Bassoon Reed Care
It is important to take care of your reeds properly. You have invested too much money for your child's reeds for them not to be properly cared for. It is really quite easy, yet not something that is taught by the schools.
Care of your reeds:
Before using the reed, it should be soaked in a soaker cup. Just a minute for oboe reeds. Bassoon reeds should be entirely soaked for several minutes. The time it takes to assemble the instrument is adequate.
Why can't a reed just get wet by putting it in my mouth?
If you just wet the reed by putting it in your mouth you will only get the outer surface of the reed wet. Double reeds have four surfaces, top, bottom, and the two insides. If the reed is not adequately wet it will hesitate, honk or not play at all. The acids in your mouth break down food. There is no distinction between bamboo cane and any other food. The less contact with the saliva, the longer the reed will last.
When not using your reed, place it in your reed case. The reed case should have ventilation to allow the reeds to breathe. If not, they can easily develop black or red mold. At night your reed case should be left open outside of the instrument case to dry. Be sure not to forget to put them back into your case.
The case should be out of the reach of curious siblings or pets.
Bassoon Reed Cleaning:
Every two weeks, soak your entire reed in a solution of 1/2 water, 1/2 hydrogen peroxide and a splash of mouthwash. Put the solution in your soaker cup and allow the reeds to soak until any bubbling from the reed tube stops. Remove the reed and use your brush to clean out the tube. Clean any debris off of the reed blades and rinse in clean water. Let your reeds dry and then store your reeds in your reed case.
Oboe Reed Cleaning:
Every two weeks, rinse your reed in cool water and clean the inside of the staple with your brush, rinse and let dry thoroughly before replacing in your reed case.
NEVER EVER DRINK YOUR REED WATER!!!
Your reed can develop mold inside that you cannot see. When you soak it, the debris gets into the water. Drinking it puts that mold into your body. Don't do it. I had a student hospitalized a few years ago for not heeding this warning. He had a serious systemic fungal infection. Use clean water each and every time you play! It is not worth the risk.
Donna Foley Double Reed Studio
Why can't I just keep the reed in the shipping tube or case?
The shipping tube or case does not allow the reed to dry, even if there are holes punched in it. The cotton or pad will absorb bacteria and does not protect the tip from damage. If they are placed back into the tube wet they will mold, see picture.