I, along with a whole bunch of other double reeders, I’m sure, just received an email from Charles Double Reed Company.

Dear Patricia,
In our part of the U.S. – the North Country – winter has many meanings. Yes there’s shoveling and dangerous driving. Not so enjoyable. But, never forget that winter brings great opportunities as well. Unique playing, building: energetic fun opportunities! Just like reeds. Yes, like reeds. I know players who dread reed making, do it out of need, slog through it on their way to the good stuff – playing. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t take a radical shift in perspective to find the opportunity for enjoyment in reed making. Dive into your reed making with the same gusto you reserve for performance and discover the gifts that await you there. One of my favorite sayings with my students is this: You have a bunch of mantras you repeat to yourself such as: “I can’t do it”, which seems to be a favorite when they approach a difficult new challenge. Why choose that one? I challenge you to change your mantra today. “I can do it”, “I can enjoy this”, “I want to make this fun”, and three goods ones to begin with. But the best ones, I’m sure, are the ones you’ll discover once you get to the business of enjoying your reed making.


Yes, I know I should stop grumbling about reeds. I should just dig in there (well, not dig, exactly!) and stop my whining. But whining is so much more fun than reed making, and it tends to even get more attention (even if it’s not the kind of attention I want!). So there you go.

In Other News
Now that I had a tooth repaired, the one right behind it is giving me trouble. Wouldn’t you know? I called the dentist and he said try Advil for today, and if it bothers me later on I should come back tomorrow. Gee … two dentist visits in one week? Who could ask for anything more.

Really, though, if I have to have the other tooth repaired as well, this week isn’t too bad because Bohème isn’t stressful. (I still prefer going in when I have a week of no performances, but that would be too long to wait.) And as much as I fear the dentist, today’s procedure was actually painless. (I’m not sure I want to tell the dentist, though; why give him pleasure, eh? Okay, okay … maybe I’ll reluctantly tell him. We’ll see.)

Back to reeds …ramble over and out for now.


  1. Why do you suppose that oboe players “stress out” so much more about their reeds than bassoonists?

    Steve Welgoss, New York

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    I’ve always thought that the smaller the reed, the smaller the margin of error. I know that English horn reeds are more forgiving—and last longer!—than oboe reeds. But I know some bassoonists disagree with me.