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Thread: Oboe help

  1. #1

    Default Oboe help

    Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to help an 11 year old learn to play the oboe. She is in a homeschool band and while everyone starts off not being able to play their instrument she is struggling. She is able to read the music thanks to 2 years of piano. A lot of the problem has to do with producing sound. We got a plastic reed and she is able to play much more easily but the sound quality isn't that great due to the reed. It has been suggested to me that we start with this reed and transfer her as quickly as possible to the medium soft wooden reeds but she really struggles with those. She has a book that has online helps where you play with a recorded oboe. We are trying to to take lessons and learn on our own due to costs. Youtube had a lot to offer my younger daughter who is learning the clarinet, but not so much the oboe. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Did I mention I can't read a note of music....

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  3. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by artemis74 View Post
    Does anyone have any suggestions on ways to help an 11 year old learn to play the oboe. She is in a homeschool band and while everyone starts off not being able to play their instrument she is struggling. She is able to read the music thanks to 2 years of piano. A lot of the problem has to do with producing sound. We got a plastic reed and she is able to play much more easily but the sound quality isn't that great due to the reed. It has been suggested to me that we start with this reed and transfer her as quickly as possible to the medium soft wooden reeds but she really struggles with those. She has a book that has online helps where you play with a recorded oboe. We are trying to to take lessons and learn on our own due to costs. Youtube had a lot to offer my younger daughter who is learning the clarinet, but not so much the oboe. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Did I mention I can't read a note of music....
    Sorry I meant we are trying not to take lessons due to costs

  4. #3

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    Have you considered finding an online instructor? You can meet with once a month or so to practice over Skype. I have a friend who has trumpet lessons this way to improve his playing.
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  5. #4

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    I was really hoping not to spend the extra money so we are trying it ourselves first. Does anyone know of any online resources I may have missed?

  6. #5

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    The oboe is a really difficult instrument (as you know obviously). My dd18 played it. Not everyone has the mouth for it, or even for a reed instrument. I couldn't play a reed instrument to save my life and ended up on the flute after a very frustrating go with the clarinet. My younger dd was recommended by a music teacher to go with a brass instrument. It might be worth having her try something else.
    Julie,
    Former Homeschooler to two daughters, age 20 and in college and age 12 back in ps.

  7. #6

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    Yeah, oboe is devilishly hard. I was a music major in college, and took one quarter of oboe-I loved it, but it took me weeks just to get a squawk out if it! I still remember feeling like my head was going to explode. What does her band instructor have to say? They should be able to give you some advice, as well as determine if it's the right instrument for her. Also, have you had the oboe checked out to am,e sure everything is working properly?

  8. #7

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    Well we have been practicing quite a lot. She can make noise with the wooden reed but it takes so much effort that she can't play the notes to the music quickly enough. If she uses the much quicker and easier plastic reed she can do quite well but it has a kazoo like sound quality that isn't great. The band director says we can use it until January and then transition to the medium soft wood reed but I am a little panicked that it will be the middle of the year and she will still have the same difficulty. My younger DD 9 is playing the clarinet like shes been doing it for years. Feeling really bad for the older child.

  9. #8
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    I wonder if maybe you could hire an orchestra/band teacher for just one, single evaluation/lesson. Perhaps 30-60 minutes one time with someone who is highly skilled or specializes in reed instruments could make a difference. You might contact a local college or conservatory and just talk to someone. You never know where you might find help, and it might not be expensive for a one-time session. And if it helps, it's going to save you a lot of money and frustration down the line.

    Good luck! I played clarinet for 3 years and bass clarinet for a short period of time. I remember how hard it was to adjust to the bass clarinet at first. I finally gave it all up in favor of voice, but I am SO glad I have that instrumental background. It made me a better performer all-around, even though I'm not sure I could play so much as Hot Cross Buns anymore.
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  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by artemis74 View Post
    My younger DD 9 is playing the clarinet like shes been doing it for years. Feeling really bad for the older child.
    The clarinet and the oboe aren't even in the same ballpark as far as difficulty goes. The oboe is much, much more challenging to play. Which is one of the reason why there are so few of them! Please give it time-if she loves it and can continue with it she will almost always have a gig if she gets good at it. Oboists are in demand!

  11. #10

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    I played oboe in high school. It is a difficult instrument. She will need some kind of instruction - it is not a DIY instrument. I suggest contacting the music dept of any local-ish colleges that have a music dept and asking them to get you in touch with their college students who play oboe. Even just a 15 minute session once a week will be very helpful.

    Reeds - those plastic reeds sound awful. She will never and I mean never get a good sound out of one. I would start with the light/thin natural reeds, but be aware that the tips of those break very easily. She will need a case to keep her reed in. The reed should be soaked tip down in a little container of water for a few minutes before using it each time, to get it soft and flexible. But it has to be clean water for each day. I used an empty small pill bottle. When not in use, the reed should be stored in a little case that allows some air to circulate and prevents the reed from bumping around. An altoids box with some paper towel layers may work, but a shop that sells real reeds may also have a special little case to give you. Double reeds are expensive and fragile. If she stays with the instrument, she should have an instructor who will make reeds for her, and who will work to teach her how to make her own. This is much more affordable and you can get the reed exactly how you want it, although reed making is time consuming and becomes a secondary hobby. For now she may be able to buy some handmade reeds from a college student who is making his or her own. Clarinets and saxes can purchase reeds by the box for very little cost, but double reed players obsess and protect their reeds and their reed-making equipment, because double reeds are special.

    The book I used in my lessons was called the Barrett Oboe Method. But seriously, she will need someone to help her learn to make a nice sound and control it. Oboe does not get better without help.
    Last edited by laundrycrisis; 10-06-2016 at 12:42 AM.
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