January 20, 2021

Good work on your embouchure this week - I can really hear the difference. Continue to work on the long tones and tonguing exercises this week, focusing on lighter/quicker tonguing so that there is less space between the notes and they start cleaner.

To think about:

  • What piece would you like to play next? Two options mentioned so far, but feel free to come up with others if you want!
  • What can you do to remind yourself to have good posture (sit or stand tall, with open chest and head balanced on your spine, and bring the oboe to you)

Possible new piece:

  • Driver's license 

January 13, 2021

Yay new reeds! A few guidelines for getting the most out of your reeds:

  • start each playing time by reviewing how your embouchure is formed:
    • stick out the tongue to bring the reed into your mouth
    • surround the reed with your lips as though it is a paper straw
    • keep the lip pressure as light as you can while still making sure that they seal around the reed 
  • if you overblow and the reed growls at you or the note goes up an octave:
    • stop, reform your embouchure, and consciously use a steady airstream to attempt the note again
    • use less forceful air/less pressure 
    • observe if taking air pressure away makes the note sound better
    • you may need to add some pressure at the edges of your lips/corners to bring the pitch up
    • balance the lip pressure and the air pressure until the note sounds good to you - you have a good ear - trust yourself!
  • keep track of the physical changes you make to adjust the sound (or timbre), pitch and volume of each note while you do your warm ups so that you can repeat them if you have an issue while playing your piece

Warm up Practice:

Spend maybe 5 to 10 minutes on warm up practice where you work on the technical bits. Then go play your piece or something you want to play. Come back to the technical exercises if you have a problem in your piece, or make up your own if it's a new problem!

Choose 2 or 3 of the following to work on (you don't have to do all of these EACH time you play!

  • from half hole D to E with the first octave key (thumb) for the E but not the D or C
  • Make sure you are using the 1 and 1 fingering for this C (C5)
  • C - D - E - D - C making sure to rotate your first finger off the half hole on the D and back on for the C and E
  • LONG TONE Exercise! This is the party trick exercise:
    • take a metronome set to 60 beats per minute (here's a free online one) or use the second hand on an analog clock
    • play your C major scale starting on low C (C4) with each note getting 4 beats 
    • See how long you can go without breathing!
    • TIP: Control your airspeed to go longer
  • Tonguing exercise:
    • Your description of tonguing is perfect - always think of pulling the tongue away from the reed - the shorter the time the tongue touches the reed the better it will sound
    • Some people think of using sounds like "tah tah tah" or "Teh teh teh" for repeated tonguing - use them if they help you
    • Play repeated quarter notes on the C major scale you can start at G and go down then up, or start at the bottom and go up
    • make sure each note sounds nice and doesn't growl or go up the octave
    • if you get frustrated move on to something else
    • Starting at the bottom:
  • Starting at G, and then doing the exercise above:


Are you bored yet?

  • Practice this in short sections, and go back and forth between playing 2 bar sections all tongued and all slurred (not tongued)
  • When you find the notes are not coming out well, stop for a second and try a smaller section - take 2 notes and go back and forth between them and make sure they both sound good, then add a third note
  • Remember to think "Ahhh" when going down to lower notes, and think about aiming a little under pitch or lower than they actually are 
  • If you get frustrated go do something else :) and come back to it later

January 6, 2021

Short notice cancellation - will allow lesson to be rescheduled.

Two more lessons scheduled including rescheduled lesson:

Jan 13 and 20th. See you next week at 6pm!

December 30, 2020

Good work fighting with your flat reed! Don't try different fingerings to get it in tune - just practice your C major fingerings and the tuning will become easier when my reeds arrive (although you will still have to work at it, it will be possible to play in tune!)

For your embouchure:

  • stick your tongue out to bring the reed into your mouth, then form your lips around it as though it were a paper straw - and seal in a circular shape around the reed
  • Try to keep your cheeks from puffing out by thinking about making the sound "Ahh" inside your mouth


  • from half hole D to E with the first octave key
  • C - D - E - D - C making sure to rotate your first finger off the half hole on the D and back on for the C and E
  • See if you can read through some more of Wallows 'Are you bored yet' 
    • work on the fingerings and make sure you're not guessing
    • Don't worry too much about the tuning until the new reeds arrive

Helpful Fingering charts:


Half Hole D

E first octave key

A Second octave key 

Note that you can hold the first octave key down at the same time or not (the second octave key automatically closes the first octave, so it doesn't make a difference)

December 23, 2002

Very nice to meet you - sorry that we seemed to be having some connection problems. If possible see if you can set up close to the wifi router or use an ethernet connection for next lesson.

Good job learning C major fingerings so fast - for this week concentrate on seeing if you can keep playing without your embouchure getting tired and with steady air so the pitch doesn't go up and down too much within each note.

For everything:

  • remember to sit or stand up straight and bring the oboe to you - don't fold forward to the oboe
  • embouchure
    • place the reed on the lower lip and roll the lip inwards slightly to cover your teeth
    • surround the reed with your lips as though you are going to whistle, except that the lips are rolled in, not out.
    • keep the lips sealed around the reed - think about making a circle with your lips


  • C major scale up and down 4 beats on each note - see how many notes you can go without taking a breath! Make sure to breathe out and in when you do stop, then start again
  • Practice the pattern we played: (don't worry about the low B, unless you want to see if you can figure out the fingering - I'll give you a hint, it involves the low C fingering plus one of the left hand pinky keys)
  • Also practice starting and stopping notes using your tongue
    • Start with the tongue on the reed and your air ready (breathe in)
    • release the tongue and blow into the reed with a steady stream of air
    • Stop the air and touch the reed with the tongue to stop the note - see if you can stop it without the pitch going down or up.
  • Some fun oboe music to listen to: