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Reeds by Holly

About Holly

Why I Do It

Practically speaking, I make reeds because I have invested too much money and dozens of years developing this skill not to. Artistically speaking, I make reeds because no one;s reed fits me like my own. As well, I can fit my students to a reed that compliments the shortcomings of their student-level instruments, and their own playing foibles. I will not waist time teaching around the shortcomings of reeds sold in almost all retail stores. It is a fact that you will never outplay your reed.

Order of Production

I sell reeds to my students, first, and then to clients outside of my studio. I will not hurry up and make more reeds to meet market demand. I don’t make reeds for a market; I make reeds for a person. To control your wait time, you will sometimes see published windows in which I am not accepting new orders. Any inconvenience will be compensated for by your patience. Get in line. My promise is that your reeds, when they are finished, will work very well, well enough to have waited a month to two months for them, or you get your money back (within the return window of time).

Quality Control Statement

My quality control is simple: If I don’t want to play on it, I won’t sell it to you.

About Holly Bauschka

I hold a B.M.Ed. and a M.M. in music education and oboe performance. I learned the Philadelphia school of sound from the late Stephen Lickman, former principal English hornist of the Dallas Symphony. My undergraduate transition to oboe came about due to pressure from my mentor, University of Michigan’s immortal Donald Sinta, and my sax professor at ETSU, James Keene. Reluctantly, I complied; and what a gift they gave me! It was a brutal transition. I scraped reeds that were barely playable and was forced to play on them, and the stark ugliness was more than I could bear. I resolved to stop the suffering by mastering reed making no matter how long it took, but preferably before I died, and afterward if necessary. I was 18 then. Forty-five years later, I’m still learning. I still take reeds to DSO’s Erin Hannigan and study how the tone is dependent on the quality of the vibration patterns moving through the reed.

Stephen Lickman played oboe with a robust spinning sound that sounded like lemon meringue pie tastes, all creamy with a spritz of zest on top. It shimmered and danced when he articulated, and listening to his English horn sound was like sitting in the sun, watching sun-warmed honey saturate my toast. (Picture the butterfly on the rim of my plate, slowly fanning its wings.) “Holy cow!” I blurted out the first time I heard him play, “I didn’t know it could sound like that!” And, what if I could learn to sound like that? “It’s a nice reed,” he replied simply.

The Reed is the Secret to Sounding Great

The reed is the gateway. The good ones are still made by hand over several days. It’s a fickle piece of grass, grown in a swamp in tropical Europe and Asia. It takes a cane hypnotist with a sharp knife to make it behave in your practice room at home. Digital recordings cannot capture the layered depths of color in the tone; so, my best advice to you is to get a good teacher who plays beautifully and sit beside them while they play. Find someone who can teach you how to sound like lemon meringue and honey, someone who can teach you to make and adjust your own reeds, because your ultimate goal must be to replace the reed I make for you with your very own reed. In the meantime, I’ll try to help you sound beautiful.