What strength reed should I use?
Clarinet and saxophone reeds come in sizes or strengths. Basically the higher the size number, the harder the reed.
Young players just starting out tend to do best with a softer reed. A size 2 or 2 ½ reed will blow freely without a huge effort. As a player develops, a harder reed will offer more resistance resulting in a more refined sound.
How do I know when it’s time to move up?
Every player is different but after a year of playing (maybe two), it’s probably time to think about using a harder reed.
Some signs that you are ready:
Unintentional loud sound
Difficulty with high notes
Excessive squeaks and squawks
Try the next ½ size up and experiment with it. If you’re turning purple or can’t start a note softly, it may be too hard or too soon.
But hold on to those harder reeds and give them another try in a month or two. Eventually you’ll be ready for them.