Oboe Method Book for Beginners

Over my fifty years as an oboist and more than forty years of teaching the oboe, I have benefited from many well-written, challenging, and informative method books. There are many books available that effectively address the complexities and challenges the oboe presents, especially for more experienced students.

However, far fewer method books are available to the beginning oboe student. In fact, there is a great need for an elementary book which addresses and isolates the very difficult fundamental skills that are required to be a successful oboist. Thus my challenge and goal is to create a guide that clearly and carefully isolates the basic fundamentals involved in playing the oboe, develops each on its own, and then adds each to the ones learned before it.

These foundational skills include body position, breathing, breath control, embouchure, finger position, voicing and practice plans. Without a solid understanding of these, students cannot hope to move onto more advanced and nuanced techniques.

My Approach

The oboe, like other wind instruments, presents a unique challenge: many of these fundamental skills are difficult or impossible to observe while playing. Over my many years of playing and teaching, I have developed a combination of analogies, specially designed exercises, and observations that overcome this potential roadblock and help students truly understand these techniques.

I help students learn each skill individually and then add them one at a time. Much as a house is built, each step must be solid before starting the next. Because each student brings their own unique physical styles to playing, each of these skills may have to be modified during the learning process to fit the individual student.

This carefully structured plan will allow the young oboist to progress in a conscious, thoughtful, and correct manner, maximizing skills without learning ”bad habits” that can hinder growth and development.

Over the past fifty years I have benefited from the wisdom of countless teachers, peers, and students. I want to share that accumulated knowledge with beginning oboe students. I look forward to sharing the development of my book on the website over the next year. I will post excerpts ] as I move forward, and I welcome any and all thoughts, concerns, questions and suggestions during the development of this book. Thank you for sharing my interest in providing young oboe students with the tools and opportunities they need to excel.


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Intro to Oboe Method Book (What you can expect!)

I.  Basic Fundamentals of Oboe Playing

1. Body Position

  • Position in chair
  • Body relaxation
  • Position of head
  • Position of legs and feet
  1. Breathing
  • Intro discussion of breathing technique
  • Breathing exercises
  • Breathing incorporated with body position
  1. Breath Support
  • Intro discussion of breath support
  • Tools used to develop proper breathing techniques
  • Breath support exercises
  • Breath support incorporated in #1- #2 body position and breathing
  1. Embouchure
  • Intro discussion of embouchure
  • Formation of embouchure without reed in mouth
  • Adding reed into embouchure
  • Blowing air into reed with proper embouchure
  • Embouchure incorporated into #1 – #3 (body position, breathing, and breath support)
  1. Oboe Position
  • Intro discussion of oboe positions
  • Putting oboe together
  • Holding the oboe without putting reed in mouth
  • Holding the oboe while putting reed in mouth
  • Oboe position incorporated into #1 – #4 (body position, breathing, breath support, and embouchure)
  1. Finger Position
  • Intro discussion of finger positions
  • Fingering without the oboe
  • Fingering with oboe in hands
  • Fingering incorporated into #1 – #5 (body position, breathing, breath support, embouchure, and oboe position)

II.  Begin Playing the Oboe

  1. Practicing
  • How to practice
  • When to practice
  1. Begin playing the exercises

III.  General & Specific Discussion

  • Is student suited for the oboe?
  • When to begin playing the oboe?
  • Should student start on another instrument first?
  • Practice routines
  • Reeds / Reed–making
  • When to begin lessons
  • How to select a private teacher
  • How to audition teacher
  • How to select proper instrument
  • Should I rent or purchase?
  • Oboe resources (instruments and accessories)
  • Instrument care


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