Just got home from Cedar Rapids where I had two kiddie concerts this morning. I wasn't expecting to play another concert until June, but our second oboist noticed an English horn part in one of the movements. At the rehearsal last night I sat for 2 hours and ten minutes before playing my one movement, and this morning I sat some more, as that particular piece was last on the program. For those of you not familiar with the role of an auxiliary instrument like the English horn, there are often times when we sit and wait for most of a piece before having to come in cold on a beautiful solo. This is our life. You get used to it. It never becomes less of a challenge. The reed has to maintain the perfect amount of moisture, not waterlogged or too dry. We often don't have the opportunity to play a few notes before we come in. In today's piece, a lovely arrangement of Aesop's Fables, the two preceding movements are relatively quiet throughout. I really do have to come in with no preparation. It's a long solo with tons of cross- and alternate fingerings. Awkward. My first attempt today wasn't great; my reed had problems speaking on the low C. The second concert went much better, still not perfect. I got some nice compliments afterwards though. It's just a tough job that you never feel quite prepared for.
I was reading the Inner Game of Music during rehearsal last night, and I thought some of it might help me with today's performances. I guess I need more time to absorb those valuable suggestions.
OK, I think I can see straight now (I've been in the car for a while), so I'd better get back to work on my document. I'm hoping to finish it THIS WEEKEND!