Monday, August 6, 2012

Back from a break

I had two weeks off, which was mostly spent driving. My dad's 90th birthday was this year, which turned into a kind of family reunion. Driving down for that, plus dropping my wife at a jazz piano camp, and general tourism on the way out and back resulted in about 7000 km behind the wheel. I didn't bring the bassoon, just because I didn't want to fret about it. Not very much bassoon-related happened; the closest thing was wearing a bassoon T-shirt while hiking in Zion National Park, and getting greeted by a clarinettist. We chatted briefly, he went to school with some Canadian bassoonists that I've heard of. After google-stalking him, it seems that I met Richard Peck, of the Houston Symphony.

The downside to not practicing is that I have a rehearsal tonight, with a fairly high level group, and have to be able to play. I've had just over a day back, enough time to play a few long tones against a drone, but that's about it. Hopefully I won't embarrass myself too badly. This is the last rehearsal before the show, and I missed the previous rehearsal due to being away.

The other music-related thing was being given a set of tablas by my mother. It's not the first hand-drum I have, my wife gave me a small djembe for Christmas a few years ago, which I play occasionally. Tablas are different though; they are a vital part of Indian classical music, which has its own traditions as serious as Western classical music. My mom made me promise to take at least a lesson or two on them before she let me take them away. We'll see how that goes.

Update: The rehearsal went fine. I even got singled out for praise at the end, which was an odd kind of feeling. There was a solo-ey phrase (Dvorak 8, 2nd movement), which I was trying to play out, and heard a violin. I glanced over, being reminded that this bit was doubled with a solo violin. (Or, depending on where you sit, the solo violin is doubled by a bassoon.) Our student conductor, who'd spent the last part of rehearsal importuning the winds to listen more to our rather overbalanced strings, caught this and pointed it out as an example of what we ought to be doing. Okay, so I did end up a bit embarrassed, but not in the way that I feared. I also found out that the conductor knew my name, so that was nice too. I'm terrible with names, so I'm always impressed whenever anyone uses mine.

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