Wednesday, July 25, 2007

It only took 2 years...

...but I finally made it to our local farmer's market this afternoon. I bought some fresh sweet corn, green beans (dinner tonight...yum), rhubarb (for a crisp later this week), and some strawberry rhubarb jam that I can't wait to try tomorrow morning. Yeah for local farmers! Support yours!

We came home to a huge garden of our own. Our giant zucchini have continued to flourish...any recommendations for recipes would be greatly appreciated! Comments or email would be great on this one!

I was just starting to clean up after dinner, Dave had left for his gig, and there went my front doorbell. It was my neighbour from across the street, just popping over to check if I was coming to her tupperware party that had already started tonight. The invitation was in my huge pile of mail that I'd opened yesterday, but of course I didn't even look at the date--I just set it aside to look at after sorting through everything else, and I forgot about it. So off I went to the tupperware party, cheque book in hand. I'd never been to one, and now I know why people can obsess over this stuff. I have a little wish list...so I decided to book my own party. *nervous laughter* All stuff we desperately need to organize our life. ;)

Reading that back, I'm reminded that I still haven't done the dishes.

Harry Potter was waiting for us when we got home, but both Dave and I were just finishing other books. I finished mine today, so I get the first crack at this bad boy. Should I tear through it? or draw it out, as there are no more?!

On the oboe front, I'm looking forward to practicing again! Cooper's reeds arrived right before we left for Calgary. I played through all of them (only one didn't survive the trip from Korea!), and liked most of them. I'll give them each more well-deserved attention before I post a little review. :) I played one during my student's lesson this afternoon (choosing one randomly--always scary), and it delivered. Can't say the same thing about my own reeds! This is why we oboists are always the first ones to arrive at rehearsal. We need to test every single reed in our box, in that specific rehearsal/performance space, even if we just did the same thing at our home that afternoon, just in case the humidity went up one point or the wind changed direction. I'm telling you, having a baby is making me nervous. If I don't have the time to make reeds NOW...geesh! This is why I'm looking for an easy way out (translate: someone to become my personal reed maker). What I keep telling Dave though (who thinks that's a great and simple solution, and worth the money if it means a lifetime of aggravation out the window) is that even if you do stumble upon the "perfect reed", whether by your own hand or someone else's much better skilled one, it would be impossible to replicate it every time. Every piece of cane is different (that reminds me of a saying, "If all trees were the same, all wood would be alike.")...which is kind of part of the art form of reed making and making music out of something so organic and changing. Darn organic, changing wood. This is why we try to eliminate the variables (Peter Cooper used that term A LOT in our lessons), from choosing materials (looking for grain, colour, straightness, smoothness, listening for 'ping', testing flexibility...) to the final scrape on that reed. It's both a scientific process and an art form. Have YOU ever played on a great reed that was made entirely by a machine (or even a non-oboist?)...and if you have, have you played on several reeds made by the same machine with the exact same consistency and beauty of sound? My guess is no.

There's also the matter of control. Without going into too many specifics (as every oboist knows this first-hand, and you non-oboists probably don't care...if you've even made it this far in this blog), every person is different, physically (mouth, lips, oral cavity, etc.) and of course in their artistic ideal/conception. It is so rare that we'll pick up someone else's reed and say, "this is absolutely perfect for me" without making even the tiniest adjustment. (And if it is perfect...read above.)

Oh yeah, and I'm not made of money.

As usual, my blog started on one subject and ended somewhere entirely different. If you want consistency, read someone else's blog! (Though my belly blog is pretty coherent...most of the time.)

5 comments:

C.J. said...

Glad it delivered. Like I said, don't be afraid to adjust them as needed. I left them a bit long, a bit thick, a bit open for an accomplished reedmaker like yourself to easily chop, thin, and pinch as needed!

Patty said...

You know, I just don't care about my pride any more. If I can use someone else's reeds I will. If it means I do a bit of adjusting, that's fine. I just hate reed making. I don't see any problem with letting someone else -- and Cooper says he LIKES making them -- do it!

So I buy reeds. I continue (a bit) to make reeds as well. And I can live with that.

I think, in fact, that I'd like to just whittle when I'm in the mood (seldom) and if those reeds don't work for me I am sure my students would buy them. So I wouldn't lose as much $$ that way.

Because, as you say, we aren't made of money.

Anyway, I'm 50. I tell everyone I use that as an excuse whenever I want. Didn't clean the house today? Well, I'm 50. Need chocolate. Yeah, I'm 50. Don't make many reeds? Heck, I'm 50!

You? Your are pregnant. That works too! After that you'll be a new mom. Perfect. Then you'll have a toddler. Well DUH! And it goes on and on.

Excuses. You want 'em? I got 'em! :-)

Laura said...

Um, zucchini bread. Make it for all of your friends, too.

nat* said...

patty - i COMPLETELY agree.
2 lessons ago after my teacher found out that I was going to be a music therapist and not an oboist, she said the best thing she ever said to me - "You know what? Screw the reed-making. JUst make sure you have a supply of good reeds, wherever they come from."

I think k.ge's reeds are pretty consistant, and they're machine made :) http://shop.kge-reeds.com/store/index.shop

I'll put you on my links, if you don't mind!

Jillian said...

Thanks for all the comments! Sure, Nat, I'd love to be added to your links.

Laura--only one to offer zucchini advice--I will give you some bread if I figure out how to make it. I've also been told zucchini chocolate cake is good? Sounds kind of disgusting to me, but heck, I have plenty of veggies, so I may as well try everything!