What Makes Music Therapy, Music Therapy?

I recently had a conversation with a music therapy professional that left me pondering many things. I was looking for some guidance on my private practice, and I ended up talking to a person who has spent years teaching music lessons as her music therapy private practice. Anyone who knows me knows what I feel about lessons (and if you don’t I’ll explain over the course of this blog).
Music therapy is when a music therapist works with an individual/group in order to use the therapeutic qualities of music to achieve personalized goals. This means that a music therapist will asses a person and figure out what they need help with. The categories that most music therapists assess are Communication, Academic, Musical, Motor, Emotional, and Social. In order to work with someone, a music therapist must identify that the person is lacking in one of these areas, and once this happens, the music therapist will find ways to use music to meet these needs.
I always get very frustrated when people talk about music therapists teaching people how to play an instrument. I am very bad at teaching people how to play instruments, and that is the reason why being a music educator never crossed my mind. Are lessons music therapy? Lessons can be therapeutic, but it goes back to what I said above. Teaching someone how to play an instrument has to have a therapeutic purpose. Let me share a few examples of how this can work.

1. Lessons are often used with persons with disabilities. A lot of people with disabilities live their lives being told that they can’t do things. Music therapist often use adaptive lessons to give them a sense of accomplishment that they don’t usually experience in their daily life. Music lessons with disabilities work on motor skills, cognitive skills, and it can even be helpful with emotional skills in this situation. There are other areas that music lessons can be used for, but they very from person to person.
2. Lessons can be used with Veterans. In my internship we used lessons to develop a coping mechanism. Learning how to play an instrument gave the Veterans something to turn to when their PTSD got too bad or when they were up and couldn’t turn their brain off. In the VA setting lessons are typically used to benefit someone’s emotional being, their communication, and their social life.
3. Lessons can also be used in the hospital setting to help with pain management. There’s nothing that helps distract a person from what their going to than having to focus on an instrument. In this setting this works on Motor Skills, Emotions, and can even help with Academic Skills.

Now you’re probably wondering how lessons can do all of this so let’s review that. Lessons help with communication, because there’s a lot of communication that goes into learning the instrument. Yes, the therapist explains and shows how to do a lot, but the client must be able to communicate their struggles and ask questions to learn the instrument. This can also open the door by giving the client someone to trust, which can lead to them communicating a lot of other things with the therapist. Lessons can help with academic because it takes a lot of thought to learn an instrument, and if the patient really enjoys it, then it can be used as a reward to get them to do any work that they need to do. Learning an instrument helps with motor because every instrument involves Gross Motor Skills in using the arms and then fine motor skills in using the fingers. Lessons work on the emotional level because it works as an outlet. When someone is angry or sad, they can represent these feelings in the instrument. Therapists often gauge where clients are emotionally by how they play. Instruments can help the social domain because the therapist gives the client someone to socialize with. In the VA, most people who learned the guitar were later put into the guitar group for socialization.
So as you can see lessons can be a very beneficial music therapy intervention, but it only works as therapy when the therapist and client have goals that they are working on and continue to work towards those goals. Once the goals have been met, then it’s probably time for the therapist to re-evaluate and see if there are other goals that can be worked on, or it might be time to terminate the therapy. Unlike normal lessons, music therapy lessons can’t last forever and they won’t last as long as the parents are willing to pay. I hope this helps some people better understand music therapy and the function of lessons!


Is your picture a reflection of Christ?

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with a concept. A few weeks ago, I was talking to my husband and our pastor about salvation. They were saying that when you go up to a Christian and ask them if they are saved, then they should respond with a yes. I disagreed. I would respond with an “I don’t know,” because I don’t know what it will look like in the end. The concept is that once you accept Christ in your life then you are saved, but how do we know if we’ve truly accepted Christ and are saved? My confusion on this topic might be because I was raised Catholic, and a lot of Catholics believe that once you’re baptized and cleansed of your sin, you have to work to maintain your salvation by working for God’s kingdom. My thought behind saying I’m not sure is if I’ve been a Christian for 50 years and my life doesn’t change, then will I be saved just because I believe in God and attend church sometimes? I don’t know the answer to that, but I imagine that God wants more. Why do I say this? Matthew 5:13-16

