Wednesday, October 15, 2008

germophobia does not mix well with oboe reeds

Have any of the oboists who read my blog ever had a germophobic student? I just took on a new student, and her reeds for her first lesson were AWFUL, but she refused to try my reeds or to buy one from me. (Or to let me try the ones she had). If reeds come from the store, she thinks they're fine, but (despite that I add mouthwash to my reedwater when teaching) mine are germy. I tried to tell her that any reeds worth buying are going to be made by hand and therefore someone has tested them to make them, therefore just as germy as mine, but she wouldn't believe me. Fortunately RDG is right here in LA so I know she can get quality reeds there, but ideally she should buy them from me. Any thoughts on how to convince her to try my reeds, and also, to let me try hers? Or to work around this in some way? (I like to test reeds before adjusting them. She says someone helped her with reeds before and they just had her play them and then adjusted from what she said, but, especially for a beginner who has no idea what to look for in a reed, I'm not sure this will work. All MY teachers have tried my reeds!!!)


Patty said...

I have a friend (and colleague) who doesn't play her students' reeds at ALL. She said she has learned to analyze any problems merely by the crow and looking at them.

I play on students' reeds. Sometimes. But not if I can help it. I've stayed much healthier since attempting not to play on them. I talked to my microbiologist family member and he said that soaking in mouthwash won't kill all the bugs. He said the best thing was hydrogen peroxide (if I'm remembering correctly). Since then I've just gotten more cautious.

BUT ... yeah, most teachers play on students' reeds. So there ya go.

I had one student who was clearly squeamish about my playing her reeds so I just went with it. (She didn't last long in any case.)

Have fun with the dilemma. I'm sure you'll figure it out!

Gabrielle said...

I usually only play on my students reeds right when they get a new reed, so I can adjust it for them. I try to avoid reeds they've been playing for a while. Mouthwash doesn't work? Why not? I had a teacher at Northwestern who put peroxide in his reedwater when working with students' reeds. This caused my lips to itch and peel, and is therefore not really an option. I am still not sure how this will work, but I guess I will try to adjust her reeds without playing on them, until (and if ever) I can convince her that it won't kill her to have me play her reeds.

Patty said...

I wish I could tell you why my brother-in-law said mouthwash wouldn't work, but he didn't really explain it to this unscientific person. I can tell you, though, that a doctor I saw was absolutely shocked when he found out we all play on each other's reeds! He said he'd never do that! Go figure. :-)

Hope you can get her to let you play on 'em a bit at least! I can see some of my students squirm when I play theirs. Oh well!