There is no corollary between reed strength and ability

Subject: Clarinet

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I found your response to “Sharp and Airy” very helpful for the 15 year old
to whom you stated is using to hard a reed for his level. My 13 year-old
son uses 2 1/2 Royal Rico reeds. I buy them for ease of use when taking them out of the package. My son broke the reeds everydaywhen he used
Vandoren reeds or regular Rico reeds with the flip open case. Last year the grammar school teacher told me that he’d have to move up to a #3 reed in order to play “The Star Spangled Banner”. With the Royal Rico #2 1/2 he was able to play it without going up to a #3. This summer the middle school & high school band had a band summer program. The teacher told me that Royal Ricos were a lot harder than regular Ricos. But he hedged when I asked if they were equal to the #3 Vandoren reed. He did say he requires the high school band students to use a #3 reed I have a big involvement because my son is a special education student. He has learning disabilities, motor and speech delay. With hard work he has been able to succeed. Thus far in 7th grade he got a 98 on a playing test. I will share your response with him of course.

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Hi:
thanks for your note. I think that there is no corollary between progress and reed strength. Some can play anything on a #2.
The Rico Royal is a much better reed than the ordinary Rico and they have others as well, as is the Grand Concert, or something like that.
Van Dorens now are better than they were back in the days of 3.75 a box of 25.
I myself prefer the “56 Rue Lepic”, which is the Paris address of the Van Doren factory.
More consistent, but if the Rico Royal is enabling, that is great.
I am well aware of learning disabled children.
Hope this information helps.
best regards, sherman

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