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Thread: Brand New Oboe! A lot of instruments and music to juggle, any suggestions?

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default Brand New Oboe! A lot of instruments and music to juggle, any suggestions?

    I'm not an oboist, but I'd like to be. Frankly I can't make up my mind, I am now working on Clarinet, Alto Recorder, Clavichord, and Piano, so what's adding my dream instrument of my childhood, the oboe to my arsenal going to do? It may start to take over from the clarinet, but its going to take a while for my skills to catch up. I just recently started Clarinet a few weeks ago again for the first time in years, and I'm already playing Chabrier Scherzo Valse solo from Suite Pastorale, and am interested in learning repertoire like the Brahms sonatas. The Recorder has been going for three months on and off and I'm playing Telemann Fantasias. Why not just play them all and see where it takes me? Some day I'd like to at least play in a community orchestra or a wind band or baroque ensemble. Am also interested in period oboe construction. Add the keyboard to that, and four modes of making music, sight reading(bad at), memorization(which I'm good at) and improvisation(which I'm just able to do sometimes) and notation/composition, that's a lot on one's plate if I'm serious about it all, and I'm tremendously excited, but I don't know how disciplined I can be. The idea is not to swamp myself in my developing discipline skills so I probably need a focus and an achievable goal. Any suggestions? Its been recommended that I try to find some kind of orchestra camp for clarinet so I can get out there and working with musician. I'm pretty sure after working on oboe for a while that I like it as much, if not more than the clarinet, but it will take time to tell. The recorder can always be played and my keyboard skills can always be utilized. But these two instruments juggling and my lack of sight reading ability are two potential road blocks, along with my excess of ambition.

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    First of all, I think your ambitions are great!

    I also think I might be able to speak to you with (limited) experience, as it's always been one of my foremost ambitions - especially as an aid to composition, which is what I see myself doing with my life - to learn, at least to some level of proficiency, every major instrument of the orchestra. So far, I can play (to varying degrees, of course!) the piano, flute, clarinet, violin, and cello.

    What I would say, however, is that you need a true focus - an instrument that you devote yourself to more than any of the others. For example, if ever people ask me what I play and I don't fancy explaining my curious urge to learn everything, then I will always refer to myself as a pianist. It is the instrument I have played for the longest by some years; it is certainly the instrument I am most capable on; and I admittedly feel an affinity for it more than any of the other instruments I play.

    However, at the same time, I don't look on my other instrumental practices lightly, which is why (along with the fact that I don't really have the personality for solo recitals and concerto performances) I involve myself in the wind section of a local orchestra, usually playing the flute. With the personal devotion to the piano, and the involvement in community performance, I've developed a lot of skills that are easily transferable to the other instruments.

    Does that help at all? As for sight reading, just practice, practice, practice - I've always sucked at it, but I slowly improve with incessant practice

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    The oboe needs regular practice to keep the embouchure muscles working. I am told that beginners start about a semitone flat and slowly get up to pitch as their embouchures strengthen. In many ways playing the oboe is like playing a brass instrument. It is possible to play several instruments. I would suggest that you try to play the oboe everyday, even if only for 10 mins.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Unless you are a professional, and one of those who, like Hindemith and a few other conductors, can pick up any instrument and play it at a professional level, you will want, I would think, to focus on no more than, say three.

    Focus, as mentioned by Polednice -- on I suggest, no more than two, with a third relegated to more of a 'hobby' status.

    Really, even as amateur, there is just not enough time (and that highly skilled polymath ability to play all too rare) to really get fluent and advanced enough on any one instrument to the point where there is a level of skill, and a ready consistency, fludity, to play well, and to get to the more interesting repertoire available for the instruments(s) you have chosen.

    Hobbyist, dilettante, just play for your own pleasure, an investigation for your own kind of fun, never to play with others or for anyone? Go ahead, check out the whole orchestra :-) Otherwise, narrow it down. Your satisfaction level in how much better you will be at playing one, or 'just a few,' should balance out the fact you have left off playing the other instruments.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    That was so last summer! Its kind of sad really. None of my ambitions seem to come to fruition. How does that bode for my current aspirations...

