22. March 2014 · Comments Off on About Reeds · Categories: Ramble, Reeds

… and about the the Twitter Quote of the Day posted right below this, I have a few things to say:

A damaged reed? Toss it.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.
Always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.

Well, you get the idea … right? My studio students are required to have three working reeds in their cases at all times. (Although not all are following that policy which can drive a person batty.)

Stay ahead of the game!
We all need to stay ahead of the reed situation. If you have three working reeds in your case don’t just sit there … order the next batch! Don’t wait until all the reeds are dead.

Toss the bad reeds!
I have students come in with a reed case of broken reeds. For some reason students can’t seem to toss them. As I told a student the other day, “You have a closet full of shoes but there’s not one pair you can fit into. You will be going to school barefoot!” That’s what far too many students do with reeds. If the reed isn’t any good just toss the darn thing! Save the staple, of course, if it’s decent, in case you learn to make reeds, but otherwise either throw the darn thing away or use it for a craft project. (Oboe reed Christmas ornaments, anyone?)

Learn to adjust reeds
I know some instructors require all of their students to learn to make oboe reeds. I’m not in that camp — probably because I hate to make oboe reeds! The majority of my students have no intention of majoring in music in college. Some plan on playing during college, but that’s all. (Some don’t even plan on that and are using oboe as a “college entrance magic key” … more on THAT in a blog entry, I think.) I’ve decided that the reed equipment to make one’s own oboe reeds, and the time it takes to master reed making (Hmmm. For me that time has yet to come!) isn’t worth it for them. I know some of you will roll your eyes at that, but I just can’t bear the thought of these students, all of whom are already over busy (but that’s another blog entry!) spending hours on a craft they will really not use in the future. I do think every oboe student should learn to adjust reeds, though; even if you find a great reed supplier (and I have a few I really, really like) you will have to do adjustments on occasion. A few scrapes can turn a reed that won’t crow into a thing of beauty. Okay. Maybe not beauty, but at least the thing will work! Don’t always rely on a teacher to finish them up for you; if you go to college and plan on playing in a group there you won’t necessarily have someone to do that work for you and you might be very embarrassed when you can’t get something to work at all.

Oh … and did I mention: always have more than one playable reed in your reed case. Always.

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