Friday, April 15

Engineering Oboe Players

Well over 5000 visits, now, from 58 countries! StarPouce levé 

I wish I had something to present in order to toot my own horn, but these past few weeks have been rather busy and I've only begun to practice again last Saturday. 3 weeks absence is rooouuugh on the endurance!

Here are a few pictures of how I practice at lunch time in the truck. Last summer, before buying our vehicle, I did the same thing in a Nissan Versa: so it's not the size, but how you use it!

So instead of showing off something of my own, I'd like to pay a little tribute to you, my readers. That is, I don't know what characterizes my readership (you), but the blog is geared towards:

  1. Oboe players (other instruments too, why not?)
  2. who are probably doing something else in life and/or still in school
  3. who must overcome hurdles to enjoy the wonderful thing which is practicing the oboe!

There are many oboists in situations like mine. Some play much more actively, some play even less than me. Some have no real trouble in life, some have much worse physical impediments than mine. Mostly, everyone contributes to society through their "day jobs" in a way that is made richer for being oboists. On the good ol' BBoard, I was surprised to see a good number of engineers and other non-musical professionals posting with lots of oboistic expertise. Some of their stories are on the BBoard. Some actually gained their engineering penchant by attacking oboe mechanical problems and improving reed making equipment.

... another odd thing is that it seems a whole lot of us are composers too! Yes, I compose, or used to: but that something for another time. For the purposes of this post, it seems that there is something inherently creative about the engineering personality which expresses itself as composition, when we don our composer's hat.

Which difficulty do you choose?

Whether you become an engineer or a nurse or or a teacher of English Literature or a financial consultant and so on, you have to devote years of harsh university training and certification. If you become an auto mechanic or a home contractor/renovator or a photographer, there is still training and certification involved (often ongoing) and to a great extent the safety of your clientele, their reputation and their comfort rests in your hands. Even garbage collectors and park cleaners have a huge impact on everyone’s enjoyment of life every day. To me, people who take their profession to heart are worthy people indeed.

Professional musicians must also devote years of their life training. The training is an enjoyable journey (I should hope so) but then they face an uphill battle for their livelihood: I know, I started up the path and quit! Although engineering was very hard for me because I didn’t have the talent for math and that kind of mental processes, finding a job was much easier once I got my degrees – so essentially, I traded one difficulty for another, but with an easier payoff in the end. What is really striking are the stories of people who have continued to play all through their alternate careers (e.g. engineering, nursing, government) and have been able, this way, to become as active as some professionals in their pre/retirement days. Many were fully trained at university (or equivalent) and almost none seem to regret the path they took.

Examples of how ordinary people use all the creative resources at their disposal to do some really amazing musical things. I can also mention a Registered Nurse who also suffers chronic pain and is, nonetheless, actually returning to music as means to earn her living. Same thing for a former government employee (now music teacher) who used to be sent to many countries in sometimes hostile situations as part of the job. I don't know if the oboe contributes or benefits from it, but these people (maybe you, now or later) are actually providing benefit to the world around whether they realize it or not. Hey, maybe there's hope for me yet!

In the meantime, thank you: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Columbia, Cyprus, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Guam, Hong-Kong, Hungary, Italy, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela

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