Oboe Lessons

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Learning to Play the Oboe for an 11 year old Girl

April 2011

I am working with a student who wants to learn to play the oboe. She is an 11 year old girl who can read music and play the piano at a beginning to early intermediate level.

In middle school she wants to learn to play a different instrument - she specifically wants a reed instrument. She stands a better chance being included in orchestra if she does not play the flute, clarinet, saxophone or trumpet.

Since an oboe is a double reed instrument is it more difficult to learn to play? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Does anyone know who teaches oboe to children? What about renting an oboe? What is the difference between a single reed and a double reed other than one or two reeds?

Any help will be appreciated. Friend of an Oboist in the Making

Ah, the oboe, such a great choice of instruments-kudos for your student. I played the clarinet from age nine through the end of college and loved when I was able to play the oboe in high school. I'm not sure what you mean by having a better chance to play in an orchestra since there are typically more spots for clarinet, flutes, etc. Usually there is one oboe and one bassoon, which is more competitive in my mind. I think it also depends on if she is planning to play in school or in a private youth orchestra/symphony. The oboe is very similar to flute fingering (same key), so if she didn't have immediate access to an oboe, she could start with flute. I personally preferred the lower sounding instruments, like clarinet. The double reed thing is only a concern because it's easier to break and more expensive to buy. Plus it sounds like a duck when you are just learning to play it. Although, come to think of it, the clarinet sounded bird- like too in the beginning, like a squeaky bird that gets stepped on. I have been out of the music loop for a while now, but we used to get our supplies in downtown Berkeley on Shattuck, but now I think you have to go to Oakland to rent an instrument. Best Music was the place to go back in the day, 1716 Broadway Oakland, CA 94612-2106 (510) 832- 2024 In high school I borrowed my oboe from the music department but owned my clarinet. Good luck! oboe lover

My son's piano teacher is primarily an oboe player and teacher. She has a wonderful studio in El Cerrito and is fantastic with kids of all kinds of learning levels and styles. She also teaches at Harding Elementary and I think at St Mary's as well. I'll bet she could answer your questions about the difficulty of learning, of where to rent, etc. Moira Little 841-2608

Good for this student! The oboe is a beautiful instrument but yes, the double reed is challenging. My primary instrument was piano but I missed the ensemble experience. I was a bit older (just starting HS) when I took up oboe. I got right into the band because we were only 3 oboists in the school (a LARGE urban public high school). Rebecca

If my tutor from my high school years was still living locally, I would recommend her in a heartbeat, but instead I'll send you to a place to find someone similar.

I would suggest stopping by or contacting Forrests Music on University Ave. http://www.forrestsmusic.com/ When I was still playing oboe and English horn, that was where we all went for information, music, reeds, reed-making supplies, and to find tutors. Best of luck! Kristin

Oboe is probably more difficult than other woodwinds and yes, less competition as far as being included in an orchestra. An excellent teacher is Moira Little, 525-3498. My daughter has been taking lessons with her for years.

Oboe teacher in the South Bay or SF?

May 2009

My niece, who lives on the Peninsula, is looking for an oboe teacher. Does anyone have recommendations for a good beginning teacher either in the South Bay or San Francisco area? Marguerite

Amanda Croft, tel. 650.269.8111, in Mountain View. She might also teach another wind instrument and her husband teaches guitar. - Saskia

If you are looking for an oboe teacher I would suggest that you check with the SF Conservatory of Music. I know James Moore gives lessons. You can also call the SF symphony and ask for recom.

Ruth Stuart Burroughs is a very experienced oboe player and teacher. She has a studio upstairs at Forest Music on University Avenue. She's a personal friend of mine who's been giving my daughter some one-on-one tutoring with clarinet this year, so I've actually observed her teaching. I can say without reservation that she's terrific! She can be reached at 510-332-9080. Burr

Moira Little in El Cerrito is fantabulous! She also teaches piano. I wish she taught adults because she is so warm and great with kids that it makes me want to learn to play! 841-2608 Lise

I am sorry for the belated response to the inquiry about an oboe teacher. But I have a great teacher to recommend. Her name is Moira Little and she is a fine performer and teacher, and works extensively with kids of all ages and adults. She teaches in her El Cerrito studio and also at Holy Names in Oakland, so there are two locations to consider. I can't recommend her highly enough! Her number is 847-2608. lynn