28. April 2007 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

Last night, prior to the opera, I had this glib little conversation with some colleagues. I’m not sure how we go on to the subject of reeds, but I tossed out my little story about a coaching session I once had with a principal player of the San Francisco Symphony. (This was years ago.) The minute I stepped into his house I said my usual, “I have awful reeds,” and his response was, “So learn how to play on bad reeds.” Of course he’s right, and I often explain this to students; there will be days that we will have only bad reeds. We still have to play well. We can’t make excuses. My motto really is, “Play well on bad reeds. Or else.”

But isn’t it somewhat mysterious, frightening, distressing and … well … I could go on … that after saying that last night I get into the pit and find that my reeds are misbehaving?

Yes. Yes it is.

Thank you to Ruth for writing to me to say that my pathetic posts (no, she didn’t use the word pathetic!) on my reed woes are actually encouraging. I am guessing there are some professional musicians who never worry about reeds, but I’m certain there are a lot of players who just won’t talk about it. I prefer to be honest about this whole business. You may as well know the truth.

But still, I did play well on my reeds last night … or so I’ve been told. So I guess I’m managing to follow my motto!
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