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

In this passage, we are salt, and it is possible to lose the taste, but it can be restored. It also says that we are a light to be shined before others. So what does this mean? Well, that brings me back to the main idea. No one really knows what will happen in the end, so I believe that all we can do is live our best life. This leads me to the concept that I have been obsessing over recently. What does it mean to live a Christian life? Looking to the scripture above, we can see that we should maintain our saltiness, and by this I believe that it means staying close to God and his word. The scripture also says that we should be a light to shine the way for others. You can’t really answer the question what does it mean to be a Christian because it has never ending answers, but I think in seeking the answer we should try to live out this post. This is a topic that I will probably refer back to constantly in the future, but let’s take on today’s topic.
Is your picture a reflection of Christ? This is the first thing that has really touched me on my quest to find my answer. Now don’t read into this too much to begin with. We’re talking about literal pictures: the pictures on your Instagram, Facecook, Twitter, etc. I’ve heard so many people in the church saying that they are thankful for social media because it makes church more accessible. I don’t disagree with that, but I think we also need to be reminded that social media can be very harmful. When people look at the pictures that you’ve posted, do they see Christ in them? Now when I say this, I’m not looking for bible verses to be on every picture or for you to post about God 24/7 (I have opinions on those that I’ll save for another time). I’m talking about your representation of the kingdom of God.
A lot of people I know have been getting engaged recently. I love seeing engagement pictures, but sometimes I see pictures and think that they don’t do a good job of capturing the relationship that God has brought together. Today if you go through engagement pictures, you might see a kissing picture every three photos. Who needs that many kissing pictures? By seeing this, I’m assuming that all that you and your fiance do is kiss. I believe that engagement pictures should capture the essence of your relationship. Is the physical part of your relationship really what you want to show people? It’s the same with alcohol. If you post a picture with alcohol everyday people are going to assume that you’re some kind of alcoholic. That’s just how humans are.
I’ll be the first to admit that I delete and/or don’t post pictures if I think I look bad in them, but I’m trying to stop doing that because I’ll never be perfect or look perfect in every picture there is of me. Then I have my blog, this is where my real transparency is. I don’t hide my problems here. When you look at my social media, I hope you don’t see a husband and wife who can’t keep their hands of of each other. I hope you see a girl whose husband is her best friend, who loves her family and friends more than anything, who is genuinely happy and loves others. When I talk about seeing Christ in your pictures, I mean respect yourself, and don’t post things that will ruin your witness to nonbelievers.
If we want to take this topic a little further, then we can look past the pictures and ask ourselves if our lifestyle reflects Christ. I’ll be the first to say mine doesn’t always do that. I have many things in my life that I struggle with which is why I chose to focus on a word this year. My word is Authentic. My goal is to stop deleting pictures of facebook that I don’t look good in, admitting my faults, and just trying to live my best life. I pray that you think about the idea of what does it mean to live a Christian life. Don’t just stop at social media, but also look at it in the way you speak, the way you present yourself, and the decisions you make. If you think your media is clean, then next take a look at your life. We’ll talk about some ways to look into our life over the next few weeks, but for now just remember that there’s always room to grow and be a better follower.

