but we don’t want their reeds to grow anything.

A friend shared a shot of her student’s bassoon reed. Can you imagine putting that into your mouth? Students do this. I’m always rather shocked!

Never store your reeds in a case that doesn’t allow them to dry out! Those plastic things they are shipped in should be tossed immediately. Brush your teeth before you play. If you are in school and don’t have time to do that, at least rinse your mouth out!

And if a reed looks like this? DUMP IT!


I had a student whose reeds grew pink junk on them. They grew it even if he only put the reed in his mouth once. We never did figure out what was up, but it had to have something to do with his particular mouth. It was so odd, and I always wanted him to send a reed to a lab to figure out what it was, but he never did. I doubt he plays any more, but I should write him sometime to ask. If he does, I wonder if that junk is still growing on his reeds!

I no longer play students’ reeds. Reed sharing is something we double reed players have done a lot of. I didn’t even think about what I was doing, to be honest! But now? No more sharing. I analyze by crow. If I can’t figure out what the issue is, so be it. I simply refuse to share any more. Some oboe instructors will think I’m ridiculous, but I really don’t care. I won’t share a toothbrush either.


  1. Please tell me that was not my son’s reed??

  2. I haven’t a clue whose reed it was, although I do know the instructor (a dear friend of mine) Sus. Hope it’s not your son’s, but if it was it has probably been destroyed by now! 🙂

    Excuse me for forgetting if we’ve met … do tell! 🙂

  3. No, we haven’t met, not that I would mind. I am an amateur adult oboist in Texas and I started following your blog when I was looking for an instructor. I hadn’t played in 20 years, and came back with some bad habits. Anyway, my son is a bassoon major at a small Texas college and I know what his reeds could look like!

  4. Let’s hope they never look like THIS one!