Monday, February 7, 2011

Ear splitting notes

Except for the lowest notes on the sax, I have worked up my embouchure to play for 20 something minutes across the range of the horn. However, I picked up the flute over the weekend rather than the saxophone to run through my Patterns of Jazz workbook practice. It is a modern classic in music theory study published in 1970 that I did not rehearse with fidelity. However, I do have sufficient scale proficiency to play across the entire "circle of fifths"scale progressions.

It is still much easier to play the flute than the sax due to the pressure of the mouthpiece on my inner, upper lip, though I produce a much better sound on the sax. [I don't bite the mouthpiece like some players do.] The lower notes are breathy and the highest notes are shrill. It is the latter I experimented with after wondering how one of the exercises would sound in the upper register. Finding a fingering on the chart helped me produce one note (highest G?) much clearer and I stayed with the exercise in the upper register.

When I stopped I notice louder ringing than usual. My last such encounter was over Thanksgiving when my earplug slipped out of place in my left ear while using the chainsaw. I took some time to recover from that escalation back down to the persistent but familiar whine I am familiar with. Without a bell and playing at the top of the tube, the screechy notes are pushing some high decibels. High, chirpy passages for Afro-Cuban jazz pieces are out of the question, though I might try protecting the left ear...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cold Day Off

Greetings, SQkids

Frozen rain yesterday coated the roads before any snow fell,  then the growing chill kept them slick. Rather than expose the children to the elements, or the buses to extra wear and tear, the district called off work and school for all. Cheers!

The sun IS coming out. Even more than usual is the mild seasonal paradox of bone chilling cold on bright, sunny days. "It's the TILT, stupid."To which I can only reply, I hope the Egyptian people topple Mubarik.

Did I share the  recent Squid Fest with you?  Since most of you were there, take a moment to reflect and leave me alone. Really, though, the gatherings are always something to look forward to and more fun than a road trip since any bickering is less intense, the food is fresh, and a bathroom is only a few steps away.

Mary and I are going back to the ranch Friday 18 February after we attend a "Thompson Education Foundation" breakfast. Someone nominated me for the "administrative, technical and professional" (APT) educator of the year. My first reaction was to delete the TEF breakfast invitation, then the "you've been nominated" invitation, but Mary convinced me to attend and to RSVP for both of us.

I have been more cynical, even sardonic about such recognition, but lately the news met an unfulfilled need or sign that anyone cared about what I was doing. So I replied to all that "I already felt like a winner being included among such good company" or some such remark and stifled the urge to repeat the Grouch derision of club membership that included himself or any reference to a "mutual admiration society"...