I know it’s not that cool to make New Year’s Resolutions, but there’s something so clean and fresh about a new year and I see no reason to maintain my old bad habits when there’s an excuse to quit them cold turkey.
Here is my resolution, and please hear me out before you judge me. My resolution is to brush my teeth before playing the oboe. Always.
I am always hungry. Between running 20-25 miles a week and nursing Zoe (a little, still), I never seem to be full, and a couple of hours is my limit for going without food. My colleagues can attest that I always have an apple and a bar of seriously dark chocolate and usually a peanut butter sandwich with me and I usually eat at intermission or between quintet shows. I’m not comfortable playing the oboe overfull, but I’m not smart or alert when I’m hungry, so a snack is quite essential. And on a 15-minute orchestra break it is hard to eat a large apple AND visit with all of my friends AND fill out paperwork AND find time to brush my teeth.
And this has not been a huge deal, although of course I emphatically teach my students not to play after eating. I have always perceived that the tiny opening of the reed is sufficient to keep big detritus out of the oboe. It is a first line of defense, and if it should get a little goopy, well, a reed never lasts longer than a week or so anyway, so what do I care? I don’t have a big sweet tooth or drink sugary beverages, so I wasn’t worried about my pads sticking.
Also, I kind of love shocking people and acting like the bad girl. (OK, yes, it’s a very classical-music-nerd bad girl act, but still.)
But all justifications aside, it is a bad habit, and if toothbrushing is a requirement for me to approach the oboe, I will brush more and possibly eat less, and those can’t be bad things. So I now have an unimportant but achievable goal this year.
Oh, and coffee doesn’t count. Not at all. If coffee counts I’m quitting before I even start.