Hey! So I started writing a very long and very boring post about how I'm tweaking my cane/reed process to try to approximate Williams cane.. Oh what's that? Snoring. Yeah, exactly.
Let's cut to the chase. Williams cane is my favorite. It is shaped and profiled completely dry. This stuff doesn't hit water until it's time to form. He might be one of the only people to do it this way, I really have no idea. And though the reeds that result from this process are almost always wonderful, the cane is pretty expensive. Expensive enough that I can't make student reeds from it and keep my prices low. So, I'm trying some of this dry processing, specifically with the shaping. I've got a batch of 5 dry-shaped reeds, soaking in wait for the profiling and forming processes and another 5 blanks formed and drying in wait for their bindings. I'm supposed to be resting up today as I'm home sick, but the reed gods wait for no human. They must be placated! With three different kinds of cane in there - Medir, Gonzales from Pagoola, and some junk cane from my friend in Phoenix that I've been using to test ideas and teach - I'm hoping to get some idea of how it comes out.
I have a number of students considering the purchase of their own bassoon. At this point in their development I would recommend spending $4-9k on a bassoon that would get them all the way thru high school and into college.
Having said that, there are some factors we can use to rule some sellers out. If the answer to any of these questions is NO, you most likely do NOT want to consider that instrument.
Please see my other page of links for reputable double reed suppliers.
Today was a day for the making of the reeds.
As I worked, I decided to let my shuffled iTunes have it's way with my ears. Do you ever let your <insert music-listening device/program/app/demon here> speak to you, free-reign and uninfluenced, except by what it may have collected in regular use? Fun exercise in randomness and beats the heck out of having to choose something on the tv.
The following list is what my iTunes had to say to me, start to finish and maybe a tad embarrassing in parts, but ultimately reflecting a bit of the hodge-podge eclecticism that is "My Kind Of Music".
I love it when this happens. I caught bits of the American version of this film for about the bazillionth time yesterday, and noticed something new. In the scene where Richard Gere (student) dances the Argentinian Tango with Jennifer Lopez (teacher), there is a moment where he takes charge. He is instructed not to speak and to only move when he feels it.
Teachers LIVE for this moment. The moment when the student takes off from where he/she has been guided and embarks upon their own expression of the chosen artform.
If your child studies with me, they have likely already received an ear full of chatter regarding practice methods. I hope that they will manage to take their bassoons out every day and spend some time, but I have no hard "rules" regarding how much time they should be spending.
What should they be doing? SLOW, careful, mindful practice to start. YES, we all hate to go slow. But the slower and more exacting one begins (and continues), the less time one must ultimately spend undoing mistakes made by rushing through. The study referenced below explains the theory and the testing of it far better than I could:
Freelance bassoonist and carpenter of the reedy persuasion, residing and thriving in Tucson, AZ.
Habits of Musicians
Have Bassoon Will Cook
The Pedantic Bassoonist
Double Reed Ltd.