Now back home and rather daunted by the number of reports and stuff I still have to complete (a) today (Sunday
) and (b) over the Easter hols... everyone else has backed up and it's landed late on my plate. Looks like the next nine months are gong to continue to be heavy going at work so I'm going to have to breathe deeply and make the best of my hols in NZ and the UK.
I am sorry to hear you're feeling bogged down at work and with the oboe, flobiano. I must say, though, it sounds as though you have been progressing by leaps and bounds and it is quite possible that although you are an oboe superwoman you may have hit one of those plateaux us ordinary mortals hit quite a lot. I had the impression that I had gone backwards, too. My oboe teacher insists that you don't really go backwards, it just feels like that when you've managed a big step up and are facing the wall of the next step.
I quite often like the idea
of playing but am just too exhausted to practice or to enjoy it. Long notes are good. For a bit of motivation I get out the old iPod and play a few easy, fun pieces to backing tracks that I have on a play list for the purpose, just to feel I can and to get some motivation back. I know it runs against all advice and good practice discipline but I think that anything that gets you back on the oboe without making it feel like a burden is good. I expect everyone is different and would have a different "trick" but that's mine.
Over the last week I've been reading The Perfect Wrong Note
by William Westney. His approach seems to be mainly about getting beyond the conventions of music practice, which can take the joy and vitality out of playing music, to a more intuitive, almost meditative, approach - learning to play in a sort of mindful and ego-less state which liberates natural energy and expressiveness. It's not religious in any way but it does sound a bit like musical Buddhism. I don't utterly agree with all he says but I do think I myself need to get back to the kind of oboe-yoga that playing the oboe felt like in the first few months when I had great hope and enthusiasm but few expectations.
Maybe a bit of yoga and meditation would be good to do before your exam, kerioboe. It all sounds bit of a worry but from of all you've said the one thing you don't have to worry about is failing. I suspect that's not really what you're worried about. You don't want to do less well than you are capable of (even though you know it's much less than the examiners expect) and you know that your teacher, who will be on the panel, knows what that is. Just DON'T WORRY! (easier said than done, as I know too well
). I bet that actually, if you don't manage to work things out and you miss a lesson and get only one practice session with the pianist, all will be OK on the day. Even if you don't really need it,
I have signed up for Dartington Week 4, though I don't think the hundred quid deposit has been deducted from my credit card yet. This despite the fact that there were no places left for elementary/intermediate oboists in the wind chamber music course.
I have just realised that I had miscalcuated dates. It's going to be a stretch to make both Stalybridge and Dartington. And Dad has invited me to go the south of France right at the same time as Stalybridge because his girlfriend has a concert scheduled then. I'm very divided...