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Prone Oboe


Announcing New Jennet Ingle Reeds Custom Staples

Oboe reed staples are important. Sure, you can build a good reed or a bad reed on any tube, but the material, the bore, and the dimensions of the staple MATTER. The staple is an extension of the bore of the oboe! I haven’t done the most extensive testing of staples, and I’m not the…

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Freelancer Math

Orchestral freelancing comes with its own set of math.  You’ve just opened your email and there’s an offer in it!  WHAT do you think about before you respond with a joyful YES? Of course, WHEN is it? You can’t say anything without knowing the dates and times and whether you are free. WHERE is it? …

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Get Clear on the Money

I’ve had a few conversations recently with people about pricing, about raising the prices that you’re charging for your teaching or for your reeds, or for the coaching that you offer. And I’ve had conversations with people recently about choosing to monetize or not to monetize a skill, a passion, or a hobby that they…

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Model Calendars

In a conversation yesterday we were talking about summer schedules versus school year schedules. My client said, it feels like I’m at the mercy of everyone else during the year. I can only teach when the students are available, during their band periods, and the school sets those. Sometimes I have to leave home at…

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Be the CEO of YOU

Musicians like to think of themselves as artists, as unbusinesslike, as above the concerns of world. Does this ever really work? When you are a freelance musician, or a music teacher, or the leader of an ensemble, you ARE in business. The benefit of being in business is that you uncap your income, you can…

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Adding Punctuation

This month I am recording the audiobook version of The Happiest Musician. I know how to read, and I know how to talk, and I know this book intimately, but still I doubt myself. What does it mean to perform an audiobook? How much personality do I add? What does a professional quality narration sound…

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Presence and Pricing

Are you teaching music lessons? How is it feeling for you?  Musicians often teach as a supplement to their income, and love both the intellectual challenge and the gratifying personal connection with students.  I know I did. But also, low-paid weekly lessons are one of the reasons that musicians as a group remain underpaid and…

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Practice and Project

I was talking with my FLOW group recently about Practices and Projects, and thought you might enjoy this as well.   A Practice – a writing practice, a yoga practice, a meditation practice – is a habit you build, a muscle you get used to flexing. Not, I’m writing a BOOK, but I write every day….

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Exquisite Self Care

I want to share with you a brand new thing I invented. I’m four weeks into the experiment and eager to share it.  And it’s hilarious, this experiment, because it’s so overexaggerated in its labeling and because it’s so obvious. But it’s delighting me, and it’s working for me, so I wanted to tell you…

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Applied Music

SCHOOL HAS STARTED. What a relief!  Up until the last minute, my child was trudging through summer math homework. They resented it desperately but I had fun working on it with them!  I used to love this kind of math. Arithmetic, really. Just a long list of problems with figure-outable solutions. Products, quotients, realize this fraction as a…

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Trust but Pay Attention

I trust people. When I walk in the city or jog on my riverfront path, i meet people’s eyes and say hello. When I need directions I ask for them. When I am asked a sincere question I respond sincerely.  AND I maintain some awareness of my surroundings. I don’t get into cars with strangers….

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Vuja De

Recently I played a two week run of My Fair Lady in Chicago. It was superbly professional, so it ran exactly the same every show, 8 shows a week. Recently on The Long and the Short Of It podcast I heard a discussion of Vuja De – the opposite of déjà vu. The idea that…

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Why You Need a Portfolio Career

Were you around when we had that big recession in 2008?  I was. My husband and I were primarily performers at that time – with a few adjunct positions and a small one-woman reed business. We had a new condo that we’d bought right at the top of the bubble, because we’re smart like that,…

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Oboes and Cars

I was working with an oboe student who was struggling on her back-up oboe. Nothing wrong with the instrument, it was fine, but all oboes have their quirks, and their little ergonomic differences, and my oboist couldn’t quite get her fingers to line up and things were glitching and she was frustrated.  You know that…

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Practice Filters

I was talking with my FLOW group about our upcoming recital. Most of my participants have their pieces in pretty good shape, with a month to go. This is fantastic! But there’s a difference between having your piece in pretty good shape and being performance-ready. We talked about play-throughs, and how running the piece multiple…

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Reedmaking Fear and Anxiety

This week on the blog, I want to continue reacting to the anonymous oboist who sent me an email about emotional hurdles to reedmaking.  She specifically cited fear of failure as a barrier to entry – saying “my attempts this time will not be any better than past attempts, and that it would be better…

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Reedmaking Guilt and Shame

I got an email recently. I loved your recent video about Ugly Fixes, in which you mentioned oboists experiencing social anxiety about how our reeds look. I have definitely experienced the social and emotional element of reed-making. I’m hoping you can address in more detail some of the other emotional hurdles that often act as…

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Leadership

What is leadership?  Recently in rehearsal I made a mistake. Slightly miscounted an entrance, and instead of coming in with the clarinet I left him hanging for a bar before I fixed it and joined in.  I glanced back over my shoulder at him with a grinning apology – it was early morning for everyone…

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On Balance

When you have a portfolio career like mine and like so many of my podcast guests, it can be hard to keep your life in balance. There’s always something else you could be doing. You could always be practicing more, creating content or designing a new offer or making more reeds for the insatiable demands of your business (that…

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Good Enough

We had a plumber come into our last house. He pointed out all of the things that were problematic, jury-rigged, leaking.  I cringed, seeing dollar signs dancing around his head, and asked, dreading the answer, what it would take to actually fix all of the problems and bring the thing up to code.   He paused,…

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The Work is Never Wasted

I heard a colleague complaining about having practiced music which was later cut from the concert. What a waste of time, she griped! Something about that attitude rubbed me the wrong way. Why complain about time spent on your instrument improving ANYTHING? Even if the specific notes in question aren’t being performed, surely the act…

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The Slashes are the POINT

I was working on my bio for an upcoming podcast interview and realized just how many sentences and paragraphs it takes to describe what I do. My father could identify his career in just a few words, my mother as well.  For a long time, I understood that the way to be a grownup was…

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Dance With the Voices

Last week in my Oboe Flow class, Dr. Andrew Parker was talking with us about performance nerves and he put it so well. He said, “Your approach needs to be two-pronged – you have to notice and dance with the Voice, and you have to do the work to prove it wrong.”  Such a simple rubric,…

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Authenticity or Integrity

In my Flow class recently we played a game around the tones and timbres of the oboe. Each of us played a scale and asked the others to identify it. You win if the other person can’t identify your scale, they win if they can. This game is possible not because all oboists have perfect…

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When in Doubt, Play Beautifully

What does it mean to Play Beautifully? That’s what one of my FLOW oboists asked in our group this week.  My teacher, Richard Killmer, used it as a mantra – “When in doubt, play beautifully.”  I think that’s a great saying. I have it as a decal on my wall, and I think about it a lot, and use…

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