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Showing posts from December, 2017

Reed Repair Shop: Commercial Reeds

Commercially made reeds - those profiled-cane, shinily-wound Jones and Lesher and Emerald Reeds - have their place. They are designed for beginners, or for young players, or for players that don’t have reed-making skills of their own or a private teacher where they live.  And there are thousands of people who fall into that category.  These reeds are designed to be relatively affordable, and they are designed to WORK, immediately out of the box.

But they are not meant to sound GREAT, and they are not 100% conistent, and they are certainly not meant for an advancing player to make beautiful, nuanced music on. 

The ideal answer is to make your own reeds, or work with a good teacher who can help you by supplying reeds at the appropriate strength or by working on what you have - but there are plenty of scenarios in which you might find yourself holding a store-bought reed AND possessing high oboe standards, and wanting to make the one thing match the other.  Maybe you ARE a teacher, and y…

Five Minute Reedmaker: Finishing Tips and Tricks

After you get to the point where your reed has structure, symmetry, and balance, and you still don’t quite like it, what then?  What can you do to fix problems like Too Hard, Too Easy, Too Sharp, and Too Flat? 

The Five Minute Reedmaker offers tips and tricks.  (My favorite ones are at the end!)


Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until the end of the year.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 
Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Five Minute Reedmaker: U vs. W

A student asked me as we were making reeds together whether I use a U or a W scrape.  I didn’t immediately know the answer, so I quickly ran the experiment and discovered that it makes a BIG difference!

Today I’m going to talk about this distinction - which was not one I’d given any thought to before it solved my own problem this past month.

UPDATE: I was asked for a quick video demonstrating this technique more thoroughly, and it is HERE.  Thanks for the request, Sameer!





Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until the end of the year.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

The Pleasure in Doing It

Sometimes I just like having run. After your shower and your coffee it feels good to have run, earlier in the day, and to feel that gentle ache and tiredness in the muscles that comes from having used your body productively. I don't always enjoy running while it's happening, and I HATE the snow.

But running in the snow is such a pleasure.  It's exhilarating.  It's freeing.  It feels like being a kid again, with the icy wind in your face and the triumphant feeling of doing something all by yourself.  Anyone can go out for a jog when it's 65 and sunny, but I was out this morning, in 22 degree weather, with the snow all blowing up in my face, and I met another woman running  - and as we passed each other we both raised our arms like Rocky and cheered for each other, and for ourselves, just filled with the
gleefulness of being in the club. The club of crazies.

This pleasure, the joy of winter running, is hard to come by.  It's HARD to power through the resistance …

Five Minute Reedmaker: The Weather

If you live in a place with seasons, you will notice dramatic changes in your reeds a couple of times a year.  (I'm sure I write about this twice a year, EVERY year - but I found one post HERE for sure) Changes that require some fundamental reworking.  I find that I struggle with these every year, but when I got a request from Dean to make this video I got my act together and came up with some strategies that may help you - and ME - in future seasonal shifts.



Here's the YouTube playlist with all of my other Five Minute Reedmaker videos.  You could subscribe right there if you wanted to - I'm dropping a video each week until the end of the year.
Here's my website, where you can order reeds or cane or ask me questions.  Questions will keep these videos flowing! 

Here's how you can send me your own reeds to analyze and improve on video for your learning pleasure!

Projection

I heard a student's sophomore recital last week, and noticed that although she played all of the notes and technique well, chose appropriate tempos, and used her own reed - which is all FANTASTIC for a sophomore - her playing was small and felt static from where I sat in the audience.  This surprised me - in lessons I find her a lovely player who makes real musical shapes. Then, this past week, I had a college conductor speak to me about another of my students - he's sounding great, he said, but it needs to be bigger.  I was surprised.  This student did not appear to me to have a small sound. 

Then I realized that it was once again time to talk about Projection. 

Projection, according to Merriam Webster, means:  control of the volume, clarity, and distinctness of a voice to gain greater audibility. 

When you tell a student to play more, to project, the most frequent thing that happens is they blow harder.  They get red in the face trying to play louder.  They yell, metaphorica…