This is for the students:
Use your good reed. I have been hearing students struggle all week on their scrappy second- and third-best choices, or worse. The rationale is always that with concerts coming up they want to save the great ones for performance – but it doesn’t work that way.
Reeds change. One day it’s 79 degrees, and the next it is 95, and the reeds can tell. You can’t know which one will work for you on concert night.
Reeds can sense fear. They get all hard and weird and stiff when you have solos. Any reed you select for your performance you will second guess within the first 10 minutes anyway.
You get used to what you are playing on. If you are fighting all week with a reed that won’t permit you to make dynamic contrasts, or enter cleanly in one or more registers, you aren’t practicing doing those things. You aren’t accustoming your colleagues to expect them from you, and you are not raising the bar and challenging them to bring their own best work to the table. Even if everything works like a charm in the concert, just think how much better it could have been if you’d started at a higher level at the beginning of the cycle!
And you can always make a new reed. It’s a renewable resource.
Life is short. The oboe is hard. Play the good reeds.