Don’t Close the Door

It’s really funny how life works sometimes. These past few weeks have been a roller coaster. As you can tell from my last blog post, I decided that I wasn’t going to open a private practice due to finances and not having a place to work from. Well, things have changed and I am opening a private practice to do some contracting work in the Augusta area. This a scary endeavor to embark on, but I’m doing it. After I figured out all of the legal processes I would have to go through to start a private practice, I started to feel like it wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t even willing to look at any other options. I was disappointed and I lost sight of everything.
I spent the weekend and the following Monday looking for any job that I could apply to. Activities therapist, mentoring, activities assistant, ect. I even went through a phase of debating if I should go back to school to get a Master’s degree in something more marketable. When I think back on that moment it absolutely breaks my heart. On this entire journey of becoming a music therapist I never once thought about doing something different. I knew without a doubt that this was the calling that God put on my life and I was going to fulfill that calling, but here I was giving up on it. Here I was being disobedient and telling God no.
Well, let me tell you what God did in this time. God sent a company to the CBMT website looking for a music therapist in the Augusta area. That company contacted my internship supervisors and they send them in my direction. They contacted me saying that they wanted to contract with me to provide services for someone in my area. If that wasn’t God reassuring me that a private practice in Augusta is my calling, then I don’t know what that is. So now I’m back on the path God wants me and I’m feeling rejuvenated and confident.
Once I received that email I was overjoyed, but also so disappointed in myself. I could hear God speaking to me and saying why did you turn away in the first sign of trouble? I didn’t have the answer. That’s my nature. When things don’t go the way that I plan, then I want to just give up and move onto something different. It’s time to work on myself and change this nature of mine. I know opening a private practice won’t be easy, but I can’t give up. I’ve already started the steps, so there’s no turning back now.

I’m finding so much support in Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling

I know that God will be by my side through this journey. I hope to use this verse to remind myself not to turn my back when I’m overcome with fear. In those moments of fear, I should run to God rather than running away. If there’s anything in your life that you’re struggling with, I hope that this post might give you come comfort. Remember God always has a plan that is far beyond what we can imagine for ourselves.

So you want to open a private music therapy practice.

Recently, I finished my music therapy degree and got my board certification. It’s such an exciting time in your life when you finally finish school…until it isn’t. Once I passed my boards, I had to get licensed in the state of Georgia. That part wasn’t too difficult, but I’ve been planning to open a private practice once I got this done and I’m realizing that it’s a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. I’ve read articles and purchased books on how to do it, but now I’m realizing that I can’t do it. None of my resources have talked about the price of opening a private practice, so I’m going to share that with you.

Before I continue, I want to put in a disclaimer that I am absolutely not a professional on this topic and I highly recommend meeting with a business advisor or someone else who has opened a private practice. Also the cost listed below are strictly for Augusta, Georgia. Know that they’ll vary from state to state and city to city, but this should give you an estimate of how much you need.

So my original plan was just to be a private contractor. I thought that I could just talk to facilities and get them to pay me to come for a few hours a week to provide music therapy services. Well this is not the case. When you’re contracting you have to contract under someone. This is typically your own personal business or a private practice. This is the rule of thumb for tax purposes. You have to be working under an official business registered with the state that you are in, otherwise you could get into a lot of legal trouble.

So let’s talk about how to open your business. When reading you’ll see a lot about opening an sole proprietorship or a limited liability corporation (LLC). I was looking into an LLC so that’s all I can talk on. You first have to come up with a name and register it with the Secretary of State. Then it costs 100.00 to open an LLC. I thought that wasn’t too bad, but you also need an EIN number. It does not cost any money to obtain this number as long as you file for it through the IRS, but if you go through any other websites they will charge you if they have to file it for you. Once you get these things, you also have to get a business license. A business license will run you anywhere from 50 to 400.00 depending on where you live. The city you live in determines the price. The business license where I live is closer to the 400.00 price. But you also have to have an establishment to open a business even if you’re contracting. So if you’re renting a place, you have to get a special permit signed by your landlord allowing you to work in your house. This is because you need an office to work from no matter what. Where I live this special permit cost 175.00, but my lease also specifically states that you can’t run any sort of business out of your home.

So this is where I’m at right now. I’m thankful that I was able to learn all of this within a month of my internship ending because now I can come up with some other options. Just know that the private practice route sounds like a good and simple idea, but there are so many hoops to jump through to do this and you also need a good amount of savings to start one up. You also need a good accountant to help with your business because not only will you need to pay quarterly personal taxes, you also need to pay business taxes once a year. I wish I had a document that listed all of this out before I formed the idea of opening a private practice. People don’t talk about the nitty gritty of opening one, so here it is! If you have any questions about this, please feel free to comment and I’ll respond as soon as I can! I wish you the best!


