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Artist In The Making: Bassoonist Meridith Wright

“It's like I'm in school mode all the time. I'm always feeling like I should be working or doing something,” says freshman bassoon student Meridith Wright.

Meridith Wright practices bassoon

Photo: Annie Corrigan/WFIU

Meridith Wright says she needs to practice bassoon three hours every day. That's in addition to her daily work making reeds.

From Houston To Bloomington

Perhaps the biggest challenge that faced Meridith Wright when she moved to Bloomington, Indiana to study bassoon was adjusting to a drastically different climate from that of her hometown of Houston, Texas.

Other than that, life as a freshman at the Jacobs School of Music seems to suit her quite well.

“Every day I’ll look around, and sometimes I’ll forget where I am,” she says. “I was listening to the radio the other day, and they said Bloomington, Indiana. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m in Bloomington!’”

It’s All About The Reed

As with most double reed players, life begins with making reeds.

Wright uses the school’s machine to profile 16 pieces of cane, one of the first steps in the reed-making process. 16 pieces will only last her three to four weeks, as she has set a goal this semester of making five reeds a week—but not all of those reeds will end up working.

“Most likely, three of the five reeds you make will fail, if you’re a pretty good reed maker,” she says. “It’s kind of a dismal outlook, I know, but it’s just the way it is. “

She moved to Bloomington stocked with good reeds, so she’s hoping those will serve her well for the time being, “but when the supply runs out, I’m sure I’ll be singing a different song about reeds!”

A Day In The Life

Wright starts every morning at 8 am with a theory lecture class. After that, it’s off to a theory drill section.

Three days a week, she then hustles across campus to an English class, only to hustle back to the music school for Basic Piano Class.

Basic Piano is meant to prepare students like Wright, who have no background with the instrument, to pass their piano proficiency exam, a requirement for many music students.

“I don’t really understand why it’s required,” says Wright, “but I’ve always wanted to learn how to play, so I’m not complaining.”

In the afternoon, she is one of two bassoonists who rehearses with the Concert Band. Then she has a break for dinner before she attends bassoon studio master class on Monday evenings.

What About Practicing?

While she says she needs to practice at least three hours every day, Wright says it’s more important to have an efficient practice plan.

Reed making goes hand-in-hand with practicing, because “you can only play as well as your reeds will let you.”

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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