05. January 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: Oboe

I wanna be a “drinking straw oboist”. I hear it’s magnificent. Or at least that’s what I read!

If you take a drinking straw and squash one end flat for about an inch, and then cut the end to a point – as in the illustration below – you will be the proud possessor of a drinking straw oboe. Some of you might now be content with simply owning one of these magnificent instruments without playing it. This is perfectly understandable – we all know that leaving musical instruments lying around your apartment makes you a lot more attractive to the opposite sex… However, I advise you to press on, and acquire the heady skills of the proficient drinking straw oboist.

To play the oboe just clamp it between your lips – about half way along the squashed flat bit – and blow hard enough that the breath squeezes past the pressure of your lips and flows through the straw. You should produce a rather annoyed sounding musical note – rather like a wasp trapped in a lightshade.

I have a feeling I’d be much more successful at making drinking straw reeds.

Many thanks to Tim Dowd for pointing me in the direction of the article!


  1. Patty:
    I did this for years when we did WW5 concerts in the schools.
    Furthermore, you can cut holes in the straw and play different notes. I had a lovely straw on which I could perform a simplified version of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
    I also showed my son’s entire 3rd grade classroom how to do this. Can you imagine the din?

  2. Pam, I do remember hearing about this! I should have gone to watch … and HEAR! Rats!