Neglected but not forgotten

I know how blogs can be – start like a blazing fire but quickly die down to smoldering ashes and eventually they are gone completely. I can’t believe that it’s been over a month since I last updated… and it’s been a crazy month.

2 days after returning from my grant trip (and 5 full weeks of living out of a suitcase in 3 different cities) I found myself sitting in a room full of teachers at 8 AM for teacher in-service. I had just figured out how to drive my car again and was already missing the ability to use public transportation and walk everywhere.

7 days after that I had students in my classroom and I was teaching, the school year ready to start even if I wasn’t. I had never been so mentally ready or so physically underprepared in the 6 years that I have been teaching.

Now I have been home exactly a month, and I have been trying so hard not to lose everything that I had gathered over the summer. I’m trying to find a balance between what I need to do and what I want to do… while staying inspired and moving forward. Some days are better than others.

What have I been up to?

  • Finding a new bari mouthpiece. I have been playing on a Otto Link 7* since about 1997, the only bari mouthpiece I have ever owned. Now it feels like I’m trying to blow thru a cotton ball and my lungs ache after every gig from working too hard. I’m finding I’m rethinking and re-evaluating how I approached playing the bari and trying to find the sound in my head.
  • Finding a jazz clarinet mouthpiece. For the longest time clarinet has been dead last on my list of favorite woodwind instruments. But when I was in Chicago I heard some fantastic free jazz on clarinet and bass clarinet and it got me curious. I decided to set my “proper” classical persona impersonation aside and see if I liked jazz clarinet. Of course, I will still teacher my students properly, but for my own playing I’m experimenting.
  • Improving my bassoon chops. I really like the bassoon. I’d love to play jazz on it.
  • Writing. I have a number of ideas in my head that I would like to get on paper… and it varies as to the kind of idea. I’ve got everything from free improvisation melodies to jazz sax quintet ideas in my head. Who knows, maybe a big band chart or two is in there too. 🙂
  • Improvisation and learning tunes… trying to come up with the best system for me to do this. I got some good ideas this summer, just trying to find the one that works for me.

I also have a whole list of blog fodder that I would like to post… one step at a time, I guess. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to practicing. I’ll be back soon, I promise.

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