Showing posts with label Oboe Reeds. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oboe Reeds. Show all posts

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Don't Make OBOE REEDS in a Bubble!


As I say time and time again, making oboe reeds is often an experiment, and changing one variable at a time will provide you with a cheap education and useful clues to improve your reedmaking results.

Even though it is important you change only one variable at a time, always keep your EYE on the bigger picture and be thinking, analyzing and scheming about other ways to solve your problem.

In other words, while you have one "experiment" going (like trying a new shape to see if it helps bring down your pitch a little bit), use your detective skills to view the same problem from a different perspective and work to solve it in a less technical way.

I suppose you could just try one equipment experiment after another and hope to solve things that way, but I always like the "detective on overdrive" approach and leave no stone unturned when searching for a solution. I do my best to get out of my "oboe bubble" and try to reevaluate everything I am doing with fresh eyes.

For example, let's take the ever-popular issue of playing sharp. You know, the problem that seems like it just came out of nowhere.

First, REALLY think back and remember when you started to notice that your pitch was high. Was there a weather change, or anything really obvious like that?

Ask yourself some other questions.....

When was the last time you bought a knife? How old is your oboe? Is your oboe sealing well?

There are so many little things that can contribute to a larger problem like playing sharp. Luckily, most of the little things are relatively easy to solve.

So while you are trying a new shaper tip, spend some time playing around with how much oboe reed you put in your mouth while you are practicing. What happens to the pitch now? Or compare the pitch of your best friend's brand new oboe to yours.

Even though I still stand by my philosophy of changing only one variable at a time when making oboe reeds, you can still learn a lot of other things in the midst of your one "experiment." Making oboe reeds in a bubble and believing that problems are caused by only ONE factor is a foolproof recipe for oboe reed frustration.

Even if the shaper tip does end up helping your pitch problem, there are lots of other things that YOU can do to improve it as well.

Making oboe reeds really is an ART. If it was as simple as x + y = z = great oboe reed, then ANYBODY could do it. If solving a pitch problem was as easy as just making 74mm reeds, then NO ONE would ever play sharp.

But that just isn't true. Playing the oboe and making good reeds is always a combination of a whole host of factors working together.

It is very similar to being a good healer. If someone comes to you with an earache, you don't (in my opinion) just prescribe drugs for them. You look at the whole person and see what their life is like and how everything in it is working together (or not). It is really the same with making oboe reeds.

There is rarely one easy fix or answer when you take into account everything that an oboist is, and everything his/her reeds are.

Get out of your reedmaking bubble and make sure you get a good view of the larger picture - how everything is working together.

Your oboe reeds and your playing will reap the rewards.

    By Maryn Leister
      Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.
      She is the owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters. Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.

      Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away. Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips!
      Article Source:
      EzineArticles





Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Your Search for the Perfect OBOE REED

This might sound crazy coming from someone that owns a reed making business, but the best reeds for you are the ones you'll make yourself. At MKL Reeds and Oboe:Space, we get many questions about finding the ideal reed and what we think the "best" scrape is.

As an oboist, you'll always be striving to make better reeds. But without sounding too zen... the answer is already in you. What you need in a reed is unique and depends upon you, your personality and the way you play. There is no "best" or "right" reed for everyone, no matter who you are.
Even when you make your own reeds, your own definition of the ideal reed should change and evolve with the musical situation you are in.There are a few qualities that MUST be present in a reed, no matter whose it is or where you get it, or even what "kind" of scrape it is.

A good, functioning reed of any kind RESPONDS and is STABLE.
When those 2 core qualities are present, the other benefits that come along for the ride are plentiful. In my opinion, having response and stability (most often) takes care of pitch and even results in helping produce a respectable tone because the reed is both easy to play and is holding together properly.

Oboe Reeds


Before I think or do any kind of detailed scraping, however, my reeds must have these core qualities. It must respond when I want it to and it must hold together no matter where in my mouth I put it or how I choose to blow. Getting to this stage of the game in reedmaking takes skill and practice, but is pretty much the same from reed to reed (assuming I continue to use consistent materials, like shape and gouge, and also that your gouge is good and centered).