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clavichorder View Post
    That was so last summer! Its kind of sad really. None of my ambitions seem to come to fruition. How does that bode for my current aspirations...
    Most everyone gives 'advice' based on 'what worked for them,' no matter how impartial they try to be, and no matter how truly and considering they are of the situation of those whom they advise is....

    I still regret, in summer music camp, or later in an arts academy, not taking that survey course where you literally tried several instruments from each 'family.' - had I done so, I might have had a second instrument to play, at least for my own private pleasure.

    You will have to question -- I think soon and somewhat 'urgently' -- what exactly you want from music and how much you hope to be involved with it. A music minor - learning a lot for your own pleasure with no intention of making a living later as either player, composer or teacher? You're fine as it is.

    Most people I knew in school who had several instruments going became masters of none, but could and did end up in music education, usually in the primary through high-school levels. There is many an 'awesome' musician teaching music, conducting band, who knows a bit about all and starts tons of students out on an instrument in the school band and orchestra programs.

    If you can find one orchestral player who holds a chair in any reputable orchestra, you'll find they were committed to the study and practice of that instrument from a pretty early age, if not like the concert soloists, the violinists, 'cellists, pianists, etc. - almost all of whom began concentrated study and practice at the age of no later than four, and did little else all the way through conservatory....

    Working multi-instrumentalists, notably 'reed men,' are generally working in the non-classical genres, and perhaps started on one or more of their instruments later than four years of age, and their 'multiplicity' still sits within one family of instruments. There are careers possible then, as a multi-instrumentalist :-)

    If music has 'bitten' you so strongly as to not let go, it may have given you drive, but you still need to choose which road you drive down, and not switch routes very often, if at all.

    It so completely depends not so much on your wishes or intentions as much on if something is driving you - if it is, define it, you are not a young kid. If you want any kind of even modest career, i.e music as a career, you will have to focus on one instrument, and perhaps theory and comp, almost immediately. Otherwise you are likely to be too disperse, and not prepared, for most careers in music.
    Last edited by PetrB; May-22-2012 at 07:00.

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    Senior Member Moira's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PetrB View Post
    It so completely depends not so much on your wishes or intentions as much on if something is driving you - if it is, define it, you are not a young kid. If you want any kind of even modest career, i.e music as a career, you will have to focus on one instrument, and perhaps theory and comp, almost immediately. Otherwise you are likely to be too disperse, and not prepared, for most careers in music.
    It is interesting that you should take this point of view. I take the opposite point of view. Unless you are a great instrumentalist, the chances are you are going to need skills in more than one area of music in order to make a living out of music. Certainly more than one style of music. So classical and jazz. Now clarinets, and occasionally flutes are found in jazz bands, but the ability to play the sax range plus clarinet and flute will get more work than just the clarinet or just the flute. Same with brass instruments. The ability to switch between trumpet and flugelhorn and some of the other smaller brass instruments will keep one working in the field of brass bands, orchestras and jazz ensembles. The ability to play both an organ and piano will help keyboard players earn a living as funeral and wedding musicians as well as accompanists. That sort of thing.

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    Haha,...this reminds me of being in high school band and I actually convinced the teacher to buy me an oboe and that I would play it! I must have had it for only a month before I started hinting and she knew me well by this point and so the lead clarinet player took it up and luckily it wasn't wasted money.

    Right about this time, however, I already knew guitar well and was working on piano, drums and bass. Little did I know when I dropped the oboe that I would never return to a wind instrument but that I would learn more than ten others. Playing instruments is fun and playing them with people is the only way for me. The only instruments I play professionally are guitar, bass, drums and vocals. All the others are purely for my personal pleasure.

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    Drop the piano and clarinet. Pick up the heckelphone and the Ondes Martnot. When you're done with them I would reccomend the serpent and the ophicleide.

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