From this Jason Heath post I’m taken here. The write has some great things to say, and I recommend a visit to his blog. Here’s a little something:

Ever since I’ve been able to consider myself a professional musician, I’ve always been fascinated with the lack of age barriers in serious music. I have to remind myself that art music is entertainment for the educated, so I should still smile and bow at the right times. There are plenty of youthful bands out in the pop music world. But serious music, such as jazz, classical,(even theatrical music) emphasize sound over appearance.

It’s a funny thing, this age & music thing. I have a student that, I think, is frustrated that we oboes aren’t in rock bands and aren’t terribly “hot” with her age group. I look around at my colleagues in symphony and opera and many look younger and more “hip” (although “hip” already shows that I’m older!) than many in the “real world” of the same age. So while we might not be on rock stages or playing pop music, having thousands of adoring little girl fans or teen admirers, we seem to, as we age, age somewhat slower than many people. I’m not sure why; maybe because age isn’t much of an issue on stage. And we continue to work, no matter our age. I’ve played with nineteen year olds and I’ve played with sixtyfive year olds and what matters is the music making, not the youthful appearance, smashing good looks, or sex appeal (although, of course, every oboist has tremendous sex appeal. Or not).

But I ramble. Time to get some things done around here. More later … about how anyone can write an opera. Maybe.


  1. Isn’t that a great post from John?  He’s my stand partner in the Elgin Symphony, and I hope that he continues to write about the biz.  Very insightful.

  2. Patricia Mitchell

    Yep, it’s good.

    But, contrary to John, I’ll admit to feeling old sometimes. Maybe it’s because I have a 25 year old son. Maybe it’s because our 3rd (and youngest) child goes off to college next year. Or maybe it’s being 50.

    Of course add oboe into the mix and I’m old AND crazy! 😉

    I always enjoy your blog entries, Jason. Thanks for all your good writing!

  3. Esther Wheaton

    Tell your student to look up Sufjan Stevens online. He is about as hip as a musician gets, and totally hot, studied oboe and english horn, and plays it on his albums.

  4. Patricia Mitchell

    She (and I) are already aware of Sufjan. I have several of his CDs. (I must confess, though, that I have a difficult time listening to his oboe playing, though!)

  5. Esther Wheaton

    It IS kind of gross.
    Still! It happens!