Starting up lessons with Martin, Changes at Cooper Wright Reeds

August 24, 2009

This past week I met up with Martin to discuss a whole bunch of topics, ranging from which oboe I should be playing on, to what we should work on, and what he expects me to practice.

We agreed to work through the Ferlings. I need to bring two new Ferlings to him each week, plus the previous week’s two Ferlings one transposed up a half step and the other transposed down. I’ve never really done transposition, and the thought of this intimidates me, but I just spoke to my friend Adam Shapiro who told me he just got back from a Baroque Music Festival in New Mexico where he had to transpose from Baroque French Violin Clef, a minor third down! I guess it does come in handy, so I might as well start now while I don’t have to worry about this during the school year.

Besides Ferlings, I need to continue practicing my long tones and major and minor scales, except faster than I have been so (faster than 16th notes at 100 BPM), as well as major and minor scales in thirds. I think this is going to require three or four hours of practicing a day, which I’m not sure I have time for, but I guess I’ll need to find a way.

Reed orders are coming in faster than I can fill, and I’m looking for some help splitting cane. I have a very good friend in Portland who helps me, and I told Martin I’ll trade any undergrad some time helping them with reeds if they want to split cane for me, which he was very positive about.

My reeds have been getting very good reviews on, and the orders come in daily. I’m making close to 30 reeds a week, which considering they take 45 minutes a piece, plus 5 minutes adjusting time over several other days, plus 5 minutes for documentation, plus 5 minutes for a full write-up of what I’m sending out, is a full-time job.

I’ve changed the way I keep files for my reed business, which helps me to be more consistent. Nowadays, I not only keep the paypal stubs on file along with the surveys, but I also write up a full evaluation of each reed, including the length of the reed, what shape I used for it, what pitch the crow is at and whether the crow has a 2nd octave or a perfect 4th, the tonal quality to the reed (more covered or clearer sounding), pitch level of a tuning A in my oboe, opening size, and any other unusual qualities it may have. This documentation is quite time consuming considering it cane take 4 or 5 minutes a reed, and with a reed order having 4 or 5 reeds, it can easily spread out to 30 minutes. However, it does help me know what I sent out, and what is just right for the client.

All in the name of good business I guess…


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