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How long should I soak my reed?

Happy Monday!

Over the weekend I hosted a Mock Audition event for 4 of my students who are auditioning (or re-auditioning) for Youth Orchestra programs. They all did well, and learned some things about what they need to prepare better or differently in the time before their actual audition.

I got a great question from a student who’s been playing since September - “How long should I soak my reed? It felt over-soaked since I kept it in the water the whole time until I played.”

Let’s talk about it.

Generally, oboe reeds just need 30-60 seconds to absorb enough water to play. If you’re in a place or time of year where humidity tends to be lower, oboists can/should plan to soak their reeds a bit longer. Try adding 15-30 seconds to the soak time when the humidity is under 30%.

At an audition, or concert, the student should soak their reed when they arrive and play a few minutes to warm up, then leave it out of the water until just before going on stage or into the audition room. The reed will need 5-15 seconds of additional soaking right before they play.

Also, encourage students to bring the water cup on stage or into the audition room! If they need to dip their reed partway through, the water will come in handy, and they won’t have to play on a hard, dry reed.

And that’s it for today - have a great week!



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