Sure, “Millennial”

Over the last year or two, I’ve had a lot of people try to tell me how to live my life. The worst part is that it’s usually people I’m not close to that try to tell me what to do. It’s funny how that works. The people close to us want us to be happy doing what we want to do, but those who just know us by association think that they know what’s best for us. I’ll give you a few examples of what I’m talking about:

When I first got engaged and picked a wedding date, a lot of people told my mom that I was too young to get married. They thought that I needed to explore the world and experience a lot of stuff that I’ve never done. Now that I’m married, when I tell people that I want to stay in Augusta they tell me that Kaleb and I are too young to stay in one place and that we should travel and live in different places before we set out roots.

You might be wondering why I’m bringing this up. Well, it’s because this millennial generation that I’m a part of can’t win. I’ve seen article after article in which people say that millennials don’t know how to settle down. They are narcissistic and have problems with entitlement.  These articles have also said that millennials don’t typically stay in a job for very long. People think that this is a bad thing and that the millennial generation is unreliable. This viewpoint is completely opposite to what I’ve experienced in my own life. People think I’m “silly” for getting married young and for wanting to stay in one place and work hard. Our generation just can’t win.

So in regards to this, I have a response. If you’re a part of an older generation: I thank you for imparting your wisdom on me, but ultimately it is my life and my decision. To my fellow millennials: do what you feel is right. I’ve found that a lot of the advice people have shared with me comes from a place of them wanting me to do what they never got the chance to do. Something I’ve also heard from older generations is how miserable they were in their jobs, and that’s the last thing that I want.

Honestly, most of my life decisions are made after a lot of prayer. Kaleb and I read our bible and pray over decisions that we face in our life. We really feel that God has called us to Augusta and we know that he will bless us here if this is where he wants us to be. I have a different take on life than a lot of other people my age. I don’t like to travel. If I’m going to travel somewhere, I need a reason to be traveling. That’s why I love my field because conferences and CMTE credits will give me a reason to travel! I also love the city of Augusta. I absolutely hated living  here when I was growing up, but going to college gave me a new appreciation for this city. I’m so happy to be back here and I hope that I pick up some contracting soon so that I can stay in Augusta and build up a private music therapy practice. I have big dreams, but I can achieve them from right where I am. Traveling and moving seems nice, but I love my family, and I want them to be by my side through all of the ups and downs that are in my future.

I say all of this to remind other people that might be in the same position that it’s your life and ultimately you’re the only one who truly knows how to live it. Feel free to leave a comment below and tell me what you think! I’d love to hear what other millennials are doing with their life.


Life & Faith

It’s been a long time since I’ve published a post on this blog. I’ve been working my internship these past few months and I guess I just haven’t taken the time to sit and put my thoughts down lately. I just started the final month of my internship and I’m so excited to be so close to having my degree and becoming a board-certified music therapist. While I’m excited, there are a lot of other feelings that overpower my feelings of excitement. I’m tired. It has been a long five months so far. I have really enjoyed my internship, but as time wears on your start to really feel the weight of being in a unpaid internship. It’s not fun to work eight hour days five days a week and have nothing to show for it. I’m weary. Everyone keeps asking me about my next step and honestly I don’t have one. I applied for a job and they turned me down. I didn’t realize how hard that was. It left me questioning myself. Why am I not good enough for this job? What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t God give me this? I guess I’m just going through a big period of self doubt. You see music therapy isn’t a huge field. It’s growing, but there aren’t any positions open in Augusta. I could function as an activity therapist, but even those jobs are far and few between. I feel that God has called me to Augusta, but there isn’t really anything here for me. At least not from what I have seen. That’s the funny thing about Faith and Christianity. I can’t see God’s plans for my future, I just have to trust that they’re there. Something that I’ve found comforting through this period of time is Hebrews 11. This passage talks about the faith of many followers of God and what their faith brought them. It’s so much easier to believe in God’s faithfulness when we can see his faithfulness in the lives of others. I have really enjoyed reading Hebrews 11 because it spoke truth into my life. It assured me that God will provide for me in his timing (vs. 39-40) . They key to this passage is faith. If I don’t have strong faith through this period in time, then I won’t receive what God has for me. I pray that I can have the faith of Moses, Enoch, and all of the others in this passage.I am thankful for the reminder that this passage brings because it’s a reminder that without faith, we are nothing. I pray that you take time this week to read this passage and that God uses it to speak to you and whatever challenges stand in front of you.

