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 Teacher moistens students reed
Author: KJ 
Date:   2010-05-20 03:26

My daughter visited a potential clarinet teacher. We observed her teching a student and my daughter was able to try out a clarinet. The teacher prepared a reed for the other student by popping it in her mouth several times, sanding it, let the student try it out and then repeated the process a couple more times. Then she did the same for my daughter. I was frankly shocked that she was wetting other peoples reeds! Why couldn't she use water? or why couldn't she let them wet their own.
Am I being a germiphobe? Is this standard for woodwind teachers?

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Iceland clarinet 
Date:   2010-05-20 03:36

I say yuck!!!!!!! I've also heard about teacher dipping student's reeds in their coffee. Terrible. Why do you think that online retailers do not accept open boxes of reeds? I would personally please ask this teacher politely to stop doing this.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Blake_McGee 
Date:   2010-05-20 04:14

I always have my students wet their own reeds or use a fresh cup of water. I certainly don't want their germs if I can help it!

That said, there is certain precedent for playing a student's clarinet and reed to feel what they are dealing with. I'm pretty good at knowing what's going on by listening, but I can figure out a problem much more definitively if I play their setup myself. I'm sure this practice has lead to a few undesired colds along the way though...

-Blake
http:reed-help.com

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: RoBass 
Date:   2010-05-20 07:44

Yeah yeah, first walking into the disco and tonguing everyone deep throated, and then not drinking of the same glass of beer...? ;-)

No, was a joke! Of course a teacher should not wet the reed of a student within his own mouth. That's not hygienic almost ;-(
But on the other hand the wetting should be done with saliva instead of water because the amylolytic enzyme mix in the salive solves and dissipates the sugar based structures in the wood.
This is a very important procedure for the development of reed strength and flexibility. Especially the first wettings should be done with attention and patience to establish a stable reed condition fast and well.
Later the wetting in water is good enough procedure.

kindly
Roman



PS: Please advise your child/student to beg the teacher for a more hygienic way!-) The own saliva is the best for own reed... **ggg**

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-05-20 07:48

Not cool at all - big mistake actually.

One of the (many) things that can be spread is gingivitis from that practice.
It's like sharing a toothbrush!!

I use alcohol swabs on both the reed and mouthpiece and never get sick - not even a cold in about 15 years (guess I just get the big stuff ;).
After I play their instrument I also use purel on my hands.

It works really well for me.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


Post Edited (2010-05-21 18:12)

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: salzo 
Date:   2010-05-20 11:32

I use a shot glass filled to the rim with vodka or Jack Daniels when wetting my students reeds. After each lesson, I empty the shot glass by drinking it, refill it for my next student, and repeat the process til I am done teaching for the day.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-05-20 11:55

I love salzo's response!
;-)

--but all "modest proposals" aside, I'd almost prefer a drunk teacher to one who wants to swap germs. Ick.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Ed 
Date:   2010-05-20 12:13

I have not played any student's set up for years. I certainly could tell a bit more than by just listening, but stopped the practice of using their reeds and mouthpieces for a lot of reasons. There are plenty of germs out there that I don't care to share. I would not use their toothbrush either. Students are often uncomfortable with the practice. I have had older students who have told me that they are happy that I don't do it.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-05-20 12:39

"After each lesson, I empty the shot glass by drinking it" That's a bit selfish of you - if I were you I'd let your pupil drink it as they probably could do with the extra courage.

My bassoon teacher at school used to soak my reeds for me (as well as with other clarinet and oboe pupils), so I wasn't exactly chuffed by this sort of thing.

Yeah - best way to transmit all manner of germs and diseases to a wide amount of people, so definitely a no-no especially when teaching to a large number of pupils in several schools in the county. Who knows what goes around?

Has to be said he must've built up good immunity as he lived to a ripe old age (he was a Geordie and they're made of stern stuff!), and taught right up to the very end of his life.

I'm reluctant to playing on anyone else's instrument using their reed or mouthpiece at the best of times (sometimes it can't be avoided) but the best practice is for anyone to moisten their own reed themselves.

Chris.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-05-20 13:16

Years ago I used to play on my students' setups regularly. But, like other responders to this question, I stopped doing that as serious - even life-threatening - diseases started grabbing headlines in the 80s and 90s.

