Wednesday, May 29, 2013

End of the Year Teaching Humor

I’m sure that we all have that special reed that we feel attached to and feel the need to mourn when it finally passes.  Well, one of the schools that I teach lessons at takes this to the next level and actually holds a reed funeral at the end of the year.  The brass players even play taps during the ceremony.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I made it back from Virginia yesterday, it’s definitely a trip that I will never forget.  My preparation for this audition had been the best that I had ever had and I had phenomenal reeds, then everything went completely wrong!  A three hours flight delay, two hours on the tarmac, another five hour flight delay on the connecting flight, and finally a cancelled flight at 9:30pm in New Jersey with an audition at 8am the next morning in Virginia.

Can we say worst case scenario?

Never one to be beaten, I rented a car and started to make the drive through the night in the rain.  Because I had not had any sleep due to the turbulence on the first flight, I finally had to pull off of the road at 1:30am and grab a hotel.  The orchestra’s personnel manager was extremely understanding and we managed to reschedule the audition for later in the day, so I got up early and started driving again.  Made it to the audition, felt ready to rock, then didn’t play to my potential.

C’est la vie.

An understandable outcome after all of that but I was still extremely disappointed.  After some sleep, I still had a really great time in Virginia.  I have always wanted to go to Colonial Williamsburg so I drove up there to explore the sights.  They happened to have a really great 18th century piano exhibit going on.


Also a lone clarinet, an unusual victrola, and some unique string instruments. 

I also explored the beautiful coastline.  After a full day, I met up with a friend from high school that I had not seen in 10 years at a really cool coffee house called Cafe Stella.  The journey home was a lot less eventful thankfully. 

Today, we’re enjoying the day off and found a great new place in Denton called Seven Mile Cafe.  Cinnamon roll and red velvet pancakes, oh my!  

Next week I’ll be journeying to Tucson, Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium the following week, and Galveston Beach for fun next month!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I just got soaked by another thunderstorm so I’m warming up with a good book, tea, and freshly baked cookie before returning to the cave of practice for another round of excerpts. Flying out to Virginia in a few days for an audition, wish me luck!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

OU Clarinet Symposium is back this year and I just registered.  I am definitely looking forward to hearing some great clarinet playing next month!  Hopefully it will be as great of a conference as it was in the past.  Who else is going?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mental Practice

 "mental simulation of movements activates some of the same central neural structures required for the performance of the actual movements.  In so doing, mental practice alone seems to be sufficient to promote the modulation of neural circuits involved in the early stages of motor skill learning.  This modulation not only results in marked improvements in performance, but also seems to place the subjects at an advantage for further skill learning with minimal physical practice.  The combination of mental and physical practice leads to greater performance improvement than does physical practice alone, a phenomenon for which our findings provide a physiological explanation."
From Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks

An excellent reminder that practicing is not about wiggling our fingers for a set amount of time, but about being mindful.  During his residency last month, Mark Nuccio talked about how he was practicing for 10 hours a day in grad school but that all of this practice was not necessarily with the instrument.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There’s always room for more pops concerts, especially with instructions like these!  I’m getting ready for a concert with the Abilene Philharmonic this weekend, and you should definitely check it out if you are in the area.