How to play the Oboe?

If you really want to play the oboe well you must learn to do it properly, but there's a right way and there's a wrong way - the wrong way is by BLOWING your head off!

Yes, we know - that's what everyone tells you to do - and what's the result? A horrible sound at best or, most likely, nothing - the reed slams shut, doesn't it?

Why not learn the professional way to play - by breathing - not blowing?

Oboe Technique DoctorOboe Technique Doctor will show you the way.

This little book - easily popped in your pocket for when you are at rehearsal and get problems - reminds you of all the things that you should be doing. Even more important - all the things that you should NOT be doing.

It's your "trouble-shooter". Click on the picture to learn more. You can buy the book itself for less than the price of a good reed.

Talking of oboe reeds - we had reed problems just like you, so we wrote the Oboist's Reed Doctor.

The Oboist's Reed DoctorThis little book shows you how to get the very best from your oboe reeds.

Apart from most expensive bespoke reeds, most commercial oboe reeds are not made entirely by hand. It would cost a fortune in man-hours to scrape each oboe reed to the correct profile. They are only hand-made to the point of binding and shaping the cured cane and finally putting the blank reeds into the profiling machine. This works from a template, set to give the required dimensions and shape. So a oboe reed maker can confidently say "all my oboe reeds are made exactly the same" from the profiling machine.

So far so good. But Arundo Donax reed-cane, however, is a natural material which can vary from one reed to the next. So no matter how carefully have the reeds been selected, they will all vary slightly from each other. This is where the "Oboist's Reed Doctor" comes in.

By careful scraping and adjustment, you will not only be able to make your reeds last longer, you will be able to make sure that the reed matches YOUR oboe for that perfect oboe tone.


Dr Downing's Professional Oboe Thumbplate Fingering Chart

Our Professional Thumb Plate Oboe Fingering chart shows you a fluent oboe fingering technique - exactly the way the professionals play.




We also publish Oboe Fingering Charts for Conservatoire

and Dual System Oboes.

Click the pictures for more details


Oboe First Aid DoctorKeeping your oboe in good repair is essential for troublefree playing - the Oboe First Aid Doctor by Andy May, will show you how to keep your oboe in tip top condition.

How to check for leaks and how to make simple oboe repairs and adjustments.

Also what to do if a oboe pad splits during a gig.

Above all, when to take it to your friendly oboe repairer.



Finally, how good is your oboe tone? Do you want a smooth, beautiful oboe sound?

The best way is practising long notes - but will you do that?

If you are anything like me, or the rest of the world's oboeists, you would think fifteen seconds is a long time to play any note.

So, if I told you that you need to play them for at least 3 minutes to do any good.........? No, you won't play long notes will you - too, too boring!

But what about playing beautiful, slow oboe music?

Think of the slow movement from Mozart's oboe Concerto? Have you tried to play Gymnopedies by Erik Satie? All these pieces take around 3 minutes each to play - but boring? Never!

You will find them here in Oboe Tone-Ups book 1

Oboe Tone-Ups Book 1Not only are many of the tunes great classical oboe masterpieces in their own right, we have arranged fantastic slow melodies from other composers and, even better, each book has a FREE CD with it, so that you can hear exactly how it should sound before you play.

We guarantee that you will not only love every second that you play them, but the seconds will translate into hours of ecstatic music making. The time will just fly by and your oboe embouchure will be fully developed, apparently effortlessly.

Go on, give them a try - I dare you!

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