So a little time has passed since my You-Tube of O Souverain and the following reflections should be made:
- My fingers move with much more fluidity and even rhythm than ever before, even in the best of my days and even though my physical condition is much worse than back then: thank IMS for that! I still have to regain speed and re-learn all scales, but I'm struggling much less than I ever used to.
- 30 minutes a day is not enough to build real endurance.... or if it is, it'll take more than the one year I spent on it.
- Strangely, I can practice for hours, but this relatively easy piece tired my lips enough to sag notes at the end of crescendi: baroque repertoire (especially the technical runs) seems easier.
During the winter, I had challenged myself to do one (small) recording per week, just to motivate myself to practice more and push to better quality of playing…. well….. that didn’t work out! No matter what, as soon as I hear the recordings, I notice “small things” that can be fixed with just one more take, then just another knife stroke on the reed, then another take!
Conclusion: recordings take time away from practicing and making reeds!
Making a good looking video is hard! Lighting is a huge deal and... well... let's just say I won't argue with my wife anymore when she tells me to use wrinkle cream under my eyes!
I bought an expensive web-cam because I thought it best to stream directly into the computer (not possible with affordable handi-cams)... I was wrong. I don't know if I need more RAM or if high-definition is just too much for Windows 7 (I must try Linux now). The choppiness in the video would have not happened with a handi-cam and I could still mix the audio track and synchronize easily enough with Windows Live Movie Maker (Macintosh has the equivalent and Linux is supposed to also): this would allow me to continue to do multi-track recording and use my special recording device.
What has improved:
- My sound quality (tone colour) is much deeper and more open, generally better than it has ever been, even in the best of my days. Is this due to better reed making and materials (staples, shaper, scrape technique) or is it due to my oboe being revoiced? This is difficult to say as it could also be due to better attention to what I hear and how I practice.
- My general sense of phrasing: articulation and dynamics were probably better years ago, but they have definitely improved since my 1st recording in February and I have definitely refined my sense of short and long term direction for the melody compared to 15 years ago.
What remains to work on:
- General sound control and finger technique. My rhythm is more even, but I still tend to anticipate the beat a lot, especially when doing a crescendo or running short on breath.
- Better breathing-in: the exhaling is fine, but my abdomen seems tight and I think this contributes to the fatigue.
- Learn to fully relax lips in just a few beats of rest.
- Acoustics: recording in a room with more reverberation!
This could mean moving my desktop computer to my dining room… need to try!