Music Therapist and Music Therapy Students: Where Should we Draw the Line?

Something that I really love about the music therapy profession is how hard everyone works for it to be recognized as a valid therapy. We spend four years in school studying and then 6 months in an internship. After that we have to pass a board certification exam and depending on what state we live in we might have to obtain a license to practice in that state. People have worked so hard to progress our field to where it is today and it is amazing to see, but there are some things that I’ve seen recently that don’t really sit well with me.

I’ve seen a lot of shared videos about the power of music and I absolutely love  it. It’s making people aware of the power that music has, but what is it doing for our profession. I know that there are a lot of different people and organizations that go around to different facilities and provide music for the residents there and I think that’s great. I also think it’s great that a lot of us are sharing these videos, but let me propose a question. Why would these facilities pay a music therapist when they have volunteers that come in and sing to the residents of these facilities? I know your response will be well they aren’t the same thing and I know they aren’t, but the people running these facilities don’t know that. So many people think that music therapists just go in and sing songs. They don’t realize that every song is hand selected to serve a specific purpose. They don’t understand that we do a thorough assessment before we begin treatment. They don’t understand anything about music therapy, but they do understand money and a lot of places don’t want to spend money where they don’t have to spend money.

Now I’m not writing this to make you feel bad about sharing these videos. I’m writing this to make sure that we’re aware of the impact that these things can have on our field. Yes we should be happy that these people are experiencing music, but we also have to remember that music is very delicate and that a lot of these people don’t have the training to use it in the ways that we do. My husband has been working for a TV station and this man sings in nursing homes and he told everyone that he likes to call it music therapy. If this man does that how many of people do this? I’m so thankful that my husband is a huge advocate for the music therapy profession because after the show he made sure to go up to the man and explain to him that he can’t call what he’s doing music therapy. The man didn’t realize that there was an actual music therapy field. So next time you see a video showing the power of music, appreciate it and enjoy seeing the power of music, but also think about what these videos do for the field of music therapy. Feel free to leave a comment about this, I’d love to discuss this topic with you!

The Key to a Low-Budget Wedding

So it has been about two weeks since I got married, and it has been great! I love being married and getting to spend so much time with Kaleb. Something that we keep talking about is just how much we loved our wedding. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about things that they would go back and fix if they had the chance, but Kaleb and I don’t have any of those feelings. The best part is that we don’t have any of those feelings and our wedding cost us under $5,000.00. So I figured that I would write a post about what I did to keep my wedding at a lower cost to share with any other brides that are frugal!

