Saturday, July 6, 2013

5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Oboe Playing

 The path to becoming a great musician doesn't just happen;  it comes from consistently making choices during every practice session that slowly take you to your goals and dreams. Here are 5 suggestions that I encourage you to incorporate into your daily learning sessions that will immediately help you improve.
     1. Practice long tones (dynamic sound shapes) EVERYDAY for at least 5 minutes to try to produce a sound that is a little louder and a little softer, more resonant, and more beautiful than the day before. Then use this capability as the basis of all phrases that you play to shape beautiful music, not just notes.

     2.  Use more air. (Sigh. 99.9% of my students have heard me say this repeatedly!) Potters use clay to shape their ideas, a sculptor may use stone and a chisel. We use air as our medium. Air is the fuel that carries our creative ideas into actual sound. Chances are YOU can use MUCH more air to instantly improve your pitch, response, and sound.

     3.   Sit/stand using good posture and release all unnecessary tension in your body. Less is more.

     4.  Always use a metronome while learning new pieces and at least 50% of the time for the pieces you already know. Metronomes are an unsympathetic tool to help us identify if we are keeping a steady beat, counting rhythms correctly, and give structure to our internal subdivisions.  You're either playing it in time or you're not,  but you'll never know if you don't turn that metronome on.

     5.  Listen.  Listen to great artists: violinists, pianists, singers, and yes, oboists.  Really listen,  to all of the beautiful nuances, stylistic ideas, diverse repertoire, etc and use their ideas to inform and challenge your creative musical thinking.The work of others can be incredibly inspiring and illuminating into what is possible.  Then listen to yourself and be an honest critic. Next step: create music that is more exquisite than anything that has previously been recorded.

 If you follow these 5 suggestions, you'll be a much better player in a week. If you follow these ideas over the course of a lifetime, I'll be searching out your professional recordings!

Now stop trolling the internet and get practicing. :)

Oboe and out,

The Oboist


  1. My band directors say the same things all the time haha. Words to live by if you are an oboist.

  2. Fractal_Lover,

    Then it sounds like you have good band teachers!

    -The Oboist

    1. Lucky, my directors knew NOTHING about the oboe. So I had to figure out EVERYTHING on my own. These tutorials help a lot. (=

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. thanks for your blog. continue! video can be great too! better but more time consuming. good luck. you are in my favorite list.