1. Always soak the reed up to the thread in a cup of water. Leave the reed in water for 2-3 minutes, take it out and shake off any excess water and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before playing. Dip the reed in water as needed while playing.
  2. Never soak the reed in the mouth. After playing soak the reed in water for a minute or run water over and through the reed followed by eliminating the excess moisture. Store reed in a reed case that is not airtight.
  3. Always clean the oboe out after playing. A turkey feather or swab may be used. If a cloth swab is used make sure that it does not get stuck in the oboe. A swab with a long cord on it will help pulling the swab out. If a swab gets stuck, bring it to a repair technician.
  4. Never blow warm air into a cold oboe. This may cause the oboe to crack and/or allow water to condense in the tone holes which causes a “gurgle” on certain notes.
  5. Allow the oboe to adjust to room temperature by warming it with your hands or under your arms. Or if time allows, let the oboe sit in an opened case until it reaches room temperature.
  6. While playing music, keep your eyes moving ahead to upcoming notes so you are prepared for them. Don’t stare at notes you are already playing. Play looking forward as you do when you are riding a bike or running.
  7. Never turn the adjustment screws that are in the flat top casings. These are adjustment screws and should only be turned by an advanced player or repair technician. The screws in the bell shaped casings can be adjusted to a firm setting so the rods and keys stay in place.
  8. Practice sight reading every practice session. Keep eyes moving forward and don’t stop to correct mistakes. Over time, you will see much improvement in this process.