We are not popular:

1) Guitar 2) Piano 3) Keyboard 4) Drums 5) Violin 6) Cello 7) Flute 8) Saxophone 9) Clarinet 10) Trumpet/Cornet 11) Trombone 12) French Horn 13) Banjo 14) Recorder 15) Viola 16) Tuba 17) Oboe

We are not cheap:

If you want to buy a musical instrument but don’t wont to spend too much money I would choose either a guitar, keyboard, violin, clarinet or trumpet. These instruments are the cheapest to buy when starting out.

We are not easy:

The most difficult musical instruments to learn from the list above are: Oboe, French horn, Trumpet and Piano.

The Oboe is probably the most difficult musical instrument to learn. It is very difficult to even produce a sound at first, let alone a musical note. This instrument can take many years to master.

We are not quiet:

If you want to learn a quiet musical instrument, then choose one of the following: Guitar, Piano, Keyboard, Recorder, Clarinet or Flute.

There aren’t many of us in an orchestra*, thus we aren’t popular:

There are a few guides to find out if a musical instrument is popular. Just look at a symphony orchestra or a wind band and count the number of instruments there are and how many there are of each. You will find that there are lots of violins and percussion (clarinets and flutes in the wind band case) which means that there is no shortage of people learning these instruments. You will also find that there is only one tuba, one oboe, a few french horns, a few flutes, a few clarinets etc. Of course this is only a guide, as some of the other popular musical instruments such as the guitar, piano and keyboard are not normally found in a symphony orchestra.

*This is not true! There are at least two oboes in a typical orchestra. Some have three oboists and an English hornist. Some have more.

We don’t do bands all that well:

The best musical instruments to learn if you want to play in band are: Guitar, Saxophone, Clarinet, Violin or Cornet.

This was found here, written by the “Guru of Music”.

19. September 2007 · Comments Off on Why? · Categories: Ramble, Reviews

Oboist Janet Popesco Archibald, positioned backstage, played the Act II English horn solo with particular flair. (RTWT

Why doesn’t the writer just call her the English hornist? I’m confused! Not that Janet isn’t a fine oboist, but she was playing English horn.

Odd. At least to me.

I’m really looking forward to Tannhauser. It’s an opera I’m really not terribly familiar with, so I think I should do a bit of reading and listening first.

19. September 2007 · Comments Off on Janacek Score, Anyone? · Categories: Help!

Any readers out there have a Janacek Sinfonietta score? I have two things I need to check:

1) Movement II: Articulation in 10th bar of Rehearsal 1. (Counting the first 4 measure repeat as only 4 measures.)
2) Movement V: In the 8th bar of Rehearsal 5 are the last three notes really a B double flat, C flat, B double flat? The next measure begins with an A and it just feels as if the B double flat might be incorrect.


A big THANK YOU to Daniel for answering my questions. And yes, I meant the 7th bar of Rehearsal 5. Oops!

19. September 2007 · Comments Off on Crazy Making · Categories: Ramble

… is trying to play along with my CD of the Janacek Sinfonietta. Surely the orchestra can’t be a quarter step sharp? But that’s what my tuner is suggesting. I finally had to give up.

19. September 2007 · Comments Off on And I put my brain where …? · Categories: Ramble

After leaving for SCU, heading out early because I want to hear the faculty that were able to play on today’s Wednesday at noon concert, I realized I had forgotten my reeds. Sigh. There really wasn’t time to head on home. Or so I believed. Until I got to campus and realized the recital was next Wednesday.

So I’m back home and I’ve picked up my reeds.

Now where is my brain? I can’t seem to locate it anywhere.

19. September 2007 · Comments Off on Okay … I said yes · Categories: Ramble

… although I haven’t heard back from anyone at symphony yet. But I did call and I did email and I really did say yes to this. Maybe they already hired a replacement principal oboist. Who knows?

Back to reeds and practicing ….

19. September 2007 · Comments Off on My Family Can Relate! · Categories: Other People's Words, Ramble

The second, and main reason my sermon is not getting done at this moment is this: as of last week Hannah has taken up the oboe.

