It was nice to take a break from bassoon playing over the holidays, but now it's time to get back in shape. I believe it's really good to take several days off from playing from time to time to recharge your batteries and get some rest.
However, the Cleveland Orchestra revs back into action this Tuesday and I've been working to get myself back into shape again.
The first day back on the instrument is always great. It's fun to rip around on the bassoon and play just for fun. I enjoy reconnecting with why I like to play.
However, the next day's practice is usually deflating. I sound terrible -- poor support, sluggish technique, bad reeds, etc. How could I have let myself get this out of shape?!
So I've been getting back to long tones and scales in an effort to build my support and embouchure and get my fingers working well. I also find it necessary to fit in some sight reading because my eyes have lost a little of their quickness with keeping up with the music as it flows along.
In addition, I've made a long-term plan for my practicing this winter. I'm going to learn all of the 12 Etudes by Bertoni. I hope to learn a new one every two weeks. I'll also brush up on pieces and excerpts that my CIM students are learning so I can help them better and demonstrate in lessons without embarrassing myself!
Currently I'm re-learning the Nussio "Variations on a Theme By Pergolesi". I'll also study Waterhouse's transcription of the Bach Partita in A Minor for Flute and dig out the Mozart Concerto again. There will be some other pieces to study as the CIM semester progresses.
I'm also practicing several pieces by Manuel de Falla that I've arranged for bassoon and piano and one for solo bassoon. I'll perform these at a concert by my bassoon quartet, the Men Who Don't Bite on Feb. 17th in the afternoon at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland. This concert is part of the Arts Renaissance Tremont concert series.
I've also been making a LOT of reeds. I hate spending time on processing cane and making blanks during the work schedule, so I've tried to fill my drying rack with as many blanks as I can. By December I had nearly cleared my drying rack of blanks. After a few weeks' effort I now have 35 blanks drying on them and 20 reeds with tips cut awaiting finishing touches in a reed box. I hope this will last me until the season ends at the end of May.