I don't know if other reedmakers actually think of reedmaking this way, but I would venture to guess that even without thinking about it, these are the core qualities "everyone" goes for initially. Thinking about RESPONSE and STABILITY first keeps me focused. I strongle recommend not going for any more "detail" until you have these 2 qualities in your reed. This will make sure that you have a strong foundation for a good, consistent, dependable reed. These are the reeds that we strive to sell to our customers at MKL
Reeds.
Now that we've covered the basics, things can get more personal...

The "best" reed for you enters next, when you start applying your own personal tastes, preferences and habits. Unless you find someone who plays JUST like you do and has exactly the same oral physiology and uses their air the exact same way you do (you will never find that person), then the "best" reed for you is the one that you make for yourself.
It's that simple.
Commercial reeds satisfy the basic needs of oboe players, but in most cases can't don't and shouldn't go beyond that. I won't argue that you may find some really great reeds for yourself out there, but I'd still say that even the great reeds you find could be surpassed with your own reedmaking efforts.
So beyond response and stability, what goes into making not just a good, but a really great reed? We'll save the importance of a good gouge for another time, because that is a big topic. But besides having a great gouge, (which in itself is a quest and an art) you need the shape that works for you.

There are tons of things to consider when choosing a shape, and you'll only find what's right for you through experimentation. The right shape for you will "fit" with your gouge and offer you things in a reed that you might never have thought about. You might discover that what feels really good to YOU is to have a reed that is slightly wider, allowing you to feel slightly "under" at first. Then you find either you like that feeling because your air gets you up to pitch perfectly, or you might make a note of this and use this shape for making the "best" reed for playing with that church organ pitched at 438.

You might find a gouge/shape combo that makes amazingly focused, smallish reeds that are "best" for chamber music. There might be yet another combo that makes the most perfect low-register reeds for that second-oboe audition.The possibilities are endless, and this is only one aspect of the freedom you have when making the best reed for you. Finding a gouge/shape combo is very individual and specific to you and your tastes.



Other qualities that change from person to person are how large the opening of the reed is and how much is scraped out of different areas of the reed. Of course, this all comes back to the different physical attributes of each person. Think of all the obvious differences you see from one oboist to another, like height, stature, age, etc.

These differences are important when choosing the best reed for you. Not to mention the many difference you can't see, like the palate, tongue or position of teeth. These are differences that make every oboist sound and play differently.Another important thing that determines the "best" oboe reeds for you is your instrument. You might think, "an oboe is an oboe," but it is really a bit more
complicated than that.When people ask what the best reed is for them, you can't possibly know the age/ quality/type of instrument they are playing on.

I do pretty much stand by my belief that "a good reed is always a good reed," but there are certain qualities of an oboe that necessitate certain qualities in a reed. You'll find it rather hard to find any reed that "responds" on an oboe that is really out of adjustment. Again, who better to make a reed for your oboe than YOU? No one else deals with the trials and tribulations of your oboe everyday, so how could anyone else make the best reeds for it?

Although it is hopefully pretty easy to find and/or make yourself a decent reed, there is so much more opportunity available to you when you start to make your own reeds and experiment with what you need, and what your instrument may require as well. Reedmaking is truly an art, and like any art, it is up to the artist to mold and shape it.

    By Maryn Leister
    Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.
    She is owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters. Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.
    Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away. Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips!

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Thursday, May 18, 2017

OBOE REEDS: Learning How to Experiment

Oboist Albrecht Mayer preparing reeds for use....Oboist Albrecht Mayer preparing reeds for use. Most oboists scrape their own reeds to achieve the desired tone and response
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you may have heard before, being consistent in your reed making helps ensure consistent reeds. A simple but powerful statement indeed.

Reed making is a rather long and varied process, and most successful reed makers would recommend that you do the same thing every time. That way you can slowly make corrections without losing your point of reference.

But what if you want to try something new?

The spirit of adventure definitely has a place in reed making, as long as you have the time (and patience) to do some experimenting. There is so much new equipment available to oboists today that can help (or hurt) your reed making adventures.

There are new kinds of staples coming out all the time, and someone is always introducing either a new gouging machine or shaper tip to the market.

