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Oboe/Taking up the oboe again at 74


I got to Grade 8 at the age of 18 but then gave it up - decided I wasnt good enough for a professional career. Now at the age of 74 I am mad enough to think I would like to start again - is that a good idea. I live near Chichester in West Sussex and need a teacher lat alone the actual instrument but am I too old? And I work full time so not all that much time to practice.

Dear Mike

First let me apologise for my late reply. I was all set on Tuesday afternoon actually replying when Broadband went down in much of the UK including my bit! You may have experienced that yourself in West Sussex. Finally it emerged that this was a National problem not just my system!

Are you too old. Emphatically no! If you are enthusiastic to play you will. First off get yourself some good reeds and of course an oboe and then a teacher. Perhaps reverse that and get a teacher who will help you with the former - oboe and reeds.

You may find when you do begin that your mouth muscles tire quicker that you remembered and thats why reed selection is going to the vital. Not too open, not hard and curiously not too soft and with lots of vibration. The vibrations can irritate the lips and tire you out, even though blowing is fairly comfortable.
The strength in the lips will increase but gently does it.

In your local area there is a teacher I know of who is good - Susie Shrubb. She teaches for West Sussex and is an enthusiastic lady. I'm sure she would help you. If you would like contact details send me an email and I will put you in touch.

Email me on

Funnily enough I will be in Chichester a week on Saturday in St Pauls Church, playing in a concert. Even though I live in Scotland I am coming down to play in this one. I help manage the orchestra - the Southern Pro Musica.

Now don't waste any time, you just get playing...

Best wishes and again sorry for the delay.



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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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