• Let’s talk about reed rotation

    What is reed rotation and why is it important? Reed rotation is just what it sounds like – rotating the reeds you use when you practice or perform so that they all break in evenly. As a reed player, rotating your reeds is one of the simplest things you can do that will yield more consistent reeds and extend the lifespan of your reeds. Reed rotation is important because it provides you with more reed options in any given musical situation. If you rotate your reeds, you will have several good reeds in your case at a time, as opposed to one good reed which might vary from day to…

  • How to store your reeds to optimize performance and longevity

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing reed complaints from several of my clarinet students and friends from around the world. Specific problems have run the gamut – warpage, inconsistency, fluctuations in resistance – you name it, and someone has complained about it. Despite the wide variety of reed problems it seems everyone has been experiencing, there is crucial step all reed players must take to protect their reeds – proper storage. Think of it like this – reeds are essentially plants. Like most other plants, reed cane (Arundo donax if you want to be more scientific) does not like being exposed to drastic changes in environment. Just like…

  • The 7 Most Controversial Clarinet Topics

    Etiquette dictates that one should never discuss politics, religion, or money in polite company. For clarinetists, there are a few more topics that are sure to spark heated debate. If you’ve ever visited a clarinet forum or dedicated social media group, you’ve surely seen lively discussions on a variety of topics. Here are a few subjects which seem to frequently pop up.  Mention these around clarinetists at your own risk! (Disclaimer: This is intended as a lighthearted list. I am not choosing sides or trying to start World War Clarinet – research each topic and come to your own opinions!) Single lip vs. double lip. The proportion of double lippers…

  • Clarinet Crafts: How to Make a Reed Graveyard

    As clarinetists, we spend a lot of our time with reeds. Buying reeds, testing reeds, adjusting reeds, rotating reeds, chipping reeds, warping reeds, crying over reeds…it only seems fitting that we give our reeds the proper burial that they so deserve. I got the inspiration for this idea from my student Julia, who created a reed graveyard for her dearly departed reeds several years ago. If you’re looking to honor the life and legacy of your favorite reeds, here’s how you can make your very own reed graveyard. What you’ll need: Shallow box, box lid, or other container (I used a baking tray) Styrofoam, sand, rocks or other surface to…

  • How to Disinfect Your Clarinet After You’ve Been Sick

    It’s never fun being sick. This is especially true for musicians, who often have to suffer through rehearsals, lectures, and performances. After all, the show must go on! Whatever your ailment, it’s important to take proper precautions to sterilize, disinfect, and germ-proof your instrument when you’ve been sick. With everything that comes into contact with our mouths (reeds, mouthpieces, water bottles), clarinetists must be extra careful to disinfect everything to keep the germs at bay. If you’ve been sick, here are some steps you can take to disinfect your clarinet and other equipment: Sterilize your reeds. Reeds are gross. If you don’t believe, just watch Michael Lowenstern’s video on reed…

  • No More Chipped Reeds: A Beginner’s Guide to Reed Care

    Congratulations! You’ve decided to play the most awesome instrument around – the clarinet (or maybe saxophone, which is nearly as cool as the clarinet)! Get ready, because you’re about to enter a lifelong love/hate relationship with reeds. Chipped, cracked, warped, and otherwise broken reeds are an inevitability for reed players, especially beginners. The cost of reeds can quickly add up, but thankfully, there are many ways to protect and prolong the life of your reed. Here are my reed tips (pun very much intended) for proper reed care. Please keep in mind that this is not a guide for reed adjustment or further exploration of reed science – we’ll save…