  1. Pay attention to the city that you’re in. Some cities will be a lot more expensive than others. The bigger the city, the higher the cost … of EVERYTHING. For example, I was looking at having my wedding at the Cultural Center in Augusta, Ga., but it was already booked for the day we wanted so we decided to have our wedding in Thomson. This saved us about $1,000.00 on the venue.
  2. The venue. Now my personal opinion is that churches are always the best venues, especially if you are a member at a church. Being a member at a church will save you so much money. Churches won’t be cheaper if you just find a church and get married there. Also when looking at venues, I recommend looking for an indoor venue. Outdoor venues are often very cheap, but by the time you add up all of the rentals I don’t think that you’ll be saving that much money. It’s a lot easier and less stressful to just have an indoor venue that already has all the tables and chairs that you need. Plus, this allows for accessible bathrooms and a kitchen. It helps that there’s no stress over wondering if it will rain on your day.
  3. Food and cake. First, let’s talk about cake. When you’re looking for a wedding cake you’ll more than likely get quotes above $500.00. So I recommend cupcakes. They’re easy to serve and a lot cheaper. We did a two tier white cake and 50 cupcakes for our wedding and it was just a little over $100.00. We just went to a local bakery and ordered it! Also for food, don’t look for a well-known caterer. They’ll always charge more. I started looking at caterers in Augusta and was planning on seeing if they could commute to Thomson, but it was looking like it would cost me over $20.00 a plate to do that. We ended up finding a wonderful restaurant in Thomson that does catering, and we were only charged $13.00 a plate. She isn’t known for her catering, but everyone in the town goes to her restaurant, and if I’m being honest, it’s the BEST wedding food I’ve ever had. It’s honestly the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed food at a wedding.
  4. Another way to cut costs is doing a lot of the work yourself. My mother-in-law was a gem in helping with the wedding. She saved the day by planning the perfect centerpieces and helping us put them out on the tables. She bought the table cloths, rented some china, bought some glasses and fake flowers, and bought some plate stands for us to use. Then my mom and I bought some tulle and little boxes an doilies to help out. Having family to help set all of this up was great, and it was nice to do it ourselves because it gave me something to do that morning. I was allowed to see and make sure that the centerpieces looked good like I wanted them to. Plus, Kaleb was able to use his own computer and equipment for the reception, which made him trust everything a little bit more.
  5. The last way I saved money was on all the photographs. We didn’t hire a professional photographer. They cost a lot of money, and Kaleb hates the way most photographers take pictures. Most photographers have blurry backgrounds and he doesn’t like their editing, so by getting my cousin to take the pictures, Kaleb was able to edit them. A lot of people have said that they regretted not getting a professional photographer, but Kaleb and I think that it is one of the best decisions we made. We also just had a video camera capture the wedding rather than hire a videographer. We just wanted to capture the ceremony, we didn’t want an artsy video that only showed a few snippets of our big day. The ceremony was the most important part to us, so we wanted to make sure we had the entire thing to watch.
  6. Music. Music is also an aspect of weddings that can be expensive. The good thing about getting married in a church is that an organ and piano are available along with someone to play it. We were so lucky that the pianist that plays on the worship team with Kaleb was willing to play for our wedding as a gift and she did beautifully. Then my aunt led the songs. I’ll be making a special post about my wedding music later, so be on the lookout for that! Then luckily the Family Life Center at the church had speakers and equipment Kaleb knew how to operate, so we were able to just plug a playlist in and not hire a DJ.

So these are some of my tips for weddings, and I hope that they can help you out with planning your big day. Also, I’m going to put in a shameless plug here because why not? Kaleb and I have really felt God putting a call on our heart to make weddings more accessible financially. A wedding is a sacrament and it’s supposed to be a reflection of our relationship with Christ, so why is it so expensive? We hate it and we want to change that! If you’re looking for wedding musicians or a DJ then head over to our Facebook page KTab Music, and we’d love to work with you on a price you can afford. Also if you don’t feel like paying for an expensive photographer or videographer head on over to our Facebook page Natural Frame. I’m pursing a music degree and Kaleb has a Mass Communications degree and one of his focuses is video. We would love to help you out. So feel free to reach out to me here on my blog or at one of the pages above. I look forward to hearing from you and I hope that this has helped.

Seven Days

In Seven Days I will be married. Lately a lot of people have been asking me if I’m nervous or stressed out and they’re always surprised when I tell them no. I printed a checklist off of pinterest and planned my wedding without any problems. It has been a great season, but I knew it would be.

You see I met Kaleb in August of 2014. When I first met him we spent three hours talking and din’t even realize that much time had gone by. About two weeks after meeting him I told my mom that I was going to marry him. She thought I was crazy, but here we are! I’ve always known I was going to marry him, so getting to plan our big day has been a blast! We’re getting married at the First United Methodist Church in Thomson, Georgia. We’re having our ceremony and our reception there. We’re having hymns being played by an organ and my aunt Celina leading the hymns. We’re having a delicious southern dinner for the reception and it’s going to be a blast. Everything has fallen into place perfectly….well perfectly for the wedding that is.

