My suggestion is that you get a couple of number 3 reeds because that is what the teacher told you to do, but that you get a couple of number 2 1/2 reeds as well, just in case.
And as said earlier, different manufacturers are not consistent about reed hardness. A Vandoren number 3 may be equivalent to a Rico number 3 1/2. So don't get Vandoren Blue Box reeds in strength 3 because they are typically a half strength harder than others.
The reed strength and cut needs to match the facing on the mouthpiece. Narrow tip hard reed. Wide tip soft reed. American lay, american cut reed. French lay French cut reed. Hybrid lay personal preference.
Vandoren blue play very well on a French lay mouthpiece.
However, forget about all that for now. When you have some chops you can fine tune your sound. This saxophone thing is a journey that will take more than a lifetime. Nobody learns it all, so don't rush through trying to get to the end. There is no end. If you rush through, you'll miss some of the landmarks and have to go back and revisit them.
Listen to your teacher and practice every day. In a decade or two it will start to make sense.
That is reasonable, although I would expect any teacher to explain their reasons for doing so. A student can learn a lot about playing from understand the mechanics behind the equipment such as mouthpieces and reeds. My philosophy when I was teaching was to make myself obsolete, so the student learned not only what to do but why they were doing it. So being able to make informed decisions form themselves and ultimately be their own teacher.
I understand that some players think of harder reeds as a goal to aim for, or that as a player gets better more experienced they use harder reeds. I used to think that but after 40 years of pro playing have since discovered that if you learn to do proper air support and embouchure, you can actually get better and more versatile results from softer reeds so I have transitioned down to 2, 2.25 or 2.5 and never looked back.
Pete I have a question about the synthetic reads. I knew they existed, and a lot of folks have said that the reason they like them is because of their dependability in terms of playability and manufacturing consistency.
Is that reason enough to buy them and use them? Considering the fact that you hear that somebody buys a box of reads and maybe five out of the 10 are playable, that seems like a waste of money.
as a newbie I’m tempted to go to synthetics just because I would know that every read in the box was playable and reliable. Seems like a no brainer to me. Reeds ain’t cheap! Your thoughts?
PS: would a person such as yourself, with as much experience as you have, find a way to play every single Reed in the box, in spite of the fact that one might not exactly be made quite right? Just how fussy are saxophone players anyway? When they say they can only use five out of 10, are they really just being picky, and actually all 10 are playable?