If I offer a student a new reed to replace one that is clearly unresponsive, I generally wet a couple of them in a film can of fresh water and let the student try one at a time until we find one that plays well (or better). I don't put these in my mouth and I throw away the rejects - but the ones we don't get to try I dry and put back in my collection for the next time.

I do occasionally still play briefly on a student's reed and mouthpiece just to see how it feels if I'm not sure what a student's problem is from hearing him/her play. I never do this if I know I'm ill, and I always ask if the student has a cold or "anything else I wouldn't want to share." Then, I dry the reed surface off before I play on it and afterward so there's not saliva sitting on the reed surface and hope the same "5 second rule" that allows dropped food to be eaten off the floor applies to putting the mouthpiece in my mouth. :-)

FWIW, my clarinet teachers from junior high school through my graduate degree *always* played on my clarinet at lessons - almost never even had their own instruments unpacked. They tested my reeds, and they always demonstrated on my equipment (more or less to say - "see, it can be done even on this reed"). Those who are not still living somehow survived to very ripe old ages and died of things like cancer and heart failure - I never heard of one of my teachers dying of anything transmissible or infectious.

Karl

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Wicked Good 2017
Date:   2010-05-20 13:53

Yuck. I had a clarinet teacher once who would sometimes demonstrate techniques and passages on the students' clarinets.

His entire studio once came down with odd, little white bumps on our tongues. They went away after a few days, but we were freaked a little.

No one plays my reeds/mouthpieces anymore but me. Ever. And I won't play on those belonging to anyone else. Too much creeping crud out there.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
There are only 10 kinds of people in the world:
Those who understand binary math, and those who don't.
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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: salzo 
Date:   2010-05-20 14:15

Most of my teachers regularly played my instrument with my reed. When I started teaching, I did the same, but I started getting complaints about the practice. I guess in the old days, it wasnt a big deal. These days, it seems people have issues.
I do believe it makes teaching the instrument much more difficult. So much of what we do is based on our individual set up. If I could try the students set up, I could figure out if their problems are equipment related. But I dont do it, because it is not worth the hassle of complaints. I am not worried about catching anything from my students-I figure what doesn't kill me, makes me stronger- it is the students who have a problem.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Bob Phillips 
Date:   2010-05-20 14:22

So, dunk the reed and mpc in some hydrogen peroxide between users. You don't even have to remove the reed --and you can shift it left/right to temporarily balance it when the student is having trouble reaching the altissimo.

Bob Phillips

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: timg 
Date:   2010-05-20 23:42

My teacher plays my clarinet from time to time when I'm struggling to get a good sound. And by doing so he's been able to teach me to distinguish between a bad-reed and a bad-day.

I'm quite surprised by the level of germ-paranoia in the comments above. As Salzo says, these days people seem to have more "issues" (and an under-stimulated immune system).

Just take care not to breathe air exhaled by somebody else!

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-05-21 00:16

Wrong answer:

There are legit medical problems that can occur from sharing someone's toothbrush - just like the reed.

It's not even close to paranoia, just the reality of it.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: timg 
Date:   2010-05-21 01:07

David, what medical problems are you thinking of? You mention gingivitis, but I understand that susceptibility to gum diseases is more related to poor dental hygiene and underlying bad health. There is some evidence that hepatitis C might be spread by shared toothbrushes. Toothbrush bristles can puncture the skin and so have the potential carry blood diseases; I suppose a reed has the potential to do the same, but it seems unlikely.

Cold and flu would certainly be transmitted on a shared reed, but they would also be transmitted in the air between two people standing near to each other for the duration of a lesson.

I suppose it boils down to your personal preferences as far as risk-taking goes. It is common for people with a viral infection to struggle into work rather than take a day off, subsequently infecting all their colleagues. IMHO this is a bigger risk than me (feeling healthy) letting my teacher (also in good health) play my clarinet. But I'm willing to be corrected...

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-05-21 01:26

Gingivitis can be quite serious - can cause heart problems. I'd imagine that oral herpes could be easily spread also.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: audrey 
Date:   2010-05-21 07:20

I think my teacher tries to avoid playing students clarinets as much as he can but I think sometimes it's very useful.

I'm not generaly germ-paranoid, so I sometimes try other people's setup out of curiosity (i check that the mouthpiece looks clean though, had a bad experience with that once... yuuurk).
But for a teacher, if he plays on i don't know how many students clarinets every day, there's chance he'll get sick often. So I'm always a little sorry for him if he has to do it!



