Middle grade band, and even high school band, never taught how to ‘break in’ reeds. In fact, until I started reading reviews of different brands of reeds (I’m becoming reed geek and MUST TRY THEM ALL), I didn’t realize that not all reeds are equal. Okay, you can chalk it up to the fact that I’m a way beginner again after 20 years and leaning on my own without instruction.
Once I realized you had to do this, I started looking at some resources and found this great article. And, since much like Tory, I’m going to start learning saxophone (we’ll consider this my first “sax on Fridays” column), I figure what better thing to do than to start out right.
In general, pick three or four reeds you want to break in. Soak them in water. Play them starting only for about five minutes each and only in the middle to lower registers. Then, work your way up both in length of time and notes until they work well for you. Since I have a wide variety of brands, I figure I’ll start with a couple of my favorites. We’ll see.