musings of a professional bassoonist

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A-Reed-A Day Challenge

Reed #4 of 2015 made on January 4th
So far, so good. I have managed to make a reed a day so far this year, four days into it. A reed a day is very doable, even for such a resistant reedmaker as myself. In fact, when limited to one at a time, I can almost enjoy the process.

Once I'm in the reed room there's a chance that I'll stay beyond the time it takes to produce my required blank. I might actually wrap a few reeds while I'm at it, although I have to be careful not to turn that into a requirement, lest I botch the whole deal.

There are distinct advantages to the reed-a-day approach. You will automatically be keeping track of how many reeds you are making, plus you'll be able to figure out how many reeds you use in a year's time by seeing how many you have left on December 31st.  (Hopefully you'll have some left.) Then you can decide how many to make next year, or whether you have enough extra reeds to justify selling some. I suspect that most of us have no idea how many we make or need per year. Wouldn't you like to find out?

Another advantage, which I've already written about on this blog, is the fact that your reedmaking skills will be maximal if they are practiced each day. I'll admit that when I made reed #1 on January 1st, it had been a few weeks since I had made blanks. And sure enough, being out of practice, I wrapped the string too tightly around the cane before inserting the mandrel, and as I inserted the mandrel I heard that dreaded cracking sound that occurs when one of the scoring marks turns into a crack which travels up into the blade.

Of course, I'll have to report on my ability to stick to this resolution. The last time that I tried this, I ended up skipping days, then engaging in brutal marathon reedmaking sessions to make up for the missed days. Eventually I abandoned the reed-a-day plan about halfway through the year. If I had just stuck with one a day, I could have made it, as I intend to prove this year.

Who's with me? Are you willing to commit to making a blank a day throughout the year 2015? Wouldn't it be great to know that  you'd have 365 new reeds at your disposal this year?




Barry Stees said...

Great idea, Betsy! A good example for me! I think a good habit for students, too. Love your blog!! Barry

B.S. said...

Thanks, Barry! I'm a fan of your blog, too, and in fact I just ordered some of your cane from Miller Marketing! Betsy