"thinthetip", my Instagram account, began in August 2018, nine years after I had left my job as Principal Oboist of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and eight years into my tenure as Associate Professor of Oboe at Central Michigan University. It was started as a way to prioritize reed making in my daily schedule.
As Principal Oboist of the TSO, I made reeds daily and would spend hours at a time engaged in reed making. There was always a constant flow of working reeds. Now, as a busy oboe professor, this has not been the case. I can no longer follow the same type of reed making routine that I had in Tucson. There simply are not enough hours in the day.
Unfortunately, my current reed making had become more and more of a last-minute affair. Sometimes I would get lucky and these hurried sessions would yield one or two great reeds, but, more often than not, I felt like I was frequently in "make it work" mode and playing on reeds that were just not comfortable, keeping my fingers crossed I would make it through a performance unscathed.
Before I go any further, let me be perfectly clear about one thing: I love reed making! I love the challenges, the mistakes, and all the drama of the process. I love when the reed comes together and I feel invincible playing it. It bothers me when I cannot be at my reed desk. Reed making has always helped center me as an oboist. I was losing track of this and it was really starting to weigh heavily on me.
So, after much thought, I decided to try my hand at Instagram and use it to hold myself accountable for working on an oboe reed a day (#oboereedaday).
My rules are:
Why "thinthetip"? Because it is the most frequent phrase I use when teaching reed making or trying to diagnose my own reed making issues. All vibration starts in the tip, so if it is not set up correctly, the rest of the reed will suffer.
Little did I know that this would turn in to such a wonderful teaching tool for my students and something that seems to be very helpful and inspiring to my followers. Their positive and supportive comments have encouraged me to keep posting and provide the accountability I need to continue prioritizing reed making in my daily schedule.
Thank you, followers. You inspire me daily.
Lastly, writing my posts has helped me be much more reflective and thoughtful about how I make my reeds. It has helped me see my reed making differently. I am making the best reeds I have made in years! Best of all, I can usually find something in my case that plays great or can be easily finished to play well. It's been a win-win all the way around.
Long live @thinthetip!
USE AT YOUR OWN RISK: The information contained on my website and social media channels (Facebook and Instagram) is for educational and informational purposes only. Any attempt to incorporate my reed making techniques, activities, or concepts is at your own risk. It is your responsibility to evaluate your own reed making skill level and to independently determine whether to perform, use, or adapt any of the information or content presented on my website or social media channels. Any activity in which sharp implements (knives, razor blades, etc.) are used may result in injury. By voluntarily trying any reed making techniques displayed on my website or social media channels, you assume the risk of any resulting injury, thereby absolving me of any liability or loss that may incur from your use of the information provided.
@thinthetip on Instagram