I really hope you have all had a wonderful summer holiday. I am sure many of you have found it full of fun, excitement, travel, sunshine (maybe if you escaped the UK) and hopefully some music and of course learning.
This is the time of year when students realise various things……
- Oops I haven’t played my oboe since July and I have a lesson on Monday.
- Oh dear, I’ve not played the oboe as much as I should have done this holiday but I did do a bit so hopefully I won’t be too bad.
- OH NO! I had forgotten all my reeds broke and I have none left and I have a lesson on Monday!
- I’m looking forward to my lesson so I can show my teacher all the work I’ve done and how much the pieces I am playing have improved.
Now we all need a holiday from time to time so I’m not going to lecture you about what you should have done. Obviously it would have been better to have kept playing, but sometimes the activities or holidays you may go on during the long break don’t allow this to happen. So, what I am going to focus on is how to get back into practice as quickly as possible.
Firstly, those of you who have no working reeds…. Tell someone NOW! The sooner you can get a reed the better. When I sold reeds online it was amazing the number of panicked parents that messaged me at the start of September telling me their children had only just told them they had no reeds as they had all broken ages ago.
Students who have realised you haven’t played since July. Go and soak a reed, find some easy music that you should be able to play and go and play it. Before you tackle the music you were set it is a good idea to just reacquaint yourselves with the oboe. Play some long notes, play some scales, think about your embouchure and posture. You will get tired quickly so if you don’t think about these things you are likely to get into some bad habits. Start by playing little and often, so 10mins then a break, then another 10/15mins then another break etc and this way your lips will build up strength again much quicker. Once you start feeling more comfortable start looking at something you were asked to practice so you can go to your lesson with something you have worked on, even if it is only a little bit.
For those students that have played occasionally, well done for playing in the holidays! Now plan a routine for practice so you can get playing regularly. It’s good to get into a routine before everything gets very busy again with all the other work and activities that you do. I would also suggest little and often to start with as although you have played it isn’t regularly so your lips will also get tired and you need to build up strength again.
Students who have worked hard practising throughout the holiday. Well Done, your teachers will be very happy to hear you playing!
Note to all those who did very little practice
DO NOT TELL YOUR TEACHER YOU DID LOTS OF PRACTICE!! Your teacher will be able to tell very quickly that you didn’t and it will only lead to an awkward conversation. It will be much better if you own up at the beginning of the lesson, your teacher may be a bit disappointed but they will like your honesty.
Now, go and sort out a practice routine, get practising, listen to lots of music but most of all, enjoy playing and have fun making music!
As it’s the start of term I wanted to post something fun. So, here is the John Wilson Orchestra playing the music to Tom and Jerry! Watch out for the percussionists!