When my oboe teacher moved from San Jose to Pleasanton, my mother drove me to the lessons. I never heard her complain. Pleasanton is about 40 miles from where I lived. She also drove my brother to his bassoon lessons in San Francisco, which is about 50 miles away.

I just received a phone call from someone who wanted oboe lessons. But I am too far away. They live in Saratoga, which is about 9 miles away from here.

In some ways our world has gotten a lot smaller, but to a lot o parents I live too far away when the drive is only about 15 minutes. Go figure.

I wasn’t at all rude to the woman, but I did laugh when she said I was too far away. It just burst out—I couldn’t help myself.

Oh well.

She then asked for other recommendations. Heh. As if there are oboists 5 or 10 minutes away from anyone who wants lessons. Ya think?

It does make me thankful for my La Honda student and her parents (somewhere around 35 miles). No complaints from them, and the come here nearly every Saturday. In addition I have a student who lives in Morgan Hill (23 miles or so). Thank you to Hannah and Alex and your parents for nary a complaint and for your diligence! 🙂


  1. After you laughed, did you happen to mention any of the things you described in your post, to this woman who didn’t want to drive 9 miles?

    It’s ridiculous. That’s no distance at all. Unless you live out of a shopping cart.

  2. Believe it or not, she’s not the first one to say I’m too far; another from Cupertino couldn’t come my way either. It’s about the same distance as Saratoga to here. Go figure.

    Since I only take students I think are going to work out, and someone who says “too far” right off the bat doesn’t fit into that category, I just said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with this. Good bye.”

    Ah well. I guess some parents want everything 5 minutes away and no pain on their part.

  3. Wow.

    My mom drove me 40 miles also to take monthly lessons from an ex-principal of the LA Phil, who not only lived an hour and ten minutes away but also charged $110 an hour. It was considered even an honor for him to take me, and my mom never complained.

    Your entry makes me appreciate my mom. 🙂 But maybe it’s because kids these days are doing a million activities, oboe is just one more thing that they’re doing that they have to be driven to.

  4. Cupertino is too far? Now you tell me! I have to admit that it takes 5 to 10 minutes longer to get there in the afternoon than to get back, usually. And Pleasanton (or any other East Bay destination) would be out of the question on weekday afternoons these days – that would be a nightmare drive.

  5. Hi Jolene … sorry your post didn’t appear at first; WordPress thought you were spam. Go figure!

    Yeah, I was sort of surprised by the mom’s reaction, but I certainly do know that a lot of kids are far too busy these days. I actually told one mother that her child was too busy to add oboe to the list of activities. Sometimes I think it’s unfair to take a student, knowing they are doing too much already.