Some time ago someone wrote to me for oboe advice. I have, in fact, received several emails recently for either oboe advice of advice of some other musical sort. Needless to say, I sometimes have to be quite careful in what I write.

And then I sometimes get emails from other oboists. An oboist while back, accused me of stealing students (not the accuser’s students, as that person lives out of this state, so I’m not sure where the person was getting information or who I supposably stole students from, but oh well). I have never stolen a student. Ever. I don’t recruit at all, truth be told. I have had just a few students come from other teachers. If I’m told they want to switch teachers I tell them they must first inform that teacher: the oboe world is small and I don’t want anyone to be angry about my “stealing” students. At the same time, students do have the right to switch teachers. Shoot, there are times when I think some of mine should move to someone else — it can be a good thing to get a different perspective. I know of only one student I’ve had who came from someone else without notifying that teacher. I hadn’t realized they were coming from someone else until after they switched so at that point it was too late. But really, I don’t attempt to take students from another oboe teacher.

That being said, there are times I wish I could. There are some oboe instructors out there who should probably not be teaching. Some years ago I started working with a student who was writing the names of notes over every single note with the teacher’s approval. In addition, the fingering for forked F was incorrect and left F simply didn’t exist. Those habits are difficult to break and I do get a bit angry at the teacher when I have to retrain someone so completely. It’s awfully frustrating for the student, too.

But I ramble. What I mostly want to do is urge parents to make sure their child’s oboe instructor knows what he or she is doing. Get recommendations from a youth symphony or university. Ask other oboists and parents who they recommend. If the teacher isn’t playing anywhere at all on oboe, you might question if the teacher really knows oboe. Not every oboe teacher plays, but most do: I make a point of playing duets with my students each week so they know what an oboe should sound like. I think that’s a good idea, and I think the students enjoy it. (They especially enjoy it when I make a mistake!)

Be wise. Listen for improvement. Don’t assume an oboe instructor is good just because he or she advertises that they are. And the words “academy”, “institute” or “master” are meaningless if they aren’t backed up by good teaching.

Ramble over ‘n out.

11. January 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: TQOD

How does it feel that your oboe is almost as big as you? Also note JOHN McCRIRICK as lead Violin hahaha!

I include the video the tweeter was writing about: