We're two weeks into the quarter and I'm already one performance in. This past Friday was the Oregon Jazz Ensemble concert at The Jazz Station downtown. That is a small venue, probably great for combos and little big bands, but with a full 14 horns and rhythm section, the first row of seats had to be removed in order for our ensemble to perform. It is a ton of fun being back in a big band playing baritone saxophone regularly and I can't wait to hear what this band can do for the rest of this quarter and academic year. Despite being a loud gig, it was a great way to start the series of concerts for the year and my time at the university.
Wind ensemble is pushing through quite nicely. There has been some confusion in the bassoon section with the pieces we have, and the extra we added, but we think that's all sorted out. I will still be playing bassoon and contrabassoon. Saxophone is a brand new adventure for the institution and being taught by a fellow graduate student. I'm back on bass sax which means I'm always on and my lungs are tired, but I'm glad I get to use that monstrosity. It needs a new case though; one that closes and stays closed would be quite the upgrade. My saxophone quartet is the ensemble I'm enjoying the most so far though. More time on baritone saxophone, but working with the classical setup. We're working on a good variety of music and seem to be getting along together well after our first four rehearsals. Hopefully we'll be performing this term!
Lessons are the biggest reason for me to return to school. All seem to be going well. Between weeks one and two lessons, each teacher seemed to be satisfied with my progress. I don't know if that will still be the case this coming week with feeling under the weather since Thursday and not getting in to practice all weekend. In flute land my tone already sounds a ton better with just a handful of tips. I'm also enjoying actually working one some music on flute rather than my typical reading etudes/pieces and not returning to them again; this method obviously make progress more apparent. For saxophone I feel the most pressure because that's where more of my studies from my undergrad were. Getting back into the practice room and working on new rep is pretty exciting. Scale studies aren't as far behind as I expected despite adding on arpeggios which I had rarely worked on previously. Bassoon life is interesting with that being my primary and my current rep list being just a handful of pieces. Our plan this term will including working through a ton of repertoire that I would have gotten through if I had been a bassoon performance student for my bachelors degree. Twenty new pieces checked out from the library are now in my possession (shown here) and will hopefully be close to performance ready in the remainder of the term.
Balancing practice time for those lessons and ensembles is proving to be quite hard. I'm shooting for five days a week on each, at least. Being ill and missing these last four evenings didn't help. Next big performance is in three weeks with the wind ensemble preceded by bassoon studio performance. Later in the quarter will be another bassoon studio performance, as well as a solo act and quartet performance in saxophone studio, and one in flute studio as well. Week 8 has a jazz ensemble concert, wind ensemble concert, clarinet studio concert (which may include clarinet choir), and ends with masterclasses on saxophone and bassoon in the same day as each other. All of that is going to sneak up real fast while also working on a research paper for class. The fact that I have three juries to go with three sets of lessons is a good motivator to keep me getting those practice sessions in.
In the coming weeks, some quick clips from practice sessions may start appearing in my instagram @rkrishnanmusic to track some progress (and to keep be constantly accountable). Now to rest and recover to survive four more weeks until a quick Disney runaway.