I now firmly and unequivocally believe that I am constitutionally unable to hear the Spirit of God when all evidence would lead you to believe that a cow is dying a slow and painful death in the middle of the living room (just adjacent to where I am writing).

Ultimately, I completely support musical development in our family, but up until this point it has not affected my ability to sermon-write.

I try to go into another room-and find you can hear this special sound through the walls.

I try to go outside on the porch with the dog, but his ears pick up the strains and he starts howling along.

I even take the laptop out to the car and tried to write, but it seems that special whine/howl is now firmly imprinted on the soft tissue of my brain and I cannot think coherently about anything except why we ever thought it was a good idea for Hannah to take the instrumental music elective this year in the first place.

Thus I maintain that this is certainly reason enough for me to send my regrets Sunday morning, don’t you? Surely someone could stand up and say: “Jeremiah wrote a poetic treatise on the anger of God. Please open your Bibles and discuss amongst yourselves.”

Yes, I think that might be the way to go, because I imagine by then I’ll be lying in bed, hopefully under heavy sedation, with earplugs firmly in place and a cold washcloth on my forehead.

I’ll keep you posted.


This is just too good! I know everyone who has lived in this house can relate. When I get a new student, the sounds can be … um … interesting. Some students get the oboe knack right away, but for most it takes some time; oboe is just a difficult instrument to begin. So the sounds can be bizarre. Duck calls. Or goose calls. Our very, very loud. Or at the other extreme … so soft you can barely hear the player.

It’s just the nature of the beast.

I had one student who is now quite good that caused each family member to shut (loudly) their bedroom door the minute the lesson began. Fortunately my younger students don’t seem to notice the door shutting stage of their playing, but I always crack up (silently, inside my head … a student can never see it). I used to have to plug my ear by resting my oboe against it when one student played. Yes, learning to play at a decent volume is difficult for some.

But take heart, dear Blogging Preacher! Beginning oboists turn into intermediate oboists and eventually, if they are dedicated, they turn into advanced oboists. And possibly, should they lean that way, the turn into professional oboists. And make small amounts of money. And have people ask them things like, “What’s an oboe?” or “What’s your real job?”

PS Ever notice that the oboe isn’t mentioned in Psalm 150? Even the CYMBAL gets a mention and a double reed doesn’t Go figure. 😉

Columbus Symphony Orchestra is having this event where anyone can come in and play with the group.

Oh … and next week I’m going to be assisting in some knee replacement surgery just to see what it’s like. Or was it brain surgery. Hmmm. Doesn’t really matter, does it?

Okay, okay, I realize music is different than surgery. But still.

And I’m certain the Columbus Symphony isn’t trying to say “anyone could be up here” either. I think they are doing this as one little way of getting people more involved in their group. Everyone is looking for new ideas, right?

But I confess … there’s just something that sometimes irks me about how musicians in orchestras are often viewed. I immediately remember the real estate agent who was pretty upset when she learned that I earned money playing in the San Jose Symphony. “I played clarinet when I was in high school! I’m going to join that orchestra and get paid to play too” was her comment. (I carefully refrained from hitting her over the head.)

Do I sound like a snob? Probably. But really … not everyone can do surgery. Not everyone can play baseball professionally. Not everyone can play an instrument well enough to play in a professional group.

Yeah. Life isn’t fair that way.

The other day someone commented about a young player, “I can’t even hear the difference between your playing and hers any more!” Now I’m glad the person was so happy, but there was, if I dare say so myself, a large difference between my playing and the sweet young musician’s oboing. A few years back a parent told me that the high school musical was as good or better than anything professional she’d ever heard and seen. I also had to listen to a high school choral director tell her students that they were better than a local professional organization.

Do these folks really hear it that way? I think some do. It’s not that it’s true that these young and enthusiastic players are as good or better. It’s just that these listeners are unable to hear a difference.

I’m that way with other things. I can’t tell a good jewel from a fake. (Nor do I care.) I can’t always tell an expensive wine from a cheap one. And a purse that costs a thousand bucks looks just the same as my inexpensive bags anyway. (Whew!)

But I can hear differences in music. I’d better be able to, right?

I still can’t decide whether I want to do the English horn book or the principal oboe one, though. Sigh.

Okay. Ramble over and out.