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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-05-21 12:56

Oh my god! That's soooo like, totally grotie? Ewwww! Like, barf me out!

Valley girls aside, some people who bang on about hygene are some of the worst culprits for grotty mouthpieces. An alto player was going on about me using padsavers in my saxes and mouthpiece cushions, saying they're unhygenic and harbour bacteria. You should've seen the state of her saxes - put straight in the box after playing without being cleaned and the mouthpiece with reed still in place put in the case also without being dried. I had to use her tenor once and took the reed off the mouthpiece in public to make an example of her in that she ought to practice what she preached. It was a metal Selmer mouthpiece so shoud be silver inside - it was brown and gunky. Not something I wanted to go near with anyone else's 6' bargepole.

Chris.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: davetrow 
Date:   2010-05-21 16:03

A bit of Googling reveals that oral herpes might easily be spread by sharing reeds. But if one has ever had a "cold sore," one already has oral herpes (HSV-1), so that's probably not as big a deal as gingivitis, thrush (those white bumps one commenter mentioned) or other infections. (Note that people with HSV-1 may be shedding the virus even if they're not symptomatic.)

In any case, I agree with Chris, the "ewww" factor is pretty high.

Dave Trowbridge
Boulder Creek, CA

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-05-21 22:07

Only I'd say 'Urrrgh' instead of 'Ewww'. 'Valley Girl' speak may have eventually made its way across the Atlantic to these shores, but definitely hasn't impacted on my speech.

I even give flute lip plates a good wipe down before and after playing them.

Chris.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2010-05-22 15:02

Because I have a number of clarinets through my hands, along with their mouthpieces, I soak the mouthpieces in a solution of Milton, a product used for sterilizing baby feeding bottles. It seems to have worked so far.

Tony F.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-05-22 15:15

Music and Farts (name mispelled on purpose) uses TidyBowl to sterilize their rental clarinet mouthpieces.

True story as I have a friend who worked at one of their main locations on instrument rental cleanup.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: davetrow 
Date:   2010-05-22 15:50

Now I have the image of the TidyBowl man sailing around in a toilet playing a clarinet. Thanks, David. [grin]

Dave Trowbridge
Boulder Creek, CA

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: plclemo 
Date:   2010-05-22 18:12

THAT IS JUST GROSS!!!! I don't even like it when MY REED is accidentally dropped on the floor or touches the music stand . KNOW HOW MANY GERMS ARE IN THE HUMAN MOUTH????? YECH! I am NOT a GERMOPHOBE, but I did teach JUNIOR HIGH for 6 years and learned oodles about cleanliness (or lack thereof!)

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: crsbryan 
Date:   2010-05-22 19:43


After years and years as a student, and more years as a teacher, I have been party to both teachers and students sharing mouthpieces. It's certainly much easier for brass and flute players to clean and sterilize the smooth metal finish of where mouth meets instrument. I'm skeeved out by the prospect of playing my students' instruments, because of what might be in the mouthpiece/reed. When I think of the habits of everyone in my studio in college, in class, and on weekends, I shudder at what I have managed to avoid over the years.

While hard rubber, plastic, and metal mouthpieces are pretty easy to sterilize, reeds sure are a different matter. Sterisol, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide are good solutions (no pun intended) for those, as are rum, vodka, and even Dow's scrubbing bubbles. My personal preference for a good thorough cleaning on a mouthpiece is Efferdent. It is, after all, meant to use on things you put in your mouth. But, it's not fast. I like the recommendation above to dip the whole thing in alcohol.

Colds, flu, gingivitis, herpes, let's add to the list... thrush, trench mouth (I know it's a form of gingivitis, but goes far beyond the average), strep, mononucleosis, some other STDs I'd rather not even imagine... The more you think about it, the worse the mind makes of it.

I'm not going to take any chances with my students' health or my own.

In my mind, this is one of the best arguments yet for synthetic reeds. Much more consistent, always work, more durable, and from this discussion, don't require sucking and easier to sterilize if the need to play a student's instrument appears.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-05-22 19:45

Despite what I wrote above, I have to admit that once when Ms. Shadow Cat (R.I.P.) grabbed my reed and ran down the stairs with it while I was assembling a clarinet, I clumped right downstairs after her, picked the reed up off the bathroom floor where she'd dropped it (I suspect her version would've been that she'd spat it in that particular room as a message about where clarinet reeds belong -- and clarinets, too), rinsed it with a brief whoosh under the cold water tap, took it back upstairs and put it right back on my clarinet. Five second rule. Okay, thirty seconds. Maybe a minute.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: William 
Date:   2010-05-23 15:05

FWIW, the last time I saw the Woody Herman band here in Madison, Woody's instruments were set up for him by an assistant who moistened the reeds in his own mouth, placed them on the mouthpieces and play tested them before the show. At that time, my first reaction was, "yuck" and now.......after reading this thread, I still think an even more emphatic "YUCK".

But it didn't seem to bother Woody--he and the band played wonderfully. However, this concert was only a couple of years before his death.......

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-05-23 19:46

William wrote:


> But it didn't seem to bother Woody--he and the band played
> wonderfully. However, this concert was only a couple of years
> before his death.......

I know this sentence was meant to be tongue in cheek.

Karl

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: William 
Date:   2010-05-24 01:25

kdk--to the best of my recollection, I'm simply telling it "like it was", no other meaning(s) implied. It didn't seem like there was that much time between when this concert (his last tour, as I remember) took place and his decline in health occured. If I am in error, please correct me--it wouldn't be the first time, as my wife is always quick to point out.......



Post Edited (2010-05-24 14:37)

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: george 
Date:   2010-05-27 00:51

My teacher and I always kiss at the beginning of my lesson. Should I worry about her moistening my reed?

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: GBK 
Date:   2010-05-27 00:59

george wrote:

> My teacher and I always kiss at the beginning of my lesson.
> Should I worry about her moistening my reed?


Only if she's not 18. [wink]

...GBK

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: band_nerd 
Date:   2010-05-27 04:27

This reminds me of our instrument try-outs back in 5th grade. There were a couple of clarinet teaches there, and they were nice enough to soak the reeds in water--but then all the people trying out for clarinet were using the same few reeds! I never even thought of that until now! EW!

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2010-05-27 15:59

Possibly one of the worst bacteria to share, that can be passed on by sharing drink bottles, is meningococcal meningitis, or meningococcal disease, which often has very serious consequences.

http://www.southerncross.co.nz/AboutTheGroup/HealthResources/MedicalLibrary/tabid/178/vw/1/ItemID/143/Meningococcal-Disease.aspx

But to all those in this thread who are revolted, are they just as revolted by people kissing, event WET kissing, let alone other "oral" activities.

Probably most of us have much the same bugs in our mouths. It's the others I suppose we have to worry a bit about.

BTW, isn't it likely that most of us harbour the agents that cause gum disease. Those of us who have a problem with it are either extra susceptible, or provide a growth environment by diet and dental hygiene.

And surely most of us collect a wide range of mouth microorganisms at a very early age, by courtesy of kisses from our parents, and putting everything in our mouths. Maybe putting everything in our mouths - surely instinctive for infants - is actually important for building up resistance. Are kisses instinctive too?

And what about this - http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_baby_koalas_eat_parents_poop - necessary for survival.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: donald 
Date:   2010-05-28 10:57

Nice one Gordon!

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2010-05-28 12:10

I see no reason to change the view I expressed in previous threads about this subject:

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=248840&t=248716

http://test.woodwind.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=249231&t=249231

...including its tone.

Perhaps many of you don't fully appreciate the degree to which a teacher's ability to help students would be damaged if it were to become the norm for a student to refuse their teacher permission to try their setup. One shouldn't contribute to justifying silly fastidiousness, however amusing it seems to be to come up with yet another 'yuck'-synonym.

As to the serious side of it, it's important to understand that the bandying about of the names of frightening-sounding diseases that MIGHT be a problem in this context does nothing, if in fact they are NOT a problem in this context.

We need to be responsible about our communication, because people behave irrationally about such things -- as has just been forcibly brought home to Andrew Wakefield, the initiator of the MMR debacle in the UK.

Tony

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-05-28 12:42

I see nothing wrong with the teacher trying the student's setup, and vice-versa, as long as the mouthpiece and reed get washed in between. Washing just isn't that damn big a deal. It takes a few seconds. In addition to preventing the spread of illness, washing prevents the distraction of the "yuck factor." Trying to bully and shame people with the pejorative "germophobe" label just isn't going to work.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2010-05-28 13:35

I adjust my students' mouthpieces and I always have to play them to test. I wash it, play it, adjust it, wash it again and give it back to the student.
If this teacher really feels it is necessary to play the reeds that they adjust, then they should dip it in vodka afterward. I am not joking about using vodka either- it is non-toxic and will disinfect most things. Better than rubbing alcohol that can make you go blind!

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-05-28 14:20

Can't use vodka with younger students  :)

Alcohol swabs do work really well and it dries almost immediately. I always tell my students to blow on the outside of the mouthpiece/reed to dry the alcohol completely before trying it.

25 years of doing that with no problems.

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2010-05-28 16:44

Lelia wrote:

>> Trying to bully and shame people with the pejorative "germophobe" label just isn't going to work.>>

Who's doing that? If someone doesn't want me to try their setup -- and I always ask permission -- or wants to wash their setup after I have tried it, I have no problem with that; even though, as someone pointed out, the teacher in the situation is running the greater risk statistically. And I certainly don't bully or shame anyone.

As I say so many times here, assertions on the BBoard show up as generalities, and cannot take account of what people choose to do themselves in specific situations. Silly yuck-talk and unsubstantiated-scare-talk here has an indirect effect on the NORMS of behaviour in teacher/student situations, and so I am against such talk -- even strongly against it.

You might be surprised how gentle-spirited I am to actual students, as opposed to BBoard pontificators. (And actually, as I once said to someone, "bullying and rudeness you should see.")

Tony



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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2010-05-29 00:33

Alcohol and alcohol swabs may make people feel good, and offer some protection, but there are nasties that are resistant to alcohol, especially spores. I guess that is why hospitals use autoclaving.


http://jcm.asm.org/cgi/reprint/18/4/974.pdf

http://www.equidblog.com/2010/02/articles/another-category/other-diseases/alcohol-wipe-before-injection/

And interesting comments here:
http://ask.metafilter.com/138284/Germs-on-my-hands

Surely, if a person regularly drinks an alcoholic beverage, then the mouth will collect organisms that have managed some resistance. Such organisms are definitely recognised.



Post Edited (2010-05-31 13:55)

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2010-05-29 01:19

I don't think the reed nor mouthpiece would take well to the autoclave ;)

http://www.SkypeClarinetLessons.com


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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2010-05-29 01:22

Students should protect themselves by putting hot souce on the reeds before the teacher tries the reeds.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




Post Edited (2010-05-31 00:50)

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-05-29 14:32

It's true that alcohol-based products don't kill everything, but a hard rinse under the tap afterwards can physically remove most of the nasties simply by washing them down the drain.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-05-30 14:42

Tony, out of curiosity, apart from trying your students' equipment to diagnose a specific playing problem, do you normally demonstrate on your own clarinet or on the students'? Wherever the "truth" of the concerns expressed in this thread actually lie, it's ironic that - as I mentioned in an earlier response to this thread - none of my teachers (all to varying degrees well-reputed as clarinetists here in the U.S.) 40-50 years ago as a general rule even had their own clarinets assembled during my lessons - they all would just grab my clarinet if they wanted to demonstrate a musical or technical point.

Karl

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Tony Pay 2017
Date:   2010-05-31 13:26

Karl wrote:

>> Tony, out of curiosity, apart from trying your students' equipment to diagnose a specific playing problem, do you normally demonstrate on your own clarinet or on the students'?>>

I normally demonstrate on my own. I have on occasion demonstrated on a student's instrument if for some reason my own isn't available.

I started to write a post about the various reasons why it can be useful to try someone else's instrument 'as is' -- that is, without changing it in any way from what they have just played on, and with their sound still in your ears -- but I think I'll just give a couple of examples, along with the general remark that making the experiment is often a useful corrective to the wrong assumptions we all tend to make about what sort of setup produces what sort of sound.

At the most basic level, a teacher may want to try a student's setup in order to make reasonably sure that what they are asking the student to do is actually possible on that particular reed and mouthpiece. But beyond that, it can be most instructive to try a colleague's instrument. I have already described here how I was able to try Reiner Wehle's Wurlitzers, and what that experience taught me about those instruments when they're properly set up.

And I well remember coaching a student period instrument group in Mozart K388, and finally offering the frustrated first clarinettist my own instrument to try.

