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Showing posts from August, 2015

Trial Lessons

So you are ready to take some oboe lessons.  You've just moved to the area, or you've gone through a year of band and your parents have decided that you seem committed enough to begin to be serious, or you feel that your own private practice has stalled and you need new insights.  What does it mean, when a teacher suggests that you come in for a trial lesson?

The trial lesson is usually not a free lesson - you are still occupying the teacher's time and energy with your presence.  It is, however, a low stakes, low commitment way to see if you and your teacher are going to be a good fit for each other.

Of course you should use this opportunity to learn as much as possible.  Even if you've been taking lessons for years, a different perspective will inevitably offer some  new insight into your oboe study. If your teacher says something brand new, that lesson was 100% worthwhile. If the teacher only says exactly the same things as your previous instructors, that should be …

Teaching a Beginner

I'm still playing outdoor concerts, but it's suddenly the beginning of the teaching year!  Here's a post about starting out right - please share your own embouchure teaching ideas so we can ALL set out on a good foot!

I had a new student start with me last week.  This was a young boy, who had had a year of band but no private lessons on the oboe.  I spent the first 10 minutes of the lesson getting his equipment to work for him, and the next 15 making him sound like a million bucks, just by setting him up with a good embouchure.

The oboe embouchure is not the most intuitive mouth shape to use.  If you weren't told, you might never think to turn your lips inward in order to blow outward.  You might not naturally come up with the balance of tension and openness that translates to a projecting, controlled, nuanced sound.  It's not an obvious approach, and this particular 11-year-old wasn't even close.

My favorite thing about teaching is how different all of my stud…