Dear Geoffrey,

Please could you advise me about this topic. I am a mature amateur player who plays for pleasure, relaxation and performance with a local wind band.

My trouble is that being in a fairly demanding full time job and with other commitments I have limited time for quality practice.

Could you advise me on a good regime for 30 to 60 minute sessions say about two or three times a week? This is in addition to a two hour band rehearsal on a Monday evening.

Ideally this needs to be maintaining and improving but also enjoyable to maintain interest and motivation.

Kind regards, Edward

Dear Edward

One of the best practise regimes includes daily long notes say for 10 minutes. Always long notes with crescendos and diminuendos.
Start on low A and over a held 4 beat bar, crescendo to the G sharp and then back to piano - making a diminuendo on that note for four beats. Then start the G sharp  and do the same down to the G natural forte and back to piano during the second bar. So you are taking two bars at a time and proceeding chromatically down to the Bottom B flat. This is a great help for control. Beat at about crotchet = 60bpm

Next play some music!! Something Baroque perhaps with scalic passages. Handel or Bach is great for starters.

Then more chromatic long notes starting on low A but going upwards now. Go up to top A this time. Important to keep the sound always moving in one direction or the other. Either louder or quieter.  Take rests for a moment when you need to.

Last of all play some exercises based on scale intervals and studies. Make them up or buy a book. A book by John Williams is great. Find it on Crowther's website. Join the BDRS and get 10% off!!

I think that a middle practise period including music is best.

If you only have a short time, do the tone exercises as they will do you much good!!! Play music and leave out the studies. Playing music reminds you of why you are putting yourself through this!

Best wishes with this and I send my greetings to Lancashire being an old boy from there.



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Geoffrey Bridge


Professional oboist with many years experience. Former pupil of Leon Goossens. Solo artist for Arts Council of Great Britain. Freelance recitalist/broadcasting/orchestras. Former Head of woodwind teaching in Hampshire, England. Questions on repertoire, playing styles, reeds, cane selection and processing.


Royal College of Music, Aberdeen College of Education Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Music General Teaching Council certificate Broadcast solo recitals/performed with major symphony orchestras/Music Club recitals/writings on double reed matters

Treasurer/Advertising Manager and Trustee of the British Double Reed Society International Double Reed Society Association Hautbois Francais Southern Pro Musica Orchestra/Aberdeen Sinfonietta

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine

LRAM, Cert Ed

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