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Oboe/First time teaching!


Hi Geoffrey,

I'm absolutely new to teaching oboe. A girl who is twelve years old has asked me if they could have some lessons from me, which I accepted to do, except I'd just like confirmation about my lesson plan.

I was thinking, because this person has had experience with music, and can read it fluently and understands terms and so on, that I'd start explaining how the oboe works, how it is played, and a little bit of a history of the oboe and its family. Also, how to assemble the instrument correctly, and instrument and reed care. Then, I'd move onto reed work, getting the person to understand the positioning of the reed and blowing a proper crow with the reed. That would probably take most of the time we've got.

Then, if we do still have time, then learn some fingerings - maybe for middle B, A and G, and play Hot Cross Buns if they get the hang of it very quickly (which I guess is unlikely).

What do you think?

(Thank you!! :) )

Dear Hannah

I am so sorry to have been so long in replying to you but both my wife and I have had the norovirus which has left us feeling less than half dead over Christmas and New Year time. So real sorry about that. Not a good experience I'm afraid.

About your question.
OK I think that at the end of the lesson your pupil should be playing a little tune however excruciatingly it may seem.
I wouldn't talk too much about the history of the oboe and family. That can come later. The main things to tackle are blowing the reed correctly, assembling the instrument correctly so that no damage will result when you aren't around to see the process; how to care for the reed and not damage it when looking to see where fingers are placed on the tone holes. Many a reed bites the dust on the woolly shoulder of an unsuspecting pupil!

I think that it is essential to have a few notes under the belt in the first lesson and hence an attempt at a tune using say as you suggest, three notes - A, B and C.
Hot Cross Buns  would be great. What the pupil wants to achieve is to play something on the oboe and is not really interested at all in its history or its family.

If your prospective pupil is already reading music then that is a bonus.

Make sure that s/he knows about reed prep before playing - soaking a little, blowing a crow, squeezing down if needs be. Making the crow BEFORE putting the reed into the oboe. Do make sure that everything works easily and that no force is required to put the oboe together or insert the reed into the socket. Alignment of the joints is crucial and the hand positions with the right hand at the bottom of course sometimes needs reinforcing. Worth stressing the point. Also talk about taking apart the instrument after playing and cleaning - always.

Best of luck with your pupil and again so sorry to be late with your answer.

Happy New Year and great pupils in 2013 to you.



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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.


St Andrews University 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

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

Double Reed News/Australasian Double Reed Society magazine/International Double Reed Society

LRAM, Cert Ed

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