I've been working hard on these next roll-outs. You probably know from reading this blog that I've been running an Oboe Reed Boot Camp every summer since 2012, and that a couple of years ago I started offering Reeding Circles - social reed-making get-togethers - each month during the year.
The limitation, in both cases, is location. There's not a huge mass of oboists where I live, and it's hard to get a large enough group together - anywhere, really - to make a traveling Boot Camp worthwhile, though I do love the concept. (Do you have five or more interested oboists and a free weekend? Get in touch!)
But there is a need. People do have questions, and frustrations. Reedmaking and teaching are things I am good at. How, I wondered, could I help people beyond my own students and my own community?
There are two ways, I think. One is a series of video lessons on reed-making. I'm calling it The Five Minute Reedmaker, and I'll be releasing one video each week on You Tube and at some point soon connecting those to my own website as well. You can see the first few of them here.
You will note that they are very low-tech - but that's part of their charm, right? You can tell I'm a real person because although my reed skills are real, my videography kind of stinks. That said - if you can't see what I'm doing or if you have questions, let me know! I want to be helpful. What other topics would you like to see?
The other, and the thing I am most excited about, is Reed Repair Shop. Who among us, Oboists, has not hit a brick wall at some point in our reed making? Who has not found themselves staring at a case full of reeds that all seem to have the same problem that nothing fixes? Or, to flip it, has made six reeds that all look and feel DIFFERENT, and wondered what one consistent mistake has caused all of the craziness?
I've been there. Sometimes an outside eye is all you need. Often there's one piece of advice that solves all of your problems. Or an observation that you could not have made because you are too close to the problem, and too frustrated. Sometimes you just need some nonjudgmental feedback from someone else. I can be that someone.
Reed Repair Shop should be the next best thing to a one-on-one session. Send me three representative reeds that you have made and don't love. I will look at them, give you my impressions, work to improve them, and capture this process on video for you to see. I will send them back to you, hopefully improved, with advice to take you forward.
Why three? I figure that any one reed can be irredeemably bad. Bad cane, bad gouge, bad shape, a single bad mistake. It might not be your fault at all, and my diagnosis might not solve your bigger problem. But three reeds that you've made are going to show your scraping habits, the areas you consistently mishandle, or SOMETHING consistent that we can talk about, and three reeds should be enough to draw a larger lesson from.
How does it work? You order online, and I will send you shipping materials, postage paid. When I receive your reeds, I'll make time within a week to diagnose them, fix what I can, and put together a video. I'll mail the reeds back and post the video to YouTube.
My preference is to post that video publicly, so that others can learn from your session, too - but I don't need to use your real name if you don't wish. Reeds feel so personal! I can preserve your privacy and keep your secrets...
These new innovations are live now - Reed Repair Shop is available on my website, and my first two Five Minute Reedmaker videos are on YouTube.
Let me know what you think!