04. March 2009 · 1 comment · Categories: Ramble, Reeds

One thing that some people might not realize (unless you play a wacky double reed) is that we have to have a number of reeds for a number of reasons.

Reeds do wear out, so of course there’s that. (Kind of the “big duh” eh?) In addition, they crack, sometimes unexpectedly (some I can kind of guess are actually on their way to a crack, but I suspect that’s because I am not careful enough when I’m carving them). I’ve been known to bash reeds against my teeth even while I warn students of this (yeah, silly me). And reeds change; as I tell students, most reeds are either on their way up, getting better, or they are on their way out the door. The reed peak time is usually very short.

And then there’s the room. I make my reeds in my studio at home. But the making doesn’t stop there. When I get into the pit or on the stage I have to fuss with them some more, because they really have to be “fit for the room”. I recently played in a room that required an entirely different reed than any I had planned on playing. Only my easiest and close to dead reeds worked at all. Everything else felt entirely stiff and unresponsive. I didn’t like the reeds I had to use, but they were my only choice. “Learn to play well on bad reeds” is a motto I follow.

And you wonder why I complain about reeds. Hah!

1 Comment

  1. Ah. Reeds. We live in a constant state of flux. And especially so when our temperatures and humidity swing like pendulums! Right now I am living in buzzy land. Yuch.