What Does an Oboe Teacher Do?

Amanda Barnhart
Amanda Barnhart
Man playing a guitar
Man playing a guitar

An oboe teacher instructs oboe students on basic methods of playing the instrument, and advanced musical theory and how it applies to an oboist. They also teach students how to properly care for an oboe. Some oboe teachers work at schools or other instructional facilities, while others offer private lessons in their offices or homes. Students should select an oboe teacher who is well-versed in the instrument and who has taught at the student’s level before.

Beginner oboists usually start their lessons with an oboe teacher by learning about the instrument, including how to assemble it, clean it, care for it, and store it properly. The teacher will typically show the student how to take the instrument apart, clean it with a swab after a playing session, and how to put it in its case properly so that the keys are not damaged during storage. Showing the student how to care for the reed is also important, as it ensures the reed will last as long as possible and enable the student to play the instrument easier. Broken or cracked reeds and reeds that are not dried properly make it harder for students to play the oboe, as an improper reed can inhibit airflow and produce undesirable tones or squeaking.

Once a student has learned the basics of caring for an oboe, an oboe teacher will move on to instructing the student on the proper way to hold the instrument, which includes proper reed placement in the student’s mouth. Fingering exercises for basic notes usually follow, and the teacher may begin lessons on how to read music at this point if the student has not previously played the oboe or another instrument. Once the student learns the basic notes, an oboe teacher moves on to short pieces of music and tone exercises to get the student used to reading music, staying on rhythm, and producing a desirable tone.

Intermediate and advanced students usually seek lessons from experienced oboe teachers. For these students, the teacher does not have to start with basic lessons and may instead begin with more complicated pieces that require adept fingering, careful rhythmic counting, and difficult notes on the high or low end of the musical scale that require advanced breathing techniques to master. An oboe teacher who instructs more advanced students often focuses more on musical theory and teaching techniques that apply to specific pieces of music, rather than an overview of how to play the instrument at its most basic level.

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