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Reed Mindset

In our dress rehearsal Saturday morning I became aware of just how GREAT my reed was. It felt so EASY to play the oboe.  I could come in perfectly softly, with or without a strong attack.  I could enter loudly and in tune, with or without accent.  My pitch was centered, my tone was attractive.  I could taper right off the ends of notes EXACTLY as I needed to.  And all of these things just felt RIGHT.  It’s so unusual to have a reed that I didn’t have to MANAGE, that I didn’t have to keep an awareness of in the back of my head, that I didn’t have to massage in certain registers or dynamics.  I could just THINK a musical gesture and then DO it, without compromise.  It was a fantastic feeling.

RIGHT IMMEDIATELY behind that awareness of my great reed came anxiety.  How terrible would it feel when I inevitably had to return to a lesser reed?  When this one died?  How could I ever make something THIS GOOD again?  WHAT IF my concert reed tonight was LESS GOOD, could I perform as well as I was doing right now? Should I put this amazing reed aside and SAVE it?  What if this moment is the peak reed moment of my life and everything else forever afterward is worse? 


I recognized it right away because of all the mindset books I’ve been reading.  Letting myself feel tension about the GOOD REED that I was ENJOYING playing on and playing as well as I ever have?  That is ridiculous.  And so I stopped myself.  Identifying the thought made it go away.  I just enjoyed that reed for the whole rest of the rehearsal.  I relaxed into the goodness. 

Sometimes, the oboe IS easy, and the reed IS good, and there is no reason for me to ruin those times by thinking about the other ones.  

I can empower myself by remembering that I am fully equipped to deal with the rough times.  I make reeds well and fast, I adjust them as needed, and I know how to make things work in a suboptimal situation.  Reeds are an abundant and renewable resource.  I can have another one anytime.  

This is what it means to be Invincible.  

Sometimes, like this weekend, I also get Lucky, and that’s a thing to be grateful for. 


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