Friday, August 31, 2007

Time to Make the "Reed"

Many years ago, when my son was getting into the oboe and he was learning how to make reeds, he came up to me one day and said,"Dad, you are so lucky. You can just pick up your horn and start playing without having to worry about making reeds!" I said, "Excuse me, but what do you think I am doing when I am playing slow slurs, gradually getting higher in range, then going down into the low range, then playing scales in different articulations, all this lasting 90 or more minutes? I am making my reed. That is how brass players make their reeds. Their embouchures are their reeds and some peoples reeds take longer to make than others."

Warming up and maintenance practice, I feel, at least for myself and other players that I have seen, are vital to feeling ready and provide a platform of stability. A good warmup/maintenance routine can act as an excellent diagnostic tool to monitor the 'health' of ones embouchure and support systems.

Life is ever changing for a person, at many levels, and sometimes we need to modify certain approaches physically and mentally to adjust to natural changes as they occur in one form or another. Having a basic, steady routine that one feels good with, and that also covers an extensive workout into a variety of playing aspects, can keep one informed and in tune with ones playing apparatus. The regularity of the routine offers a reliable point of reference for sensing any changes and gives a person time to make any adjustments. I think a good regular routine is excellent for maintaining greater longevity in ones playing life.

Today I had so many errands and household things to catch up with that I couldn't do my routine at my preferred time. So, I did it late at night and it felt very productive and set me up well for tomorrow's sessions. It's never to late to make the reed!

No comments: