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Reed alone exercises tutorial

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

I start every practice session with these reed alone exercises. Be precise and mindful as you do these exercises- you are mentally warming up for the practice session too.


REMEMBER: These exercises are listed in order of priority. I’d rather you practice fewer exercises and do them well then try to practice everything at a mediocre level. Be sure to use a reed that is ACTUALLY stable and yet flexible enough to reach all the Ab. Try not to hold on to the reed with your hand. Instead, cradle the reed with your embouchure and roll the upper lip in and out to change the pitch. Your are building the embouchure muscles- think bicep curls for your lips or, as Indiana University Oboe Professor Linda Strommen calls them- "embouchure push-ups.".


WARNING: Doing these exercises on flat and unstable reeds will cause you to compensate by using too much embouchure


Reed alone exercises 5-10 minute/ day:


PART 1: Match pitch with tuner using air alone. Sustain three beats at quarter note= 60. Repeat 3-5 times on each pitch. Perform exercise on C, B, Bb. Add A and Ab once you can consistently match C,B, and Bb.


PART 2: Articulated match pitch with tuner. Articulate three quarter notes at quarter note= 60. Repeat 3 times on each pitch. Perform exercise on C, B, and Bb (and A if it’s going well.)


PART 3: Slur between C- B-C. Again, matching pitches with the tuner. Quarter note= 60. Repeat exercise 3-5 times. Slur between C-Bb-C. Repeat exercise 3 times.

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