Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's HERE! Join The Oboe For Everyone Network

Hi Everyone-

Now's your chance to be a part of something really special. A few posts ago I wrote about this idea,  but here it is in all it's webpage glory:

What it's all about:

It is the mission of Oboe For Everyone to be able to provide lessons and resources to anyone wanting to learn how to play the oboe, regardless of financial ability or proximity to an oboe teacher. 

This project brings together oboe students, teachers, reed makers, repair people, and retailers to provide a network of opportunities and services for oboists. We are interested in connecting oboe students with oboe specialist teachers for either online lessons or for in-person lessons with instructors living in their area. On this site you will find teaching materials such as videos, writings, and exercises for improving your oboe skills, as well as helpful links connecting you to reed makers, sheet music sources, instrument repair, etc.  

So now's your chance to JOIN the Oboe For Everyone network.  You. Yes, you!

Oboe Students:

Are you a student looking for a teacher to help you learn how to play the oboe?  Fill out the new student information form and we'll connect you with an oboe teacher for lessons.  This is your chance to learn more about the oboe with lessons from an experienced oboe teacher. We'll do our best to connect you with someone in your community for in-person lessons,  but please note that online lessons might be the only option available.

Oboe Teachers:
Are you an oboe specialist teacher who wants to build your studio, give back to your profession,  possibly interact with oboists from around the world? Fill out the new teacher information form.  You tell us *briefly* your educational and professional background, if you want  to teach lessons online,  in-person, or both,  your location, what your usual fees are for lessons and if you would be able to take on students for less than your usual fee (or even free) if there is need,  what languages you speak, how many students you are willing to take, and what level of student (beginner, intermediate, advanced, etc) you are interested in teaching. When students who sign up meet your criteria, then they will receive your contact information for lessons.

If you are unsure about taking on students for less than your usual fee,  I encourage you to think outside the box   reed case.You don't need to take a lot of students to make a positive impact,  maybe just one or two as a service to your community and profession?  Or for students in your area,  possibly set up a barter system?  I fondly remember teaching a motivated student from rural Idaho who would pay me with fresh produce from their farm.  Finances were tight for them,  but they had plentiful food. So we bartered oboe lessons for amazing produce. Some of the best payment I ever received was a bag of perfectly ripe, absolutely delicious Italian plums from my student. Or, what about trading the service of lessons with a student willing to provide a service for you? Such as lawn mowing, leaf raking, etc. Please note that any oboist who is willing to mow my lawn and help with pulling weeds in the summer and leaf raking in the fall can receive a full year's worth of lessons and reeds from me.  That way the time that I would usually use for my own lawn work is instead shifted into teaching that person--a much better use of my specialized skills, in my opinion!

If you would like to contribute to the network as a reed maker, fill out our reed maker information form and we'll send oboists looking for reeds to you.

How does this work?

When a student signs up for lessons,  I compare their information with the list of teachers in the network.  If I can place a student with a teacher in their community for in-person lessons, I'll try that first.  If online lessons are the only option,  I look through the response forms to find a teacher whose criteria fits the student best (level interested in teaching, willingness to teach online lessons, etc, etc). If there is more than one teacher that fits the criteria,  I connect teacher/student on a "first come, first served" basis.  The teacher who signed up first gets the first opportunity to teach the student. Pretty simple and absolutely fair in my opinion.

Please realize that I do not receive any money from this service;  I simply connect students and teachers. For those learning and teaching online,  I encourage you to protect yourself and use a secure payment system,  such as Paypal to set up any funding.
I've been absolutely humbled by the teachers who have already signed up with backgrounds performing in major symphony orchestras and fine teaching institutions. Thank you! But we still need more help!

What's Next?


Share this link:  to your oboe colleagues, to advanced students ready to teach young players.  Share this link to potential students,  to music teachers, youth symphony directors around the globe. Let's GET THE WORD OUT and get busy making the world a better place by improving oboe playing.  It's one small step,  but it's a step in the right direction.

Oboe and out,

The Oboist

Monday, February 11, 2013

Something to help get awesomeness flowing on a Monday

Hi All-

Here's a link to brighten your Monday. It's a little pep talk,  from Kid President to YOU.


Now,  get out there and use your oboe to give the world a reason to DANCE.

Oboe and out,

The Oboist

ps--please pass along this pep talk to others who might need it too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Reed Care 101

Here's some information I often give to young oboists and music education students learning how to teach oboe for the first time. If you want to use this as a handout for your students, please go to the site, click on the scroll to the bottom of the page and download as a PDF document. 

Reed Care 101

1. Always brush your teeth before playing. Food and plaque can clog up reeds and make your key pads sticky.

2. Always store reeds in a case that holds reeds securely in place. 
  • Go to this post to learn how to make an inexpensive reed case
  • The plastic 3-reed cases sold by Fox are also an affordable option
  • Clear plastic tubes and "coffin" cases that commercial reeds are purchased are not study enough for long-term use
3. Make sure that your reed case is well-ventilated.  A completely airtight case (such as the clear plastic tubes and "coffin" cases) can allow mildew to grow on reeds.  You reeds should't be a "science experiment!" :)

4. Soak reeds in water for 2-3 minutes in FRESH water, not saliva. Our saliva has enzymes in it that will over time break down reed fibers. If you want your reeds to last as long as possible,  soak them in water!
  • Only soak the cane part of the reed in water,  not the thread or cork
  • Try dipping your reeds in water and setting them on your music stand or in your case to hydrate. This way they won't over-soak
  • Reeds soaked longer than 5 minutes will become over-soaked and be more difficult to play 
5. After playing, return reeds to their case.
  • If possible,  quickly rinse out reeds in water and let dry for a few minutes before storing in a reed case. This will remove some of the lip skin cells, etc,  that can collect on reeds and help your reeds last longer.

3 Signs That It's Time to Buy a New Reed

A reed can last anywhere from 2-3 weeks or much longer, depending on how much it is played on and how well it is cared for.

1. If your reed is cracked:
    Very small cracks in the tip of the reed will usually be OK to play on. If the     crack extends beyond 1 millimeter and it is difficult to articulate notes and/or have sudden flatness or unstable pitch, then it's time to buy a new reed.

2. If the tip of your reed resembles Bart Simpson's haircut, has poor response (especially in the low range), and articulation is difficult, then it is time for a new reed. 

3. If the reed looks OK, but doesn't make any (or only very little) sound when you blow through it, try these tests:
  • Soak it an extra 3 minutes in WARM WATER
  • Run water through the reed to clean it out (hold the reed upside-down with the water from the faucet running into the cork section first)
  • Pull a small pipe cleaner (Dill's  brand is best) from the bottom of the tube through the top of a well soaked reed to clean out an accumulated gunk

Try your reed after each stage. If all three suggestions don't help, consider the reed "dead" and purchase a new one.

"Don't have a cow, man! Just take care of your reeds!"

Ok,  that's all I've got for now.  I bet you never believed I could work in Bart Simpson to a blog post about reeds, did you? :)

Oboe and out,

The Oboist