Originally blogged May 6, 2012
Final reed selection for me takes place 2 days before I leave. Because ALL of my auditions thus far have been at sea level, I have learned to leave my reeds a little heavy and 10 cents sharp. This has been hard to do on my current Fox 601 setup. Last year I bought a Heckel CDE1 to raise my pitch but generally my pitch is a little under on this setup. I don't mind sitting slightly flat until I drop elevation.
Reed preparation begins several weeks out as I anticipate the change in elevation and the need to make sharper reeds. My philosophy on reed making is that reeds are like kids. You can't force them to do anything, but you can nurture their positive attributes. Therefore I don't set out to make a high reed, low reed, solo reed etc. I simply start taking off cane and whatever the reed shows itself to be, I go with it.
Thus, making reeds in volume, for me, is necessary. Especially when preparing second bassoon audition reeds. That requires a specific type of reed and I have to allow that reed to present itself from the blanks I have ready. I feel like this method of reed making is very stress-free. I have a LOT of reeds constantly going and rotating and I find that with high volume, low stress, I pretty much never have a reed crisis. I also keep every reed in my cataloging system so I can go back and reuse as needed.
I'm grateful for my early teachers who encouraged me to hone my reed making skills as a young student. The consistent wisdom from each of them: make hundreds of reeds!
This evening when I check into the hotel will be the moment of truth: did I leave them hard enough, sharp enough, dark enough to give me the low elevation reeds I need and want.