Well, I did a crazy thing last month. I purchased an oboe d'Amore.
What do I want to do with it? Well, try to tame it in the first place. There's the breathing issue and the reed issue and the fingers issue and all that.
I suffer from asthma, so a few years ago when I purchased a new oboe, I needed one that was free blowing and reeds that were kind of soft. Reed making was never my favorite thing to do, so I talked to a fellow oboe player who was also trying to return to the instrument. She was suffering from lyme disease. Because of her physical limitations, she had started to use ready made reeds and had purchased an oboe that was easier to play than her Loree from when she was actively playing.
I thought that was a great idea, given the amount of time as well as the amount of money I had to invest in reeds. Reedmaking takes about half of an oboe players time, and I wanted to just play and not whittle so much. I still have to adjust the reeds, but that's not so bad.
The Fox 300 I purchased is an asthmatic's dream oboe. Yes, you lose some projection and richness, but it sounds very nice. It has all the bells and whistles of any professional oboe. Also, I don't have to worry about it cracking, like my old oboe did.
Now the d'Amore is a different animal, but not too different. My asthma is much better than it was a few years ago. Our little Cocker Spaniel, Sam, has been gone about 3 years, now. Our parakeets died a year or so ago. So, we are pet free. They were our daughter's pets, but all parents know how that goes. I made some other changes in bedding and stuff like that, and it has made a huge difference.
So, I thought maybe I could fill up a larger oboe made of Grenadilla. Man, I have to work hard to build up stamina - which is a good thing. It's coming along, but that part surprised me. I never had problems with the English Horn when I played it in college, but that was how long ago, now?
This is very good for me in so many ways.
I may have to break down and start making my own. The reeds I purchased for the d'Amore are not very well made. I have to practically remake them anyway. We shall see.
Of course, for an oboe player, it's always the reed, the reed, the reed... :-) What a bunch of whiners we are!
Stubborn little things. They have to learn new positions, but not new fingerings. Old dogs always have trouble learning new tricks, but my sisu will prevail.
Sisu is what makes Finns sit in a hot sauna and then go jump in a frozen lake. So, it makes us do crazy things.
"Sisu is a Finnish word generally meaning determination, bravery, and resilience."
My goal with all of this? Okay, so now comes the really weird part. I want to play Gospel blues oboe. My muse is Mahalia Jackson.
Also, I have been playing my regular oboe in the worship team at our church. I love that, since I get to improvise my own parts. It's getting so I don't really need the lead sheet, so I am slowly weaning myself away from the printed page. Of course, the worship songs are straight, so it is easier for me to get into it.
The blues are a different genre, of course. We shall see. I'm trying to record something every day on Sound Cloud. That keeps me motivated. Also, I can check my progress.
Another thing I want to do is learn the d'Amore parts to Bach's works. A book is coming in the mail and is supposed to arrive on Christmas Eve.
Never too late to dream new dreams and try new things. You never know where they may lead.