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Oboe Topics

This page includes a grab-bag of thoughts, links, and guides pertaining to various aspects of playing the oboe. Click on the blue-highlighted links below to documents referred to here.

  1. Tone Production and Dynamic Control.
  2. Daily Warm-up. There are many guides regarding warming up. Why do you need to warm up? Are you warming up the oboe, the reed, or yourself? I believe a daily warm-up serves two purposes: first, to prepare the player for producing high-pressure, low-volume wind to play our unique instrument with the smallest opening of all wind instruments - equivalent to the eye of some sewing needles; and second, to prepare the player's mind for the technical demands of whatever is needed for the day's playing. Here is a link to the daily warm-up I use.
  3. Practicing. Many students (and professionals) do not have a systematic or efficient process for practicing. Most are dedicated, but they may not have analyzed why they are doing certain things, or how they approach new, challenging tasks. It's not enough to just "noodle through" new music until you think you "get it." Again, Martin Schuring offers some wonderful thoughts on how to think about practicing.
  4. Oboe Adjustment. Adjusting the myriad screws on the oboe can be a daunting challenge. It is imperative that oboists routinely check their instruments for proper seal from top to bottom, and correct key interactions. Two guides here are very helpful. Elaine Douvas gives us a hand-written "Repairman's Song" for a quick and dirty check-up for the most common problem areas. And Brian Seaton provides a more complete top-to-bottom adjustment guide.
  5. Reed Making. If you ask two professional oboe players how they make reeds, you will get at least three opinions. Every professional oboist tends to adapt lessons learned from various teachers and experiences. Fortunately, some have carefully documented their successful processes. I tend to the steps David Weber outlines in the "Reed Maker's Manual" he and colleague Ferald Capps published here. Of course, I have added my own personal touches. The bottom line is that every oboist must figure out what works best for him or herself, striving to eliminate as many variables as possible, leaving the reed maker free to deal with the vagaries of the individual characteristics of each organic piece of arundo donax.

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