Okay – not that I don’t like the oboe or anything, but the first oboe in the band always tunes with the tuner right in front of her. You can hear her adjusting the start of the note with her embouchure until it’s right. So she’s tuning us to the tuner – but not really herself (okay, maybe she’s good enough to consistently make that embouchure adjustment in that exact position for the rehearsal duration, but really?) Wouldn’t it be better if she got herself tuned up first, then sounded our notes without looking at the tuner? Even better, she tunes woodwinds to Bb and brass get an A. Is this standard tuning procedure?

I read it here.


  1. Back in my teaching days, I rarely was able to convince a student to NOT adjust with embouchure when tuning up. Sure, you make fine adjustments constantly while you’re actually playing music. But, at tune-up time, you must set your instrument so it’s in tune at your most optimal embouchure — not the other way around!

  2. I actually have to work on this myself all the time. I don’t look at the tuner initially, but I still tend to use a slightly different embouchure when tuning. So I get a false idea of where my reed sits. I’m not sure when and why I began doing that, but it’s something I constantly have to fight. Sigh.

  3. When our orchestra plays a piano concerto, the oboe tunes to the middle A on the piano and not the tuner.

    I was under the impression that the oboe gets the job of tuning everyone up because the sound of an oboe can be easily heard throughout the orchestra (as the oboe is typically near the center) and it has a piercing sort of tone that cuts through audience chatter, etc.

    I also tune to the trumpet next to me.

  4. Yep, when a piano is involved we are to tune first to the piano and then give the A to the rest of the orchestra. One always hopes the piano is tuned properly! 🙂