Taking a short break from reed making, surgical recovery

My customers are awesome, and I’m so happy you like the reeds I make for you. Unfortunately I have to have surgery related to my cancer treatment that will make me unable to make reeds for most of the month of December.

So I will continue to take orders until Sunday, November 27, after which point I will disable bassoon and contrabassoon reed orders until I am able to play again, probably after Christmas. Any orders placed will be shipped by December 8 (the actual day of surgery).

I can still fulfill orders for pickups, Ozi caprice sheet music, and scale cards through December.

Benefits of randomized practice, and how to apply this to your scales!

When I was an undergrad I drilled my scales every day. Every practice began with 36 scales; every major, harmonic minor, and melodic minor. At first, I did this the way most people do: by reading from a scale sheet that probably went in order of increasing flats and then increasing sharps. Or it was by going around the circle of fifths. In whatever way, the pattern was always the same, increasing in difficulty generally, and probably not spending enough time on the minor scales.

Sound like you?

There’s a better way to practice scales that I figured would be a good idea, and my second year of undergrad I upped the game and started playing the scales in a random order. After all, in my jury I wouldn’t know what scale they would ask for, and I had to be able to play whatever scale they asked without working my way up to it first. So some days I started on C or F major, and other days it was E-flat minor. I took an old deck of cards and wrote the scale names on them, shuffled the deck, and then played through the deck.

It turns out my idea was sound, and studies have confirmed that this kind of practicing strategy can really improve performance in the real world. It certainly helped me on my juries.

So now I have designed and had professionally printed decks of cards specifically for this purpose. The Daily Scales cards promote practicing your scales in a random order, mixing minor and major scales, and making sure you get to all of them each time you practice. The deck can make sure you keep your practicing organized!

Here are some ideas for how you can use the deck:

  • Shuffle and play through the deck, the simplest way to use the cards. You can play whatever range you need, and whatever pattern, and you’re guaranteed to get all of the scales exactly once.
  • Shuffle and play some cards, then practice an etude, and the deck will be there for you with remaining cards for later in practice. This mixes up the random scales much like the BPM article above mentions to do, and again makes sure you get all the scales exactly once.
  • Use them for arpeggio studies
  • Jazz musicians: use them for ii-V-I turnaround patterns in all keys (use melodic minor as a TT sub option and harmonic minor as the regular in-key chords)
  • Separate the scales you need more work on, and go back to those in an organized way.

The deck is professionally printed and the material construction is great. The cards aren’t sticky at all so they shuffle really easily. They’re the same size as a standard card deck and should fit easily in your instrument case.

Order here!

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