Personal Common Sense

As a double reed player during this time of virus trouble, I’m concerned about my playing habits, and what risks I can avoid to stay healthy. Playing music is soul satisfying. I think we can create beautiful music and stay safe by following a few practices.

Are we at grave risk? The answer seems to change from day to day. Let’s hope for the best, but consider our potential risks.

I am personally and professionally doing some things that I think could be helpful in lowering your risk. I sincerely hope you’ll find them useful.

Sharing Reeds

This is a standard practice between teachers and students, and many don’t give it a second thought. I am now doing the following:

  1. Disinfect reeds between each share. 
  2. Take this opportunity to have students become self reliant and adjust their own reeds.
  3. Allow reeds to fully dry and stop using humidified reed cases.

Things I won’t do right now:

  1. Try someone else’s instrument and/or bocal or let others try mine.
  2. Try out someone else’s reed or bocal.
  3. Go to rehearsal without liquid disinfectant for my reeds, and wet wipes for times when hand washing may not be possible.

Things I will do right now:

  1. Wash my cloth and silk swabs (and do this much more frequently).
  2. Allow my instrument to dry thoroughly, and if put away damp, open the case when I get home.
  3. Remember that paper can transmit virus, and clean hands regularly after music is handed out, and while flipping pages.
  4. Bring my instrument in for professional cleaning and adjustment, especially if it’s been a while.

I’ll keep adding to this as I think of additional things. Let me know what else we should be doing.

Stay safe out there double reeders!

. . . Brian Charles

(Please share comments below!)

6 thoughts on “Personal Common Sense

  1. When swabbing out your instrument the swab often has a tendency to pop out. The swab is full of whatever virus you may have and excessive waving it about is equal to an infected sneeze. The same can happen when you blow out your bocal. This might not infect the whole room but can infect your near by colleagues.

    1. Wise thoughts indeed.

  2. Thanks very much for your kindly good advice. I just placed an order for the reed sanitizer and need to start washing my swabs!

    1. You are very welcome Mark!

  3. I have started teaching outside. It’s so much fun to actually see my students again (and correct all the things they’ve been doing wrong from FaceTime lessons ). I have not been fixing their reeds at all. If they have reed making equipment, I listen to them crowing the reed and offer suggestions for fixing. The younger students just need to keep a good supply of reeds on hand because I can’t fix them. I wonder (if their reeds are too hard) about shaving some wood off their reeds, and then having them try the reeds. Of course I’d have to wipe down my knife and plaque and my hands. What do you think?

    1. Hi Kim,

      It sounds like you’ve got a good return to teaching going there. I’m not sure how to handle adjusting reeds for students. My first thought was that you should put on thin gloves just before you adjust. That does not take the plaque and knife into consideration though. You could adjust with no plaque and a freshly alcohol washed knife blade. Perhaps you could teach students how to do minor adjustments with sandpaper that they could supply? 220 grit sandpaper could take enough material off that it would bring a reed down in strength. Smaller pieces of 320 or 400 grit could be used to touch up specific areas such as tips. You’ll need “wet/dry” sandpaper and soak the reed like normal before adjusting. You could even be involved by wearing gloves.

      We’re all learning and if you come up with other ideas, please share them! Everyone wants to know how to proceed.

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