There’s a new memoir out about an oboist. (Not a name I recognize and when I googled the name does come up as an oboist anywhere, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she isn’t still playing.) The reviewer writes about the oboist’s having to practice only long tones for “three mind-numbing months.” and goes on to say, “Long tones are notes held until you run out of breath…”.

Hm. That’s not how they work for me, and yes, I have my oboe students play them, for a number of reasons. Maybe I’ll write about that someday. I know of one colleague who disagrees with me and doesn’t have students play them at all.

But honestly, does any oboist play a long tone until they “run out of breath”? I’m curious!