I think the writer of this article didn’t hear SSV play last week. Feste Romana was loud. And I’m certain we can play louder than any beginner if we choose to. Perhaps the beginner doesn’t have the control to play softer, but we can beat ’em on volume. Trust me.

School music teachers have been warned to wear earmuffs or stand behind noise screens to protect their hearing.

This is because beginners tend to blast away much louder than professionals.

Found here.


  1. But beginning players often don’t bother to get quieter again… ever. Like, I remember the days (long, long, gone I promise) when I thought the point was to overpower the band. *sigh* simpler times… 😉

    Then again, I read somewheres a statistic that I should just make up now (ahaha, all I remember was I was surprised) that had to do with classical musicians and hearing loss, and it happens a lot. Like, it’s higher for classical musicians than rock musicians, that I remember. So it’s not that proffessionals don’t play loud/don’t need to protect their hearing.

  2. Oh believe me, I know about professionals and hearing loss! Having been in the biz since 1974, and having been placed in extremely loud spots in pits and on stage, I know I’ve suffered. I continually hear ringing in my ears now. It’s just the hazards of this business. We use sound shields and ear plugs now in our orchestra, but it’s a bit late for that.

    How long have you been at this now, Miriam? Am I remembering correctly that you are in high school, or am I confusing you with someone else? I do tell all my students — and especially those in high school — that playing loud isn’t as impressive as those high school brass players think! It’s much more difficult to play softly, in tune, with a good sound. (Another good reason for long tones!)

  3. Yes, I’m a high school senior. I started playing oboe in sixth grade, and since I had some music experience and oboe lessons behind me when band started I proudly made next to no (wrong-note/rhythm) mistakes and believed this meant everyone needed to hear me. (you say sax is the loudest instrument here? wanna bet?) Somewhere along the line the idea of dynamics were introduced and I realized I should probably apply the work I was supposed to do with a tuner… so even by seventh/eighth grade I’d come to some significant changes in philosophy. (It wasn’t hard to figure out that playing softly was harder–at first I couldn’t at all.)

    I think the real epifany (that’s spelled wrong, isn’t it?) was at a master class I only watched in eigth grade, I forget who with now. But I remember her saying the musicality comes from the soft notes, that you want to make the audience lean in to listen. (yes, projection still matters) But I had never thought of things that way before and I think it really changed my playing.

  4. So what are you doing for college, Miriam? I’m assuming applications are in? (Maybe you already told me … I’m old and forgetful!)

    Often it’s difficult to get younger oboists to project; I’d rather start with “too much” and get them to move to less than to have to urge them to get sound out. Really. So you started from the right “direction” in my little opinion. 🙂

  5. Definition of a tutu musician: Someone who can play very well, as long as the music is not too high, or too low, or too loud, or too soft, or too fast, or too slow.

    A. k. a. mezzo-mezzo. 🙂