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Thread: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

  1. #21

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    I'm a professor, am I full of ****? I never felt that way about any of my sax teachers. Kind of a ****** blanket generalization that most professors are full of ****. Oh well, ****.

  2. #22

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    **** + ty was censored.

  3. #23
    Allen Halstead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by trice View Post
    I live in a fairly big city. I have two teachers - one for clarinet/sax and one for flute. They are both professional players and experienced teachers. Neither is full of ****.

    Can we really say "****" here? Who would have guessed?
    The other day i wrote ... A $ $ as a word (yes, with the money symbols) and i was censored ..but you can say "****" ..WOW!!
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  4. #24
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    I searched to no avail...

    A friend of mine did her audition and lesson with a professor near here. From what she told me he took her 2 1/2 reed from her, gave her a 3, and told her not to ever play on a 2 1/2 again. I'm sure it was most friendly than that, but you understand the effect. She was doing classical tenor in the lesson. I'm not sure of her setup, but what's the thought process behind this?
    You would need to ask him (the professor) that. His thought process could be that for this student, setup and style, that a 2 1/2 was not a good reed, and that she needed a 3. We can't argue with that.

    Or, like many people, he might just think that everyone should play on reeds harder than 2 1/2, which is a crock of ****. Players should use the strength of reed appropriate to getting the best sound for them. Sometimes using a harder reed will get a better sound, but can be a shortcut that is not good, because it's often the easy way out, when it would be better to work at getting your air support strong enough to get a good sound on a softer reed, which may well mean you have more versatility, especially in the lower register. It's not easy, but it pays off in the end IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    She has an audition a week from today, and can't play her 2 1/2s due to squeaks, and the 3s sound atrocious.
    Thoughts?
    Reeds don't squeak because they are too soft, they squeak because they are bad reeds. This suggests to me she should forget about 3s, and get some 2 1/2s that are better than the ones she's got or else learn to prepare them, just a few scrapes with a sharp blade and rubbing the table with her thumb or a piece of paper may help.

    A professor who insists on harder reeds just because they think harder reeds are better for everyone is not a good professor.

  5. #25
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    You would need to ask him (the professor) that. His thought process could be that for this student, setup and style, that a 2 1/2 was not a good reed, and that she needed a 3. We can't argue with that.

    Or, like many people, he might just think that everyone should play on reeds harder than 2 1/2, which is a crock of ****. Players should use the strength of reed appropriate to getting the best sound for them. Sometimes using a harder reed will get a better sound, but can be a shortcut that is not good, because it's often the easy way out, when it would be better to work at getting your air support strong enough to get a good sound on a softer reed, which may well mean you have more versatility, especially in the lower register. It's not easy, but it pays off in the end IMO.



    Reeds don't squeak because they are too soft, they squeak because they are bad reeds. This suggests to me she should forget about 3s, and get some 2 1/2s that are better than the ones she's got or else learn to prepare them, just a few scrapes with a shape blade and rubbing the table with het thumb or a piece of paper may help.

    A professor who insists on harder reeds just because they think harder reeds are better for everyone is not a good professor.
    That was my thoughts. I gave her a 2 1/2 I just purchased today. She let it soak for a bit, and rubbed it down with her thumb a bit. Sounds great.

    Interesting... Getting a better variety of opinions now. What do you mean by getting better air support with a softer reed? Sort of... blowing through the buzzyness and learn to control? Could you start moving up in strengths, build the support, then come back down?

    -Bubba-

  6. #26
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default To play devil's advocate...

    there are some reasons, good or not so good, to push hard reeds:

    a. for early college students, as a tool to learn ethos: what it is to work to conform to a standard set by a teacher, a studio, a tradition. Classically, you interpret the music, but first, you serve it. Any undergrad curriculum in music is more about how to be correct than how to sound good now, or in a term, or in a year.

    b. to build a big, brute force air column. It can be refined later, along with the tone and articulation. Indeed, the various classical schools have adopted a pop or thunk articulation to some degree because that's what works best with hard reeds.

    c. because if you have the big air column and a well polished overtone series, hard reeds are just more reliable for a steady tone in the altissimo.

    d. because generally, across most types of sax and classical mpc, harder reeds encourage the darkest, least metallic tone quality possible.
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  7. #27

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    it is true that some players get harder reeds and work on them to the point where they are softer than just putting on a strengh below so it's good to evaluate rather than just think about a strength in number. In jazz alot of players are just putting on jazz selects w/a medium strengh-soaking them preliminary or not even that and just playing them till they die. I tend to play a reed for too long in order to avoid buying more-but as Jerry Bergonzi points out in one of the videos you should switch to a fresh reed regularly. But because of the prices of reeds -you may not be able to do this and may want to start out with a harder strengh and play the reed as long as possible. Just be aware of when the reed is too soft. Sometimes you may not want to retire a reed that is too soft because it responds well when it probably should be retired...PS not everything in this video will apply for classical- but the last part talks about rotating your reeds.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuavsXPAZck

  8. #28
    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    Interesting... Getting a better variety of opinions now. What do you mean by getting better air support with a softer reed? Sort of... blowing through the buzzyness and learn to control?
    I don't know what you mean by blowing through the buzzyness.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    Could you start moving up in strengths, build the support, then come back down?
    I wouldn't recommend that, as hard reeds don't build support, the player does that. I moved down from very hard reeds (4 +) to 2 1/2, and it was only after I moved down that I had to do most work. Perhaps the hard reeds were doing the work that I should have been doing. Whatever, it was not easy to play softer reeds, I had to work at it.

