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The Magical World of the Oboe …. a Worthwhile Challenge!

Oboe, woodwind, music, classical music, practice, music lessons, oboe lessons for children

Think outside the box; think oboe, one of the more challenging woodwind instruments to master

Many parents contact us at London Music Centre day in day out asking for music lessons of the most popular 3 instruments: Piano (you guessed it), Violin, and Guitar. As we are a bunch of different professional musicians at LMC, it pains us to see a wide variety of instruments which are absolutely divine to play, listen and master, not receive as much attention as they duly deserve. One such instrument is the beautifully sensitive, delicate oboe.

The oboe is believed to be one of the more challenging woodwind instruments out there, and it rarely receives the kind of wide exposure prominent instruments such as pianos get. The first challenge with oboes is the amount of time and patience required until one can even produce a sound, followed by the ability to control it. 

Other challenging, or interesting, issues one may encounter when playing the oboe include: hard to play notes that are high enough; struggle to produce the pp (pianissimo) dynamic instruction; the note you try to produce does not come out at the intended timing, resulting in a musical mishap. 

But come to think of it: the violin and its string family have similar challenges. Saxophone players are also just as likely as oboe players to encounter the aforementioned issues, but no one seems to get put off by that as easily. Perhaps it’s our mindset pre-conditioned by the prominence of certain instruments heightened e.g. on TV/in films, that gives us better courage and more patience to tackle their technical difficulties?   

An important upside for children playing the oboe – other than the great sense of achievement when overcoming the difficulties – is the great priority children receive when applying to scholarships/grants for musical excellence. Many applicants will come with the piano, violin and cello; however, the less common the instrument is, the more prioritised it becomes amongst schools. We dislike using musical instruments as a bargaining tool for parents, but this strategic move is not too small a factor to be ignored.

If we have found the different charm and magic in the unique intelligent sound of the oboe, we might have seeked lessons for this instrument with just as much vigor and enthusiasm.

What personality would suit playing the oboe?

Anyone and everyone! We believe that children should study at least 2 instruments of different nature and sound. Pianos seem to always occupy the top spot, for very good reasons (to be discussed in a separate article), and then a woodwind instrument such as the clarinet, flute, oboe, piccolo or bassoon should be considered. Of course, it is also down to each individual’s personal taste and passion, which is probably the most important factor in choosing your instrument. Without any passion and musical inspiration, it’s hard to progress and achieve any satisfying results.

Having said the above, we often see sensitive and delicate personalities get attracted to the oboe, due to its unique sense of sound and expression. Think about it: no symphony could ever have a lift-off without the profoundness of an oboe.

On the physical side of things: unlike other wind instruments, people with smaller lung capacity will not struggle with the oboe due to the instrument’s size. Oboe also has a more compact structure in comparison with the structure of a clarinet or flute, so even children with smaller hands can handle the instrument with ease.

Additionally, don’t forget the pleasure of creating the reeds for your oboe yourself as well, which suits those of you who enjoy detailed handiwork.

In conclusion, the oboe is not only wonderful but also an absolutely essential woodwind instrument to study and discover. The beauty of its sounds, the profoundness of its character, the importance in a symphonic orchestra and the uniqueness should be the key factors encouraging anyone to give the oboes a fabulous chance and a good go! 

For free consultations or to discuss ideas, suitable courses and teachers, we at London Music Centre are available for a friendly chat 7 days a week, from 9am to 9pm. You’re also most welcome to share your thoughts or any query with us by leaving comments below. null

Many parents contact us day in day out asking for music lessons for the top 3 instruments: piano (you guessed it), violin and guitar… It is a shame to see a wide variety of instruments which are absolutely divine to play, listen and master. One such instrument is the sensitive, delicate oboe.

The oboe is believed to be one of the more challenging woodwind instruments out there to play and certainly without the extensive PR the piano and such like instruments get. Your first challenge is the time and patience required until you can even produce a sound, not to mention your inability to control it.

Here’s another interesting issue: you may not be able to play notes high enough also you may be unable to produce the pp (pianissimo) dynamic instruction; you may also produce a note which may not come out when intended causing your timing to get messed up.

But comes to think of it – the violin and the string family has similar challenges. The sax would be a much likely instrument to have that issue but no one seemed put off by that. Perhaps the legendary status of playing certain instruments give us the courage to tackle them with more resolve and not give up so easily.

Those difficulties above all but intensify the joy when you finally get it and music making become all the more exquisite.

An important upside for children playing the oboe is the great priority when comes to different scholarships granted for musical excellence as many will come with the piano, violin and cello but the less popular the instrument the more it is prioritised amongst schools. We dislike using the instrument here as a bargaining tool for parents but it is not too small a factor to ignore.

If we have found the different charm and magic in the unique intelligent sound of the oboe, we might have seeked lessons for this instrument with just as much vigor and enthusiasm.

What personality would most suits playing the oboe?

Anyone and everyone. We believe children should study at least 2 different instruments of different nature and sound. The piano seem to always occupy the top spot for very good reasons (to be discussed in separate articles) and then a woodwind instrument such as the clarinet, flute, oboe, piccolo or bassoon should be considered. However it is also down to personal taste and passion which is probably the most important factor in choosing your instrument. With no passion you better leave it alone all together and find something better to do…

However, it is likely to see sensitive and delicate personalities attracted to such instruments as the oboe due to its unique sense of sound and expression. If you thought about it no symphony could ever have a lift-off without the profoundness of the oboe.

On the physical side of things: unlike with other wind instruments, there is no handicap for people with smaller lungs due to the size of the instrument. The oboe is also more compact in its structure than that of the clarinet or the flute, and so you will not have any problem for people with small hands.
Consider the pleasure of creating the reeds for your oboe yourself as well, which is also suited for those of you who enjoy detailed handiwork.

In Conclusion:

The oboe is not only magical it is absolutely an essential woodwind instrument to study and discover. The wonders of its sound, profoundness of character, importance in the symphonic orchestra and uniqueness are some of the most essential factors in going ahead and giving it a go!

For free consultation and discussing ideas and suitable courses and teachers, please find us available for a chat 7 days a week, 9am-9pm. Please feel free to share your thoughts with us leaving your comment below and sharing it as well.


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