I can’t tell you how many times I have to correct new students due to some misinformation. (A simple word for “teaching the wrong things”.)

So here, for you to read, are some suggestions from yours truly. And yes, I suspect some oboists might disagree with me. But this is my site!

When teaching the alternate fingering for F, please teach left F if the student has the left F on his or her oboe when the right hand fourth finger is occupied before of after the F. Really. Why teach forked F (and with the E flat key, doggone it!) and then make the student learn the left F later. It’s just silly.

Obviously in the instance a forked F is the only possibility please don’t have the student use an E flat on the forked F.

Please teach the students to the use of the half hole, bottom octave key and side octave key. I can’t tell you how many students arrive not knowing which is used when, and some students seem to think you can switch it all around at their whim.

Please don’t skip over pages of the Rubank or Gekeler. They are in order for a reason. Having a student begin in the middle of the books means some things may be missed.

Please explain to the students that the Rubank and Gekeler fingering charts aren’t perfect.

Please don’t let students write the name of the notes over every single note. What a silly thing to do. If you want to quiz them, do that separately from their lesson book.

I realize some teachers don’t mind if a student uses both octave keys when only the side octave key is necessary, but doesn’t it seem like an extra movement when it isn’t necessary. Ask you student to play octave As and watch as their thumb moves to that unnecessary bottom octave key. How silly is that?

If the notes aren’t slurred, don’t let them slur. If they notes are slurred, please have them slur. I can’t tell you how many students ignore articulation and make it up as they’d like.

Yeah, I’m just a bit frustrated sometimes. I hate having to break the news to students that they have learned things so incorrectly. They are frustrated too, then, and that’s no fun.

I know I’m not perfect. I’m guessing some teachers who take over my students and find errors in my teaching methods too. Please let me know when I do that. And if you disagree with any of what I wrote above, you can certainly tell me. But I still stick to my thoughts. 🙂


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  2. Hey Patty, you must be starting up lessons again! Me too…I agree with you but one caviat about the dreaded forked F – some students also don’t have the divided D key, and using the Eb to vent the note brings this horrible fingering into better pitch (on some oboes). I actually have 2 students with these awful instruments right now. *sigh*

  3. Hi Jill,

    I won’t teach students without a left F for longer than a few lessons. Even with the awful sounding F, I won’t allow the E flat key, so that they don’t have to break that habit later. I know the note doesn’t sound good (it’s actually the F resonance key that makes for a poorer sounding forked F, not the split D ring). Habits learned when first playing are the most difficult to break … I speak, I’m sorry to say, from experience. I didn’t learn left F until far into my oboe playing experience.

  4. PS … or maybe I’m misunderstanding the split D ring? 🙂

  5. When I started out, I was certainly a lazy oboist, and it took me a few months to get used to all those left-hand pinky keys. (My first school instrument was actually a pretty good Fox, so, I had the left F, spatula key, and all that wonderful stuff.) I never used left F until I was forced to learn it. My pinkies are too small for it to be comfortable.

    Now on the other hand, I don’t even see how someone could learn to play the oboe without the half hole and side octave key. Or how someone could sleep at night while trying to teach that.