Asked online:

How Do I Become a Professional Oboist?

I would love to become a professional oboist, and I believe now is the time I need to get my head in the game. All I’m asking for is some assistance on how to reach my goal. I attend Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School, I’ve played oboe for 3 years [7th grade to 9th] and I’ve joined local bands, such as the Augusta Wind Conservatory & District Honor Band & All County Band. I believe its time for me to become more serious. The question is, how?

I am so very thankful I moved into this career when I did, landing my symphony job in 1975. It was easier then; there were fewer oboists, and there were orchestras that were newly formed, others that were moving from an amateur status to professional, and a good number of groups seemed to be improving and growing. It was just an easier time.

Now there are a lot more very fine oboists and a lot fewer jobs. It’s a tough time!

How would you answer this young oboist’s question?

1 Comment

  1. I would say this:

    Listen to at least one major orchestral work a week – there’s a lot of rep out there to be learned, and you have to either love it or be able to understand the character of it well enough to convince the audience that you love it. Find out as much as you can about what life is like as a freelancer and as an orchestral player. Understand that life after winning a job does not become magically “better” – it just involves a way more intense rehearsal and performance schedule, and in most cases higher expectations.

    Recognize that your role models and musical heroes will be your competition in ten years. Practice with your long term goals in mind – admit to yourself what you are bad at, and focus on it ruthlessly. Finally, always bear in mind that you more than anyone else are responsible for your development as a musician.

    Oh, and have a casual hobby of some sort that isn’t musically related. A great gig is worthless if you’re burned out and sick of music because you don’t do anything else.