Topic: Cracking reeds

Greetings!

I am a college student in Ohio where the weather is less than predictable.  My reeds have been fine this season, only surface cracks, but my students have been haveing horrible problems.  Both my students have just started this year and come to lessons with Jones and La Voz reeds from the local music store.  I figured that these would work well enough until I figured out a good place for them to buy quality reeds since I barely have time to make my own.  However, almost every week one of them, or both, come in with huge cracks down the blade.  One even looked like a bite had been taken out of the side.  I have asked my students if they have fallen been smashed, anything I could think of that would cause this but they claim to have just found their reeds like that.  I suggested this week to keep orange peels in their cases near their reeds to humidify the air and I have yet to see if this will do anything.  I just wanted to know if anyone else has had this sort of problems with these companies or store bought reeds in general and what you did the aliviate the problem.

Also if by chance if there is anyone here near Wooster who sells student strength reeds, that would be even better.

Fay

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Re: Cracking reeds

Beginners and reeds - and the mysteries of phantom reed damage.  It doesn't matter what instrument they play, sax, clarinet, oboe or bassoon, beginners' reeds get trashed and the student never knows how they got that way.  Well, I take that back, I actually had a student that said that the dog did it (the dog probably ate homework as well). I finally just accepted that this is a phase that all beginners, even adult beginners, go through.  It just takes time before they become aware of where the reed is in space when they are engaging in various practice activities.  Every beginner ruins a few when reed comes in contact with clothes, hair, stand or chair when they are doing something like marking the music, adjusting the stand, checking their finger position, etc. And since reeds cost money, no one is going to admit that they have any idea what happened.  If these are not adults, counsel their parents that excessive reed breakage will taper off with time and that keeping beginners supplied with reeds is just a small part of the investment they already have in the instrument and lessons.  You can give the same information to adult beginners themselves.

Good luck.

Rich Gordley

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Re: Cracking reeds

I had the same thing happen to me when I taught as an intern last year. The bad thing was that my students were thrown into a beginner band (all the other courses were full) and never really wanted to learn an instrument to begin with. Worst of all, the reeds they broke were ones that I had made!

Suffice it to say that after they have to buy their first oboe/bassoon reed they'll be a little more considerate on how they treat their reed. Even so, students will be students, and whether it's just adolescent clumsiness or an interest in the mechanics of the reed (I have no clue how many I took apart out of sheer curiosity my first year) there will likely be several accidents to come.

About 50 dollars and 4 reeds later though, most parents have "the talk" with their kids. Hold on to this happy thought! smile

"Prince, what you are, you are through the accident of birth. What I am, I am through my own efforts. There have been many princes, and there will be thousands more. But there is only one Beethoven!" - Ludwig van Beethoven

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Re: Cracking reeds

Fay,

I would recommend Sorton Reeds as a good source of reeds for your students.  He sells "student" reeds, "intermediate" reeds, and "professional" reeds.  I have ordered the professional reeds myself when the demands of my work life left me so little personal time that I was forced to choose between making reeds or practicing.  His reeds are terrific. 

The catalog/price list I have is from 2002; however, you could call to get updated information and request price lists for your students.  Bonus--he is right there in Ohio!  Here's the scoop:  The Sorton Reed Works, 5849 Lafayette Rd., Granville, OH  43023-9480, phone# (740) 587-1603, fax # (740) 587-0752.  He requests call during business hours only, M-F, 9-5.  Good luck.

Lynn

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Re: Cracking reeds

The Renard plastic bassoon reeds are not a bad option for very young or very beginning students. At least they're a lot more durable, and they are surprisingly well balanced and playable considering that they are plastic. Try them!

Paul Barrett
   -Principal Bassoonist, Honolulu Symphony
    -Lecturer in Bassoon, University of Hawaii

Re: Cracking reeds

Do they adjust their own reeds yet?  If they do, the end to end crack may have been caused by putting too much pressure on the side of the reed in an attempt to open the blades.  That's really squeezin' though!

Dean.

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

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Re: Cracking reeds

Don't blame it on the dog! A few months ago at a quintet session, Ursula, an elderly Golden Retriever who lives with our host, made off with one of my reeds (I had placed the reed case on the floor by my chair, and one reed was laid on top). I retrieved (no pun intended) the reed from Ursula, rinsed it off and it played perfectly!

David Bell, bassoon
Alexandria, VA

David Bell
Alexandria, VA
amateur bassoon and contra bassoon

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Re: Cracking reeds

Don't automatically blame the student.  Jones and LaVoz reeeds are remarkable only because the factory makes so many.  Also, coming from the local Music Store is iffy due to the fact that they may be old and very very dry.  I would suggest that you go on the internet and find a decent supplier.  Charles Double Reed, Miller Marketing, etc make student or standard models and the reeds are fresh/  Also, any new reed should be soaked in its entirity for at least 10 minutes before playing, and regularly soaked thereafter.  Also, show the student how to make minor adjustments at the first or second class.  It will double the life of the reed.

Peter Brower, Bassoon
Minneapolis MN

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Re: Cracking reeds

My students came to lessons and told me that the reeds I gave them (gifts I bought for them at the IDRS conference) cracked. I think the reason is they were soaking the new reeds by mouth and not in water. The reed soaks up unevenly and CRACK!

Dave

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