Aegean Reeds style … this isn’t how we all do it, but it’s great fun to watch!

(Have I posted this already? I can’t remember!)

05. January 2013 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online, Reed Making

So I’ve been playing oboe for a year and been on a medium reed. Is there anything higher than this, or is medium where it stops?
I’m fairly good, I practice an hour a day. My favorite medium reed just died a couple days ago and I have to get a new one, and I am just curious.
Thank you!

I tend to roll my eyes at reed strengths. I roll them especially with machine made reeds. There is some sort of assumption that if you make reeds exactly the same their strength will be the same. Trouble is, we are dealing with plant life. Pieces of cane are not identical. This is one reason we have to know how to work on reeds. You could order 10 medium reeds and find that some feel hard and some feel soft.

I have very few students who make reeds. Try as I might, I can’t convince them to get to it. I must admit, though, that I don’t push it. Unless I have a student who is planning on majoring in music I tend to be somewhat relaxed about the issue. I suppose this is due to the fact that I absolutely despise making reeds. Heck, I’d never make another reed in my life if I could get away with it!

Get a load of this “adjustable staple”. Copied directly from the site:

Fantastic new design by Chiarugi. This set has five tips and adjustable bases in 45mm, 46mm, 47mm and 48mm. Designed for players who work internationally, the base of the staple can be changed to accommodate the need to play at different pitches. The bore of the staple is the 2+, so it is the same as Howarth and Rigoutat branded staples. These staples are a quality product well worth the investment.

Gee, I like this idea!

You can order them here.

But of course I’ll say it anyway!

The closer I get to a concert, the worse my reeds feel.

Yep. I’m hating my reeds. Tonight I have a recital at UCSC and tomorrow is Opera San José’s opening night for La traviata.

I’m not sure if it’s psychological, or if I really do have worse reeds when I near a concert. I’m guessing it’s the former. But who cares about the why of it all. It just IS, and I have to deal. So today I’m working on reeds, and hoping a miracle occurs. Truth of it is, though, that I rarely trust a brand new reed, and I’m sure I’ll end up dealing with older ones. The recital is only one piece, and I have a reed I think will get me through even though it’s not stellar. I’ve been using three and sometimes four reeds a night for opera, in my continued search for ones that sound and feel good. I don’t have much in the opera, but I do have a one solo and a few other things that are heard that make for scary times if I don’t like my reed(s).

Last night was our final dress rehearsal. I (foolishly?) walked seven miles during the day, and then I had two students. By the time I started the opera my brain was rather fried. I played wrong notes (fortunately in places that no one other than a couple of people around me would notice). I felt unfocussed. I thought I sounded abominable. I realize I’m my worst critic but still ….

Okay … back to reeds now. I just felt the need to vent!

If only reed making took just think long, eh? (But doesn’t he have a lovely sound?)

… and hey, that’s how I open my tips! (But not until I’ve thinned the tip a bit. I’ve seen other oboists cringe when they see me doing that.)

Here is a portion of a Master Class by Leloux:

These videos are to promote playwithapro.com. I need to investigate the site a bit. It appears you can purchase masterclasses, but I’m not seeing the price there. (I’m probably just missing it somehow.) I’d certainly be interested in watching them if the price isn’t too prohibitive.

08. September 2011 · Comments Off on Wonderful Video of Mingjia Liu · Categories: Reed Making, Videos

Are you interested in what an oboist does? Check this fabulous video out!

Tired yet?

I hear Mingjia when Dan and I attend San Francisco Opera, and I can tell you he is one magnificent musician!

You can also see Deb Shidler, Peter Lemberg, and Janet Archibald in the opera orchestra. I see them from a great distance as we sit in our Dress Circle seats to enjoy the opera. I have the best seat in the house, from my own opera pit, but I love my dress circle seat too.

Well, okay … not quite!

28. May 2011 · Comments Off on Reed Making in Houston · Categories: Announcements, Reed Making

I just received these and have been asked to put them up here. Obviously it’s too far away for me, but perhaps I have some Houston readers (reeders)?:

Learn some basic reed making skills, and/or renew your skills and/or
simply get advice about where to from this point.
Thu June 2nd 6:30-8:30 Early Skills tying, knots and knife sharpening
Thu June 16th 6:30-8:30 Scraping, tying clipping finishing (and review)
Thu June 23rd 6:30-8:30 More scraping, proportions, getting a
crow…sounds, finishing (and review)
Thu June 30th 6:30-8:30 Crows, tone, pitch…will it play? finishing
July to be announced on demand….hopefully you will all be making
wonderful reeds by then. Dr. Leek will supply 3 gouged,shaped folded
pieces of cane per student per class, and will inform you where to buy
it on your own and lend supplies until you have all you need. The cost
is $55 per class , a discount if you buy all of them. ($200).
Registration accepted until the last minute if we have not reached
capacity (8 people), but early birds are prefered. All classes will be
at my house, call (713.440.6766) or e-mail ([email protected]) with
questions. If you register, Dr. Leek will send you the supplies list.
Many already have “reed kits” which are OK to start.
Teachers: your students are very welcome! Please warn them that I have
dogs,cats and a bird.

Dr. Leek (BM, MM, DMA Julliard) Associate principal, Houston Symphony;
former member, Pittsburgh Symphony; winner, Geneva International Music
Competition; soloist, New York Philharmonic; concertized and recorded
with Boston Symphony and St. Louis Symphony; recordings on DGG, Koch
Schwann and Gramola; European duo tours with Christoph Eschenbach.

and then this:

Hi All, I have had the good luck to be able to arrange a great
opportunity for all of us: MAKE REEDS WITH THE TOP TEXAS PLAYERS !!!
Each teacher will present a reed making session,
explain choices, equipment and show “how to do it” we will sit at
tables with our prepared blanks and attempt to make a reed in the
style of each player.
Tuesday May 31st Erin Hannigan Principal
Oboist of the Dallas Symphony 6-8pm at my house

Wednesday June 8th Robert Atherholt, retired
Principal Oboist of the Houston Symphony, prof at Rice, 7-9pm at Rice
in his studio

Wednesday June 15th Colin Gatwood 2nd oboist of
the Houston Symphony 7-9 at my house

Wednesday June 22nd Adam Dinitz English
Hornist of the Houston Symphony 7-9 at my house

the cost will be $65 for a 2 hour session, 5% discount if you buy
all of them. The checks should be made out to me. My address is 3223
Milburn St Houston 77021
RESERVATIONS STRONGLY RECOMMENDED as we will have limited space!
Hope you join us for this unique opportunity. Please pass this on to
anyone you think might enjoy this, thanks
Anne (713-440-6766)

The English Horn reed is a thin strip of synthetic material that is used as a mouthpiece. The act of tying a reed refers to reshaping it, or using a knife to scrape away small pieces of the reed. This makes the reed more stable and reduces the amount of time that it takes to break in and produce the notes with accuracy and clarity.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Sharpen your knife with another knife by scraping the blades together. This is extremely important for tying the reed.

I read this here

29. October 2010 · Comments Off on Liang Wang On Reeds · Categories: Reed Making

“To make a good oboe reed, first, it’s a sharp knife, second it’s a sharp knife and third it’s a sharp knife. Therefore I’m extremely conscientious with how sharp my knife is. Usually if I do have a sharp knife I know the reed is probably going to be okay.”

And did you hear that high C? I’m not talkin’ the high C we all play … but higher.