  9. #29
    Non Resident SOTW Eccentric & 2012 Forum Contributor Jazzaferri's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Plus one on Pete's comments about softer reeds. IMO there is a reed shape and strength that works best with the mpce/embouchure combination.
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  10. #30
    Distinguished SOTW Member CarlHeanerd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    I'd hesitate to call a 3 hard by any stretch of the imagination, especially tenor.

    Long tones.

    The real question is, if her and the professor bump heads like this, is this a good choice of studio?

    There are many other small factors to consider here. What mouthpiece is she playing? Is the facing good? Table flat? Does she flatten the reed table before playing them? I find that polishing the table of my reeds and storing them appropriately will save most of a box and make them sound more "true".
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by CarlHeanerd View Post
    I'd hesitate to call a 3 hard by any stretch of the imagination, especially tenor.

    Long tones.

    The real question is, if her and the professor bump heads like this, is this a good choice of studio?

    There are many other small factors to consider here. What mouthpiece is she playing? Is the facing good? Table flat? Does she flatten the reed table before playing them? I find that polishing the table of my reeds and storing them appropriately will save most of a box and make them sound more "true".
    I didn't call 3 hard. I did say harder however. She really likes the professor, she was just discombobulated by having the issues with these reeds and I was curious what makes professors want to push you into a harder reed strength when, as it appears now, there are varied opinions on the matter. As I mentioned before, I don't know her setup, and it's not particularly important for the discussion, I believe. She does flatten the reeds. I'm not sure what you mean by polishing reeds, however.

    Thanks,
    Bubba

  12. #32
    Distinguished SOTW member daigle65's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    I usually recommend a #3 reed to my students after they've been playing for a year or so (4C or C* mouthpieces). If they want to go harder it's up to them.

    I have one student who studies alto with me but plays tenor in the school band, when he started tenor they gave him a #3 reed right away.
    He had problems with the low register so I suggested he try a #2½ (which is what he was playing on alto) but he stuck with the #3 and he adapted. He now plays #3's on alto too and he's been playing for less than a year. So one can adapt after a while.

    I had a clarinet student who even though she had been playing for several years before studying with me, was still on #2 Rico reeds. Her tone was pretty weak and thin. I told her to get a #2½. She got some Vandoren's thinking that the strengths were the same so she found them hard to play at first (2½ Vandoren = 3 Rico) but she quickly adapted and her tone improved.

    Sometimes students need to be pushed a little. I'm not advocating to always go to harder reeds but a medium strength reed on a medium closed mouthpiece is pretty standard.
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  13. #33
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    she was just discombobulated by having the issues with these reeds
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  14. #34
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    What happened to the auto-censor? Since when can we write "****"? Hmmm ****. ****, **** ****. ****, ****, **** ****, **** ****!
    ****.

    BTW Thomas. Do you teach?
    Holy ****! Since when can you say ****? What the ****.

  15. #35

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
    ...Welcome to the saxophone.
    Yep!

  16. #36
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by sonnymobleytrane View Post
    Holy ****! Since when can you say ****? What the ****.
    Still can't say ****!

  17. #37

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
    ...Welcome to the saxophone.
    So true. The most import thing I ever learned from any of my teachers is that all reeds are trash. Learn to deal with it.
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  18. #38
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    I didn't call 3 hard. I did say harder however. She really likes the professor, she was just discombobulated by having the issues with these reeds and I was curious what makes professors want to push you into a harder reed strength...
    Yes, harder was the term used. I consider 2.5 and 3 to be pretty middle of the road, neither very soft nor very hard. A 3 can be too hard, though, on a very open tip mpc, or depending on brand or reed, and on what the player prefers.

    My guess is the professor suggested the #3 reed because she was having trouble with the 2.5 and she's using a pretty closed mpc. It's worth a try. Most likely she is biting too hard and not using proper air support or something like that.

  19. #39

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    I generally like harder reeds 3.5 fibracell on alto Mouthpice cafe espresso, 3.5 fibracell on tenor Ponzol SS 110 and 4 Fibracell on bari Quantum 12. Imagine my surprise when I tried my new curvy with a Barone 7 with a 2.5 Vandoren and realised I have to go down a strength to a 2 [Hope I don't have to go lower than that] I may feel inadequate !!!
    So it does show me that reed strength is not a matter of rule but more a matter of mouthpiece and sound concept.

  20. #40
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    I didn't call 3 hard.
    Yes you did. Look at the name of the thread. You wrote that, therefore you called a 3 reed hard.
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