Taking my time
I used to force ...a lot.
I'd feel pressure to complete a reed, learn a piece, or develop a skill as quickly as possible. I spent so many hours, ineffectively forcing something that wasn't ready, something that was asking for my time and patience. I usually ended up disappointed, frustrated, tense, and with nothing to show for my hours of exertion.
Years of this approach led to burn-out, chronic stress, and anxiety. Since these are not values I wish to hold in general in my life and certainly not ones I'd hold as a musician either, I took a couple steps back to analyze.
I realized that the forcing was not helping me achieve the outcome I was looking for. In fact, it often took me pretty far off target.
When it came to reed making in particular, I noticed how reliable my reeds were and how long they lasted when I took my time making them.
It is an important skill to be able to make a reed in one sitting. But,
I spent many years forcing and pushing for reeds to be done quickly.
Many of these reeds may have worked adequately (many didn't), but they all lacked the stability and quality of the reeds I make when I take my time.
"Take care of your equipment and your equipment will take care of you" one of my teachers said.
Reeds are certainly some of our most important equipment so I like to take my time with them.
No rushing. No forcing. No distractions. No stamping a pattern on a piece of cane. Just allowing the reed to take shape in it's beautiful individuality.
It's mostly a mindset thing for me.. when I approach a session thinking "I need a reed at the end of this", I usually wind up disappointed, usually because that forcing and pushing entered the situation. But, when I take the pressure off myself and just show up with my full attention to what the cane needs, I invariably come out with a reed. Perhaps not as quickly, but certainly with a better outcome.
Here's to slowing down and being present.
Happy oboe-ing! 🕊️
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I am an oboist and reed maker.