I taught three students today. This is the typical number of students I have in one day. Sometimes I add in one more, but three is a good number, as it fits well with their school schedules and my “done by 6:00” plan.

I was thinking today about what a former student told a colleague of mine some years back. “She’s good, but she’s strict.”


I was surprised to get that comment from the adult student, as I never thought I was all that tough on that particular individual. But yes, I can be strict. I actually have to work at not being too strict too frequently, although I will always be demanding.

I also try to balance the demanding stuff with a bit of fun. Today I demonstrated the power of music by showing a student the “Scary Mary” YouTube video:

And of course I try to get students to really embrace the oboe. What can beat the sound of an oboe. I mean, really, what better instrument is there?!

Well … English horn. Okay. There’s that. 😉


  1. I was surprised when you told me about that comment during a lesson – I don’t consider you to be strict.

    I mean, you haven’t smacked my knuckles with a ruler for what, three lessons now? 🙂

    Back to seriousness, I wonder if it’s that you’re not particularly strict with me or (more likely) because of my perception of what is strict? I mean, I expect you to guide and correct me with regard to playing the oboe musically – that’s what I pay you for, right? Likewise I have expectations for myself – that I’ll practice and otherwise fulfill my side of it, and if I don’t I expect you to let me know.

    Hopefully that doesn’t sound all grim and stuff – I really enjoy my lessons, even when I don’t think I’m %100 prepared.

    Practicing, on the other hand, well, sometimes it’s divine and sometimes it’s dismal and sometimes it’s just…practicing.

    Wow! Long comment! And despite my current oboe allegiance, there are times when a great horn (or horn section) lick does things that no other instrument can, at least for me, so there. 🙂

  2. I think that particular student didn’t like the fact that I stopped the playing before a work was finished.

    I’ve heard from some university chamber ensemble students I coached; they suggest that I’m really a whole lot pickier than another instructor they are working with now. (But they did say they want me back, so that was nice!)

    NOTHING … really NOTHING … can top the oboe and English horn, Tim.

    And I’m the teacher so I know. 😉