Making Oboe Reeds: Money's No Excuse

There are many excuses for not making your own oboe reeds, but in my opinion, one of the poorest excuses is money.

Let's face it, playing the oboe is an expensive proposition. If you haven't realized it already, then let this be your warning. If you don't want to spend any money at all, then you should probably just pick another instrument.

Apart from getting the oboe itself, there is regular maintenance, and of course buying oboe reeds. Which brings me to the issue of it "costing too much" to make oboe reeds. Learning to make reeds is an investment, and like any investment, you have to put something in to get something out. In this case, that means a bit of money.

But the rewards of making your own oboe reeds go beyond money (even though you will spend less doing so!).

If your true goal is to really improve and take your oboe playing to the next level, then you have to be willing to accept the price tag and just go toward your goals. There is nothing that will improve your tone, music-making and "artistry" like learning to make and play on your own oboe reeds.

You can't really put a price tag on that, because the skill is simply invaluable.

Of course you'll have to invest in some basic reedmaking tools, but more importantly you will have to find some way to learn what you are doing.

This knowledge is also priceless because the reedmaking foundation that you lay will help determine your reedmaking success.

You can find a professional teacher to take lessons from, or you can learn the basics from an online or published guide. Buying a few tools and getting a beginning reedmaking education are the two "up front" costs you'll need to incur to get going on making your own reeds.

You can do all of this for relatively little money, compared to the money you will spend buying store-bought oboe reeds year after year. The education you will get is priceless, because you will determine so much about your own oboe playing.

Don't let money excuses hold you back from exploring this wonderful part of being an oboe player! In the long run, you'll actually save money and you will be a better oboe player as well.

After you take the jump to making your own reeds, I guarantee you will not look back and regret it at all. The money, especially, will seem inconsequential when you never have to pick up the phone to order reeds again!


Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.

She is owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters. Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.

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