"My God, it feels likeā€¦.like a CLARINET!" she said.

She thought it was spozed to feel like a piece of rubbish, you see; that judgement seemed to be indicated by all her previous experience with period instruments, especially her own. And of course, after that, she was in a position to do better.

I think what can be learned cuts both ways. You can learn that the setup is important, and that you may have been making unnecessarily heavy weather -- as I learned from Reiner about modern German clarinets. But you can also learn that it may be possible to get good results on a colleague's setup -- after all, THEY do -- even though you yourself would have dismissed that particular setup out of hand to start with. That realisation may lead you to explore other ways the instrument may 'feel', and go beyond sticking to what seems normal to you just because you've got used to it being that way. You may begin to choose different sorts of reeds.

Apropos reeds -- final story, with yet another moral: as a student, I had to play a Brahms sonata in the second half of a clarinet concert, and was having terrible reed trouble. A friend of mine played most beautifully in the first half of the concert, and I persuaded him to lend me his reed for my own effort, figuring that, even though our mouthpieces were slightly different, what he had played on so well had to be immediately better for me than what I was struggling with.

Wrong:-)

Tony



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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2010-05-31 14:22

I have to admit that playing on someone else's set-up and instrument can re-evaluate your own playing and your approach to playing your own instrument when you go back to it.

Not clarinet but talking tenor sax here, I've never got on particularly well with tenor sax (as I'm not used to it and rarely ever play tenor) but have no problem with bari, soprano and alto as those are what I play most. One time at work a colleague brought in one of his Selmer SBAs for me to have a look at and suggested I try it out with his set-up (the mouthpiece was an altered Florida Link). I was reluctant to play it while he was there at first for fear of sounding like a something-or-other, but as soon as I played it, it made me completely rethink my approach to the instrument.

The sound I could make on this tenor with his set-up was a total surprise as it was the very tenor sax sound I had in mind and the tenor sax sound I aspire to which is the late Michael Brecker's sound. So after getting home I sored out some reeds which gave me as near to 'that' sound as I could get. Although still not 100% confident playing tenor and nervous about playing anything below E quietly (as I don't find it as easy as soprano, alto or bari for some reason - just the nature of the beast), I do know I can make the sound I want when I want to, so that's half the battle won for me there.

Chris.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Lelia Loban 2017
Date:   2010-05-31 14:35

Tony, I don't disagree with you about any of that. I do understand how necessary it is for teachers to test students' setups. The only place where I take exception is the issue of sanitation. I realize it's a nuisance to rinse the mouthpiece, but....

My grammar school band director did do the rinsing and testing and it made an impression on me. No question that hearing him play spectacular runs and arpeggios on the same setup I used to produce the typical beginner noise brought home to me that I needed to practice more -- and more intelligently. He also sent some of the other kids' clarinets home with the instruction to nag their parents mercilessly to fork over the dough to replace or repair those unplayable honkers.

Aside from his playing, I learned about maintenance from his example. He reinforced that lesson when periodically he'd pick a kid at random, waggle his fingers at the clarinet and demand, "You. Gimme it." He'd take off the reed and take a look in there. If he found what he usually found, he'd shriek and make vomiting noises as he showed everybody the layer of slime inside the unwashed mouthpiece. The drama backfired with some of the boys who competed to see who could show off the most disgusting accumulation, but I think even they probably changed their ways, eventually.

I do make exceptions to the cleanliness routine. Last night when I was showing Kevin how a clarinet worked, we swapped it back and forth without the cleanups. We figure that, after nearly forty years of marriage, we've got all the same cooties.

Lelia
http://www.scoreexchange.com/profiles/Lelia_Loban
To hear the audio, click on the "Scorch Plug-In" box above the score.

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Old Geezer 
Date:   2010-06-01 16:19


As a young teenager my teacher used to moisten my reed and try it out for me. I thought it was thrilling! (She was just out of college and super beautiful!)

Clarinet Redux

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 Re: Teacher moistens students reed
Author: Gordon (NZ) 
Date:   2010-06-02 11:51

Ah! Fantasies! All other considerations overridden!

As a teen I used to get, er... excited, when I used a certain peer's cast off reeds. Looking back, I guess I was in love, but did not put a name to the feeling at the time.



Post Edited (2010-06-03 09:24)

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