Should I give up on becoming a professional oboist?
I would love to become a professional oboe player. I know how challenging this can be and how competitive it is. I have just started college as a double major in Music Education and Music Performance, and I am wondering if Performance is even worth my time. I am a decent player, but I don’t know if I will ever reach the point where I could play professionally. I started playing oboe later than most other people too (I started my freshman year of high school and played clarinet and piano before that). I beat two sophomores this year, but they are not Performance majors. I am willing to work hard and do what I have to, but will that ever be enough? Is it worth the risk?

My answer might very well be, “If you are asking this question the answer is “Yes, give up!”.” But maybe I’m being harsh.


  1. I’m afraid I have to agree, Patty.

  2. The minute someone asks one probably has the answer, right?

  3. Like buying a yacht – if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it…

  4. Heh … I’ve never wanted a yacht. I suppose that’s a very good thing!

  5. I think you are being a bit harsh, Patty. My answer might be different if I heard this student actually play, but I say go for it! Meeting the additional requirements for the performance major can only be helpful, regardless of where this student might end up.

  6. … which is why I didn’t answer over at the site where this was asked, Gordon.

    That being said, survival in the music biz is even more difficult these days. If one is at all questioning the practicality of it, or wonders about his or her abilities, I have my doubts about success. The questioner wasn’t asking if a performance major degree would be helpful, but if he/she would be successful. No one can every guarantee that, as I’m guessing you already know. (I’m trying to remember if we’ve met … are you the flutists? Sorry, stupid OldBoeBrain stricks again!)

  7. Sorry about the long delayed reply. No, we haven’t met. As one who gave up the professional oboe business long ago, I can readily agree about the difficulty of surviving. Still, some folks just need some encouragement to draw out amazing things.