Sometimes it is possible to borrow these new "toys" from friends to try, and other times you may be able to try a shaper tip on loan from a double reed company.

Just remember, don't be afraid to try new things! That's how you learn.

But here is a tip to make your experimenting as productive and efficient as possible:

Whatever you do, don't get too caught up in the frenzy and try to change more than one thing at once.

It may go without saying, but reed making with any new materials at all is just like a science experiment. Remember those days back in lab class?

You never change more than one variable at a time when testing something new.
You want to be able to determine just how the new change affects all areas of the experiment.



Some things you might try:

change the length you tie the cane on try gouging your cane a few millimeters thicker

Try these and many other things! As long as you keep everything else exactly the same, you will have conducted a successful experiment and you will learn something.

It is surprising and fun to see how your reeds will change, and sometimes (hopefully most times) it will be for the better!



    Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.

    She is owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters. Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.

    Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away. Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips!

    Article Source: EzineArticles


Saturday, October 1, 2016

A Special Note to Band Directors About OBOE REEDS

English: Drawing of a double-reed mouthpiece f...
Drawing of a double-reed mouthpiece for an oboe. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let it be known that I like band directors, and that without mine long ago I would not be sitting here writing about what I know about the oboe.

He was (and probably still is) a wonderful man who encouraged me, taught me what he knew but then was humble enough to say that he could take me no further. He recommended a professional oboist in town so I could continue learning the things he could not teach me, and I am forever grateful.

So, you could say I have a great deal of respect for band directors.

I know they are teaching a lot of kids a lot of different instruments, and there is no way anybody can be an expert on all of them. I give them credit for trying!

But there's something that has been coming up a lot in my teaching and even when fielding reed questions that has been bothering me. And although I am sure band directors aren't the only ones to "blame," that's where I am starting to work towards a solution.

The problem seems to be in advising the young band oboists in the selection of oboe reeds. Now, many a band director has bought handmade oboe reeds from me, so there are exceptions.

But to the majority out there, do you know how much easier teaching the oboe would be if you handed out handmade oboe reeds instead of fibercane or even those awful profiled music-store reeds?
The reason is plain and simple.

These reeds do not encourage good habits and make the oboe difficult to play, more difficult that it ever needs to be.

The idea I keep hearing is that somehow, good reeds are reserved for good students... but that is completely wrong. A good, handmade oboe reed should be provided for every beginning oboist on their very first day of playing the oboe.

Talk to a professional oboist and see if they can work with you in making reeds that young students can handle, or consult a professional reedmaking company (yes, like MKL Reeds) that can work with these requests.

Although we need "labels" on reeds so that we all know what we are talking about, these labels are perhaps the least helpful part of all of this. Find a place that can make reeds for beginning students, and that should be pretty much all you need to say.

I am on my soapbox lately about all this "hard, medium hard, soft" stuff!! There is also this very large misconception out there that once a student has been playing for more than a year they need to "graduate" to a "harder" reed... and by the time they have been playing a while they are being handed these "hard" reeds they can't even play!

I just don't understand where this all came from, thinking that increased ability on the oboe somehow means you should make it harder for someone to actually play.

Now, it's not entirely the fault of a band director. And the situation is not exactly helped by machine made reed manufacturers that are labeling their reeds in this way either.

Here's my take on it:
An oboist needs a reed he can play, NO EXCEPTIONS!!

Buy oboe reeds for your students that are handmade and are not classified in this way, unless you can talk to someone and explain what you need.

What a more advanced student needs in a reed is resistance, which is much different that hardness. So, stop handing them hard reeds once they pass the year mark, and especially when they seem like they are struggling.

Unless you can scrape these reeds down for them, they should not be encouraged. Better yet, get reeds from a professional oboist because these will make your job easier and it will make your students improve faster and probably enjoy playing a lot more.

I can't imagine how hard a job it is to be in your shoes, but think of the amazing start you can help give to each and every kid that chooses to play the oboe.

    By Maryn Leister
    Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.
    She is owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters. Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.
    Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away. Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips
    !

    Article Source: EzineArticles