At California Music Studios, we can find you the right music teacher to help you learn whatever instrument your heart desires, including the oboe. We strive to provide excellent service throughout the Southern California area with a growing network of over 350 professional music instructors. We have high standards to ensure that you or your children receive the best music education available.
Taking Oboe Lessons with California Music Studios
We work with oboe teachers who specialize in private in-home or studio lessons that comprise one-on-one interactions and personalized lesson plans. That means the instructors follow your lead and tailor their lessons to your specific learning pace, style, and goals. We recommend hour-long lessons once or twice a week, but depending on your progress, you may choose more or fewer lessons.
California Music Studios boasts a 97% or better success rate in teacher-student matches. However, if you would like to try a different instructor, just let us know and we can swap your teacher out.
History of the Oboe
The oboe has roots that extend as far back as the 13th century with the shawm, a medieval woodwind instrument featuring a double reed and a flared, trumpet-like bell. The shawm was available in various sizes, from sopranino to great bass. The shawm was alternately called the “hautbois,” French for high wood.
The oboe we know and love today evolved from the shawm and appeared some time in the mid-1600s, though its exact date and place of origin remain muddled. Sources suggest the oboe may actually be a product of multiple inventors. Unlike the shawm, the oboe was broken into three sections, allowing for more accurate manufacturing. The name hautbois would transform into hoboy and French hoboy, and by 1770, the name oboe was adopted into English.
Oboes acted as the main melody instrument for the first military bands before the clarinet took its place. The oboe eventually made its way to the realm of classical music and has also been used sporadically in other genres, including jazz and early European folk traditions.
Tips for Learning How to Play the Oboe
If you’re inspired to learn the oboe now, keep these tips in mind to make your learning process that much smoother.
- Beginning oboists should practice breathing exercises using a coffee stirrer. Pay attention to how much time it takes to exhale through the stirrer. Many beginners realize that their lungs fill with carbon dioxide well before they can expel a full breath. The oboe requires a small fraction of the air that other instruments do. As you learn how to play the oboe, plan to breathe more often. Make it a habit to mark your sheet music with where you plan to breathe in and out. Avoid breathing through your nose or taking shallow breaths, which will only make you lightheaded and dizzy.
- Your embouchure should form a tight seal around the reed without closing the opening. A good way to ensure this is to hold your oboe properly. Holding it too close to your body, like a clarinet, puts pressure on the bottom half of the reed. Holding the oboe straight out in front of you puts pressure on the top of the reed. The oboe should be at a 45 degree angle to your body. Keep your head straight and bring the oboe to your face. Don’t bring your head to the oboe.
- When forming your embouchure, your bottom lip should curl over your teeth. This flattens out the chin and prevents you from biting down on the reed.
- Buy your reeds from an oboe specialist. Machine-made reeds are sub-standard at best. Find a professional musician or specialty shop that sells handmade reeds. Eventually, oboe teachers will tell you how to adjust or even make reeds on your own.
- If you’re blowing on the oboe with a proper embouchure and not producing any sound, chances are one of the trill keys has a worn-down pad or bent rod, causing the air to leak out. You should get this repaired immediately, but if you’re performing soon, you can fix the problem by wrapping a rubber band around the affected trill key.
Links for Inspiration
- John De Lancie and the London Symphony Orchestra performing “L’Horloge de Flore”
- In-Gun Hwang performing Antonio Vivaldi’s Sonata for Oboe and Continuo in C minor
- Henrick Chaim Goldschmidt performing Ennio Morricone’s “Gabriel’s Oboe”
- Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” as played by an oboe, bassoon, and clarinet