The smell of Honeysuckle is thick in the wind. The air is growing rich with humidity that makes my hair kink and my skin go damp. It is the start of an Alabama SUMMER.
I love the summer months because I can usually find the time to test reed experiments (like last summers Cane Reviews) and catch up on reading.
My favorite is when these magic moments come together with Reading and Experimenting. This should be a banner summer for both!
And I may even have a bit of extra time to recenter my artistic inner voice with a bit of meditation and fun reads.
Here’s what’s on my Summer Reading Book Shelf. Books I’ve been saving for moments when I can truly sit back and indulge, test experiments and give myself the space to process CHANGE.
A QUICK GUIDE TO BASSOON REEED TUNING by MARK EUBANKS.
I’ve already picked up Mark’s new book. As a former student of Mark I like to keep up on his thoughts, reading his work is like a refresher course for me with sprinkles of new thoughts.
On first impression, this book has many of the great ideas from his first Reed Guide. But it also includes Advanced Thoughts that I am excited to hear him speak about in person.
I’ve looked over the International Double Reed Society Conference Calendar and he will present his ideas in this book at the symposium this June.
I’d already booked my tickets as I am also set to present on Bassoon in a Digital Age: Media Marketing.
My presentation is on Tuesday, June 28th at 1:30 in case you want to catch it! If not, no worries I will add blogs and videos about my ideas covered in the presentation.
Lucky for me, Mark and I are not set to present on the same day or at the same time! Phew!
If you are interested in this book and buy a copy for yourself- I need to offer a Quick Disclaimer. Mark offers bassoon advice for high notes, a cheat by adding an extra hole in the bocal.
DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!
Hire a professional if interested in adding an extra hole to your bocal- as it will forever alter your bassoon set up.
But the reed ideas! If the ideas don’t work out for you- just make another reed. No permanent damage done.
I totally intend to give all those reed ideas that I am not using yet a try. Be sure to subscribe to my blog for updates on testing the ideas!
Bassoon Reed Making, A Pedagogic History by Christin Schillinger
The next book I am excited to add to my library has gotten quite a bit of press on the bassoon forums I follow.
Just by looking over the Table of Contents it appears this book is set to offer a history of bassoon reed pedagogy from 19th century Ozi to the Modern Methods used by Herzberg.
This will hopefully be an unveiling of the secrets that bassoonists have employed over time from around the Western World in one compact book.
Fingers crossed- my expectations and excitement level is high for this one! Especially because there is a chapter dedicated to the Secrecy of Reed Makers of the 20th Century.
Personal Thoughts on this Crazy Reed Making Secrecy: Can we just have a moment that there shouldn’t be a Need for Reed Secrecy. There isn’t a Universal Reed Method. Everyone will find what they need to fit their ensemble, their literature, and their instrument. By sharing ideas we can all learn and grow our own unique styles. It’s the artist that makes the magic and the magic is unique in all of us.
Enough said- Onto the next book.
The Bassoon by James B. Kopp
The next bassoon book on my agenda is not a Reed Making Book but a Historical Bassoon Book.
This was a recommendation by my dear friend and colleague, Keith Collins after his visit to JSU this February.
This informative and detailed discussion of the history and development of the bassoon from the Dulcian to the 19th century is a Must Have for me!
I love to have reference books that look like coffee table books at my fingertips to double check details and literally Geek Out!
Extensive Information, Glossy Pages and Beautiful Pictures to detail the discussions make the book worth the price for me.
The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett
If all of my bassoon books feel like a bit much- I think so, too. That’s why I am adding in a couple of books to keep me creatively grounded.
The first is by the illustrator Cat Bennett. This book uses yogic theory combined with drawing to help remove creative blocks.
Drawing is not a talent I currently posses by any measure. But this was a recommendation by my mother. And my mother usually knows best. 🙂
In her experience, my mom said the theories on unblocking simply work regardless of your art choice.
And after another long school year of full time teaching, gigging, blogging and reed making- it is time to dust the cobwebs from my inner voice.
I’d like to pretend that this isn’t the case. That all the work I do using my inner voice keeps in my career keeps it open and vibrant. And to some degree this is true.
But I’ve done The Artist’s Way enough times to know that it is easy to let the exhaustion take its own toll. And exhaustion combined with the normal insecurities of any artist, well it can drive the best artists off their path.
The Creative Habit, Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
Here is another book recommended by my dear mother. 🙂
As you can see my mother is also a creative and an inspiration. Her goal has been to always help me keep my inner voice vibrant. So when she recommends, I listen.
This New York Times Best Seller is said to contain 32 Practical Exercises for Building Creativity.
In researching this book I found it has been used by countless business executives. Because creativity means Out of the Box Thinking.
New solutions to Unsolvable Problems.
Just the idea and freedom of fixing the unfixable by altering my own choices, thoughts and perspective gets me giddy.
And Tharp’s book was championed as a tool to use in conjunction with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I found that one helpful in uncovering hidden goals so maybe this one will be, too!
Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler
After finishing the Parable of the Sower this Spring I am set to read the second in this series, Parable of the Talents this summer.
I was mesmerized by the first book in this series, Parable of the Sower. It takes place in an destroyed United States in 2025. The main female character is forced into leaving her safe neighborhood. The challenges she faces lead her to write perspectives about God and Change. This book altered my own perspectives in a beautiful and powerful way.
Here’s an excerpt from Parable of the Sower.
“All that you Touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth is Change.
FACEPRINT The Story of Make Up by Lisa Eldridge
At first glance it is a coffee table book, full of pretty pictures. But dig a bit deeper and it is an amazing feminist read.
I’ve lusted after this book from the moment my eyes skimmed the detailed histories of what makeup has offered to people from all ages and ethnicities on glossy thick pages.
I later fell in love reading Eldridge’s answers as to why we use make up and how the cultural perspective on beauty has shifted over time.
I’m excited to read this one from cover to cover and not just skim over the highlights when I have 15 minutes free.
Thanks for joining me through a quick look through my summer book shelf. I’d love to hear what you plan on reading this summer. I’m always looking for fresh suggestions! Let me know if you’ve read or are planning on reading any of these titles.
Happy Summer Reading and Bassoon-ing, Everybody!