I am an entrepreneur. I am a performing musician and I teach oboe, music appreciation, reed-making, chamber music and the Alexander Technique — at all levels from middle school to university students to adult professionals. You can imagine there are many pieces that need to come together to make a living as I do. Music – always my passion – has been my mode of expression in performing and teaching for over 35 years. However I have also spent countless hours making oboe reeds, and “doctoring” those of my students. I sell hundreds and hundreds of oboe reeds to professionals and students alike every year.
This morning I started preparing a large order of professional level oboe reeds to send to an oboe reed shop in Ohio. I had the idea to do an exploration at the reed desk — an experiment, if you will. All of you reed-makers out there are going to take great interest in this!
Exploration #1: what does a mirror reveal to me as I intermittently look up while making a reed? So I put a standing full length mirror in front of my desk and looked up about once every 30 seconds. Very revealing.
Exploration #2: what would I notice if I filmed myself with my iPhone for about two minutes while making a reed? OMG.
Exploration #3: scrape the reed to a relatively finished state without making any changes in my use and functioning. Continue as before, making no decisions for change.
Exploration #4: starting a new reed, apply the directions taught by FM Alexander. What happens to me and to the reed itself when I simply make a different choice and apply a different kind of use of functioning? Would you like to try these two reeds? They appear to have been made by two different people…. and believe me, oboists in particular, you would love the second one.
Pretty cool— right? Noticing and making a choice for that which is the discovery of the Alexander Technique about the quality of movement not only results in better tone production when you play. For reed-makers the benefits can take place long before you put air through the instrument.