We still don’t have a place to live after the wedding. I don’t know if anyone knows this, but most apartments require you to make at least 3 times the rent in order to live there and Kaleb doesn’t make that. He’s been looking for a new job for months and nothing has worked out. It’s been very upsetting. It’s hard not to lose faith and just feel completely upset. It feels as though our spiritual walks are going through a long never ending test. I’ve spent a lot of this season really angry with God and really upset. It has been hard to keep faith. I know that God is going to provide, but we’ve been waiting for about six months and it has been very silent. Kaleb recently got a part time job for the church we attend and we’re really excited about it. It’ll be so helpful during this season. Right as we start to lose our faith it seems as though God does something to tell us to hold on.

This has been the longest battle we’ve faced and I don’t know when it will be over, but I know that God is watching over us. I’m just writing this to say that life is hard sometimes and sometimes God will test us and we just have to be strong and keep our faith. I’ve never been this vulnerable with people, but I hope that maybe this can serve as a reminded to others that we don’t know God’s plan, but he has one. Life may be hard, but there is light. Just keep praying and trust in God.

I’m an Oboe Player and I Don’t Make my Own Reeds.

Hello everyone as you can see from the title of this article I am an oboe player. I began playing the violin in the fourth grade, I picked up the flute in the sixth grade, and I began playing oboe in the tenth grade. No one has ever asked me why I started playing oboe, so I’m going to share that with you. I came from a very small band that didn’t have an oboe. We were preparing for festival and one our pieces had oboe solos in them, so I decided to pick up the oboe so that they could be played. I learned to play the oboe from reading a book called The Art of Oboe Playing: Including Problems and Techniques of Oboe Reed Making by Robert Sprenkle. If you have anything to do with teaching band I highly recommend this read so that you can better understand the oboe.

I’ve been playing the oboe for almost seven years and I’ve only ever had one lesson on it and it was a test lesson at a college that I really wanted to attend. Everything I know about the oboe comes from the book named above. In my time playing the oboe I’ve been criticized time and time again for things that I don’t know how to fix. This books tells you how to make reeds, how the reed and oboe work, the back ground on the oboe, but this book doesn’t tell you many other things. It didn’t tell me how to play dynamics, how to get a fuller sound, that you have to push the two reeds on an oboe reed closer together because starting off the opening is always too big, it didn’t tell me the art of playing high notes, and it didn’t tell me how to fix my intonation. These are things that I’ve had to learn through trial and error and things that I’m still trying to learn.

A question that I have been asked a lot since I began playing oboe is: Do you make your own oboe reeds? No? A real oboe player would make their own oboe reed. A question that I would like to ask every other musician: Are you expected to make your mouth piece brass players? Are you expected to make your reeds single reed wind players? Are you expected to make your own strings, bow, and rosin string players? No? Then why are double reed players the only ones that have to be able to make something in order to truly play their instrument? I’m very passionate about this because it’s very hurtful to be told that you can’t possibly be an oboe player if you don’t make your own reeds. Let me tell you why I don’t make my own reed.

In order to make oboe reeds you need: a knife, sharpening stones/sticks, cane, staples, a mandrel, thread, plaque, a ruler, and a cutting block. These are just basic things you get assuming that you aren’t starting from a piece of cane that needs to be gouged because then you would need a reed gouger and shaper. All of these pieces together can be over 1,000.00 and even then you’re still missing a teacher to actually teach you. You can’t just read a book and learn how to make an oboe reed. It’s an art that must be taught. I would absolutely love to learn to make oboe reeds, but I’ve never had a teacher or connections to learn how to. It’s a lot easier for me to buy reeds from the store and shave them down to make the sound that I want to hear.

I’m writing this so that we can stop tearing down double reed players that don’t make their own reeds. It’s hard to do and it takes a lot of money that most students don’t have. It’s easier to buy store bought reeds or order reeds online from reed makers. Just something for everyone to think about!