Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Recital by Alexandra Esser

(Even though I'm on sabbatical,  I still get out for important oboe events at UWEC!)

Kudos to Alexandra Esser on her senior oboe recital!
It was performed on Monday,  Sept. 24th at 7:30 in Phillips Recital Hall on the UWEC campus.
She was assisted by:
Lori Cruciani,  piano
Sarah Kubiatowicz, oboe
Alex Widstrand, bassoon
Cody Christian, bass

Her program:

Trio Sonata in Bb Major  by G. F. Handel (1685-1759)

Fantasie Pastorale by Eugene Bozza (1905-1991)

Oboe Concerto in C Major by W.A. Mozart (1756-1791)

Blues for D.D. by Jeffrey Agrell (b. 1948)

Beautiful,  expressive playing by all!  Congratulations!!

Heres a post-recital pic of the soloist with the studio:

(top row: Jonathan, Katie, Alex, Megan, Dr. G,  Dr. Vecchione
bottom row: Jenni,  Haley, Stuart, Sarah)

Oboe and out,

Dr. G

Sabbatical? What's that?

For the 2012-2013 academic year,  I'm taking a sabbatical.  Many of you have asked what it is,  what I'm doing,  and want details.  So,  here 'tis.

First,  a sabbatical is a period of time (usually either a semester or a year) that a full-time faculty member does not teach,  but instead works intensely on an academic project. In the University of Wisconsin System,  a sabbatical is not instantly granted;  it is a privilege,  must be applied for, and is awarded on a competitive basis based on the project proposed as well as on the merit of past academic contributions. Usually a full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for a sabbatical every seven years.   The types of projects can vary widely between academic areas,  but the main function is to be engaged in intensive study to become more effective teachers and scholars and enhance our service to the University.  In addition,  it is encouraged that the sabbatical project contributes to the professional growth of the proposer and demonstrates both scholarly activity and faculty renewal.

So,  what is my project?

This year I'm finishing an oboe method that I've been working with for many years now.  It is a beginner's method book with accompanying DVD.  I'm also  toying with making the book into an ibook/ebook that combines the book and video components into a cohesive whole.  The book is intended to be useful for beginning players,  those learning how to teach the oboe to young players (such as band directors and oboists teaching private lessons),  and for advanced oboists who are looking for new pedagogical material that explains the basic elements of playing.  There will be a large focus on the foundations of successful oboe playing,  such as use of air, air support,  embouchure, and hand position.   I find that these core elements are sadly lacking in seemingly advanced students,  so I want to create a book that teaches and builds these important elements from the very start.  The musical examples used will be drawn from both the classical canon and folk traditions from around the world.

In addition to creating the book,  I'm also piloting sections of the book with budding oboists in local/regional schools.  I'm really excited to work first-hand with a number of young players! My goal is to reflect on the learning that the students are experiencing and modify the book as needed to enhance the learning outcomes of the book.

My project will take the entire academic year,  so I  will not be around campus very much.  I'm already missing my great students very much!!!!  However,  the time away to work on a project without all of the usual whirlwind of classes/meetings/etc, etc will be a refreshing change.  I'm mostly working on my project while in Eau Claire, so I'm still available to students by email and prospective students can still schedule times to meet with me/ have a lesson,  etc and I'll be all geared up to again teach in the fall of 2013!

The UWEC oboe students this year will be expertly taught by oboist Dr. Carrie Vecchione. I'm so excited for the oboists to have the opportunity to study with such a fine musician and pedagogue!!!

So,  for those of you who think I'm not teaching this year and am simply goofing off,  I have to say that you're (mostly) sadly mistaken. I am daily putting in long hours on the book, but also enjoying lots of practice time and exploring new repertoire that look forward to sharing it with you on my return!

I hope to write frequently over the course of the year to keep you updated with goings on and new discoveries.  Stay posted!

Oboe and out,

Dr. G

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dear Prospective Student:

For anyone interested in studying music with me,  prepare yourself for the following questions.  :)  I feel that these give us BOTH some helpful starting points to bring about improvement on several different levels.

Dear Prospective Student:

Thank you for contacting me!  I VERY MUCH look forward to meeting you.

I'd be happy to give you a lesson,  but I need the following information to be the MOST help to you.  If you are an advanced student (having studied some at the college level already),  please answer all of the questions below.  If you are newer to the oboe,  you may not have answers to all of the questions,  but I ask that you answer as many as you can and be OPEN to seeking new answers for the questions you do not presently know.

1. What in your own oboe playing are you most proud of?
2. What aspects of your playing are you most looking to improve?

3. If these aspects of your playing that need improvement have previously been identified by other teachers,  how have you sought to improve upon them?  What has worked,  and what hasn't?

4. Why are you seeking oboe lessons?
5. Why are you seeking lessons from me,  in particular?

6. How much do you currently practice?
7. Does that seem to be enough time for you to make the improvement you seek?
8. If the above answer is no,  are you willing to make time sacrifices in other areas of your life to make time for more practice to attain your goals for improvement?
9. When you do practice,   how do you divide your time (scales?  long tones? solo pieces? etudes?)
10. Are there any practice methods in particular that you are most proud of/found the most improvement from?
11. How do you work through difficult passages?
12. What do you do on days when you feel like you aren't able to focus or aren't accomplishing much?

The internet (youtube, Spotify, Pandora, personal musician's and orchestra websites, etc) offer a WEALTH of opportunities to listen to,  study, and learn from professional oboists.

1.Which musicians do you particularly admire? (oboists in particular,  but other classical artists are certainly fair game here)
2. What pieces by your favorite artists have you listened to recently?
3. Do you listen to art music generally on a daily or weekly basis?
4. How frequently do you listen to your favorite artists--on a daily or weekly basis?
5. What have you learned from listening to them and how has it informed your own playing?

6. What questions do you have for me?  :)

Again,  I want to reiterate how much I look forward to meeting you and doing my best to help you develop as a musician.

See you soon!

Christa Garvey

Affordable and Enjoyable Concerts!!

Hi All!

For those of you in the Eau Claire region,  did you know about the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's Club 2030?

It's for anyone ages 18-39 who would like to attend the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra's concerts for only $10!!  How cool is that???  You'll get the the best available seat at any of their concerts in the 10 venues across the Twin Cities.  As a club member you are also are also welcome to post-concert happy hours at various times during the season where you can meet the SPCO musicians and guest artists.

Go to great concerts!  Hear Kathy Greenbank's exquisite playing (she's the Principal oboist and one of my favorite players)!  Post-concert, mingle with others who like the same music as you! Enjoy free food and wine!

Get a group of friends to road trip to the TC for an enjoyable evening!!

Sounds like a great opportunity!  I'm going to sign up now....

See you there!

Oboe and out,

Dr. G