Just a little but of advice:

Sometimes young oboists get a false sense of how great they are, due to the number of oboists at their schools. If you are the only oboist — or even one of two — how do you know if you are truly playing at a high school level? I highly advise that oboists join youth symphonies. At least that gives you all a bit better idea of the level you may need to reach. I would also recommend you listen to other youth symphonies to see if you need to reach even further! And how many times must I advise this: go hear professional orchestras!

Trust me on this. Okay? 🙂

(This isn’t being posted because of anyone I’ve heard any time recently. This is why I’m posting it now; it seems a bit safer to do this while no one can write and ask if I’m writing about him or her. I hope this saves my students the trouble and worry of writing to say, “You talkin’ ’bout me?”)


  1. And the same goes for clarinettists as well! Despite making the National Youth Orchestra in the UK during my teens, the greatest shock was getting to a music conservatory and realising that every single year they took on 6-8 clarinettists. Go figure the maths on the employment situation!
    We are talking early-mid `80s here but having had childhood illusions, none of my teachers had prepared me for the reality of a professional musical life and my self-esteem plumitted to such an extent that I later abandoned music altogether.
    Good on you, Patty, for this post and other teachers please take note with your “star” pupils.

  2. I’ve seen this happen to SO many students! I think it’s a teacher’s responsibility to be real with students, while of course still giving appropriate encouragement. This is one tough business and there are absolutely no guarantees!

    Thanks, Marion, for the kind words! I’m sorry, though, to hear of your experience. 🙁