After taking Jameson to school for the vacation music tour at 5:20 in the morning, I crawled back into bed. I knew today was busy, and I knew I’d need a bit more rest. After waking and doing a bit of cleaning I had a student to teach; lots of schools have break this week, so some students cancel (how dare they go on vacations!) and some reschedule to earlier times. Then it was “catch up” time with the house (again). What a mess! Having finished lunch I leave soon for opera.

The first sitzprobe went fine, but it is more difficult than ever to hear the singers; there are more musicians in the pit, and for some reason the word of the day must have been LOUD because that’s what most players were doing. We are working with young singers. Loud isn’t a good idea unless we are all alone. Today we work with the second group, and we’ve been told that they aren’t quite as powerful as yesterday’s group. I do hope we can manage to hold back a bit. After all, Butterfly isn’t about the loud orchestra. My ears would appreciate it, too!

I’m thinking about starting a page about the reeds I purchase. I am always on the lookout for reeds that would be reliable for my students. Heck, I’ll use them myself if I’m able. (Yes, I have no pride.) So I may start a “Reed Assessment Page”, on which I’d include information about how long the reeds take to arrive, the “playability” right out of the box, and any other information I think would be useful. I’m guessing some reed makers may not be too happy with me … I can’t lie and say I liked something that didn’t work for me! I do ask reeders here to be understanding, though: reeds are so personal, and what doesn’t work for me might be heavenly for you!

Well, off to work I go ….

13. April 2007 · Comments Off on Reed Assessment · Categories: imported

It’s time I bite the bullet, buy some handmade reeds, and WRITE about them here, for all my readers. Yes, I do make reeds, but I don’t like to, and I think I’m the World’s Worst Reed Maker™ (I’ve just learned to play well on bad reeds, sad but true.) Yes, I’d play on someone else’s reeds if I could find some that worked for me! But this is primarily for all the readers/reeders who are looking for the answer to reed hell. (I’m sorry to say I actually don’t believe there IS a perfect answer, other than spending your entire lifetime making reeds, but oh well!)

This endeavor will be ongoing, and I’ll list the newest purchase at the top of the page. Ordered 3 Pro (med hard), $14.50 each, $3 shipping, April 12
Shipped April 19 (?), Received April 27
Reeds shipped in plastic tubes; the reeds are paperclipped to the tubes
#1: 68 mm long, crows a 2 octave B flat, no rails, plays A-429 (yikes!), dull tone
#2: 69 mm, crows one octave A flat, no rails, plays A-430, dull tone
#3: 69 mm, crows 2 octave very flat C, no rails, plays A-438, sound a bit more live, but not much

NOTE: Angela was distressed to hear that the reeds didn’t work at all, and is shipping out more. This is what we call good service! 🙂 Stay tuned for an update on the new reeds.

Karen Hill Peet Pro Reed (from Charles Music) Ordered 2 Pro reeds, April 12
Shipped April 12, Received April 14
Reeds shipped in hinged lid containers

Pro reed #1: $20; 73mm (!?); fake cork; Crow: C#s: very chirpy, thin and wild; very easy to play (more like a student reed?); A-443; not much of a heart left
Pro reed #2: $20; 71mm; fake cork; leaks; Crow: slightly sharp C: wild; thin sound; A-439
***I can’t help but wonder if two different reed makers made these reeds, as they look so very different

ReedMonster: Ordered 3 reeds, April 2
Shipped April 10, Received April 13
Reeds shipped in hinged lid containers
(taped shut, but still slighty ajar)
Pro Reed: $19; 68.5mm; real cork; Crow: Cs; slipped blades look as if they’ll continue slipping; wrapped slightly crooked; reed not quite playable out of container; top edge of one blade is cracked and will have to be removed; A-442
Student Reed: $14; 68.5mm; fake cork; Crow: slightly low Cs; very chirpy, plays sharp, might be workable for younger players
“Almost” Reed: $12; 72mm; fake cork; Crow: sharp C#; lots of resistance (expected for an unfinished reed, but it seems more like “just started” rather than “almost”)


13. April 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

The fact that someone doesn’t appreciate classical music doesn’t make them stupid or inartistic or unappreciative of music in general. It simply means they’re not interested in it. And while I happen to find this sad (because I do find beauty in these styles) I don’t think it’s a national crisis. Excellent musicianship, composition, and/or the ability to move people with aural combinations of sound are not the exclusive domain of classical music no matter how much some people would have you think so.

blog entry from Behind Blue Eyes


13. April 2007 · Comments Off on Vladimir Ashkenazy to Sidney Symphony · Categories: imported, News

Principal oboist of the Sydney Symphony, Diana Doherty, sums up the musicians≠ opinion of their new maestro: “The orchestra plays really well for him…He’s such a down to earth, humble person. When he’s finished conducting he just puts his arms down and looks at everyone as if to say “Hey, we did it! Yippee≠. You never get the feeling he’s doing anything for the appearance of it. It’s all very much felt, very much from the heart.”

Well … he’ll be there for a whopping eight weeks each year. Guess it’s better than nothing …?

I wish them well. If the oboist—and she’s a fantastic oboist!—likes him, it must be right and good, yes? 😉

13. April 2007 · Comments Off on Symphonic Music … · Categories: imported, News

… in Iran.

Musician Mohammad Sarir is convinced that the passion for composing symphonies is mounting, and that this is leading to the over-looking of Iran’s musical values.

“Iranians are not fond of symphonies, and yet composing them is time-consuming and involves complicated techniques, therefore the composer’s endeavor is often unappreciated”, remarked Sarir.

Read the article.

13. April 2007 · Comments Off on MQOD · Categories: imported, Quotes

…performing musicians don’t get to enjoy the experience the way audiences do. For example: if we wallow in the sadness of a sad piece, or the exultation of an exultant piece, it’s liable to distract us from the things we have to concentrate on in order to communicate that sadness or exultation to the listener.

-Matthew Guerrieri (entire blogpost here)