When you have a good enough reed, then the oboe has one of the most beautiful voices ever. It can be bittersweet, spicy and plaintive and make the listener laugh or cry. The sound alone is what makes it all worthwhile and you have to be totally in love with that to make it a joy to play through all the frustration and hard work.


Does playing oboe vs the clarinet help in Ivy League admissions?
I play clarinet and saxiphone and I’m a rising senior and I want to know if starting oboe at this point would help me in getting into a top 20 college

Please please please play oboe because you love oboe. Please don’t play oboe because you think it’s your college ticket.

Sure, it can be a ticket to college, but you need to be good at it. Or maybe you need to be great. It depends upon the school. Picking up oboe at the last minute is too little too late. It’s also a very obvious thing to do and the admissions folks see through it.

What brand is my oboe?
So, i’m trying to figure out what brand my oboe is because I might be looking to sell it. All that’s “written” on it is the number 101227 on all three parts of the body, but the bell doesn’t have a brand name on it… so I was hoping someone could help me out…

Also… I have a Selmer oboe Mod. 123 F and I was wondering if anyone could tell me how much it’s work? Roughly… it’s in pretty great condition, I think all of the notes play (or they did) and doesn’t have a lot of visible scratches or anything…

I have a sneaking suspicion it’s not an oboe anyone would want to buy if it doesn’t have a brand name on it. Hmm. Then there’s the Selmer. (No thanks.) I LOVE, “I think all of the notes play”. Too cute! ;-)

I like the piano concerto. Really. But if I’m going to use classical music to try to thwart the NSA I think I’d choose something different. Hmm. Suggestions? ;-)

MPs who sit on the spying committee had become so concerned that US agents might listen in to their discussions that they had ordered classical music to be played, to drown out the discussions.
On arrival at the meeting, The Suddetusche Zeitung reported that for “security reasons” MPs had to put their mobile phones and computers into a large metal box to ensure that they were not subjected to outside surveillance.
“Then the committee chairman, Patrick Sensburg switched the music on,” a source told the paper. “Edvard Grieg’s piano concert in A minor. Just for security.”


If you start the oboe in eight grade and want to get good by high-school, how long should you practice?

I read this online. The answer suggested starting at 15 minutes, moving to 30 and eventually 45. But of course it’s not that simple. Still, kudos to the young oboist who wants to “get good”! :-)

Side Note: I’m out of town for the week, and most of my posts are probably going to be things I set up in advance. I’m not sure how much time or internet access I’ll have!


That balanced perspective would encompass the huge variety of orchestras, especially the unsung regional ones, where the heart of classical music beats. It’s not just about sound; it’s about listening. The symphonic space demands a uniquely focused listening perspective that we rarely experience anywhere else in the 21st Century. Not every piece needs to be a magnum opus: An opener, whether John Adams’ Short Ride in a Fast Machine or my own Mothership, is light by definition. But the works must withstand the internal attention of an orchestra and the external attention of a couple thousand active listeners. And when you get to longer, symphony-length works, you can really travel to trippy places.

—Mason Bates

Read on Mason Bate’s blog.

Crusty 118-year-old sandwich found stuffed in UK church organ


Many thanks to Susan Laney Spector for bringing this to my attention!


Um … no. And you didn’t need to yell at me, either. ;-)

Is an English horn ever played without the musician’s hand in it?


I know mine have. I’ve always enjoyed classical music, but my taste in other music has certainly changed over the years, and even the “classical” (used in that general way, not in the era way) music I favor has changed over time.

Teenagers who dispair of their parents’ music tastes should beware – their own musical preferences are likely to follow the same path.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge believe they unravelled how a preference for Teenage Kicks can evolve into a love for Moonlight Sonata.

They have identified three distinct musical ages that people pass through as they mature – intense, contemporary and sophisticated.

For example, teenagers use “intense” music such as punk and metal to establish their identity, but as their lifestyles change, so do their music choices.

As they move into early adulthood, interest in intense music decreases and a preference for “contemporary” music such as pop and rap rises.

This corresponds to a shift in lifestyle to where people are socialising far more in bars, clubs and at parties where uplifting and danceable music tends to be played.

However, the preference for contemporary music plateaus in early middle age and individuals start to like sophisticated music like jazz and classical.

The scientists say this marks a shift to a more solitary expression of our intellect, status and greater emotional maturity.



That’s okay. You’ll probably agree when you get older. ;-)