When I was in high school, I switched private lesson teachers. It was a bit of a shock to my system when I  discovered my new teacher was old school, really old school, as in European scrape old school.  I had learned to play on American scrape reeds and had no desire to switch.  My teacher was very understanding and supported my decision to keep playing on the American style.  This meant I was a bit crunched for finding reeds.  These were the days before the internet and store bought reeds were the only thing available.  Wretched. Horrid. Store Bought Reeds.  My previous teacher had introduced me to reed-making and I had really enjoyed it, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.  I would just have to learn to make my own reeds.  Somehow, I got a hold of the Jay Light classic The Oboe Reed Book.  I spent the next year reading and reeding and actually managed to get some decent results out of the process.  I loved that book and I still do.  When I really get into a reed rut, I return to it and work my way through step by step.  It's clear, concise and packed with great advice.  If you want to learn to make reeds, get a copy of it.  It's fabulous, but it's limited by the very fact that it's a book.  I remember wishing there was some way I could watch someone through the whole process.  I wanted to be able to really see how things were done, even though I was on my own. 
This week Making Reeds from Start to Finish was released through iTunes Books for a purchase price of $14.99.  At the present time, this book is an iPad only interface.  It will not open on other Apple devices (see note below). 
The book was written by Dr. Nancy Ambrose King.  Kevin Chavez edited and provided video footage with Matt Dine providing the still photographs.  The interface for the book is smooth and fluid.  You can easily move from chapter to chapter or from page to page.  There are demonstration videos throughout, excellent interactive graphics, and audio clips of reed crows to help you through the process.  It's also very easy to highlight text, take notes or even review information with glossary "flashcards."   The text takes you through the entire reed-making process and even includes advice about gouging and shaping cane as well as information about English horn reeds.  Of course, there are some things in my own reed-making that I do quite differently than Dr. Ambrose King recommends, but I feel this book is an incredible resource for anyone wanting to learn more about this subject.  In my opinion, it's an absolute MUST BUY for any oboist who has access to an iPad.  This is a beautifully constructed e-book that takes full advantage of the format while never losing sight of the content the author is trying to present.   Congratulations and thank you to everyone who worked to bring it to fruition.
PLEASE NOTE: At this time, the book is only available on an iPad.  I've talked to Kevin Chavez and he explained that the limited release is due to Apple's formatting constraints.  Hopefully Apple will expand the platform into other devices soon!


08/27/2012 14:07

Your blog is terrific! However, you may want to warn people that the reed making ibook can only be effectivley downloaded to an IPAD. I just found out the hard way by downloading it to my Mac. You can download it to your mac but you can not open it. I researched this after the fact and found out that the books do not work like the music. Fifteen dollars wasted--My fault, of course, for not reading the fine print--but you may want to warn others.


Comments are closed.