was dreading the phrase all of us musicians know so well, "Can I hear the (insert your instrument here) at rehearsal (insert dreaded rehearsal number here)?" What I didn't expect was for our principal oboist to come up to oboe 2 and me at break and say, "I want to apologize for not leading the section well; I just don't have this stuff up yet." Oboe 2 then says, "I feel like the worst player in the orchestra." Principal then says, "I know I'm the worst player in the orchestra at times." And I'm sitting there thinking, "did you hear me at all?" We gave each other a pep talk. It's so easy to get absorbed in your own fears and insecurities, but I don't think we realize that that's all they are until they're voiced by someone we admire. I love my section. And we're going to rock Shostakovich. Thank goodness for the weekend. Next rehearsal: Monday night.

p.s. (So I don't have to post another blog...) My heat is on! There was a magical button after all; it was called the "on" switch on the furnace. Good news: we didn't have to pay $60 for someone to come out and press that magical button.

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