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My first oboe student – advice?

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Home Forums Pedagogy Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips My first oboe student – advice?

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  • #95767
    Kaitie Radel
    Participant

    Hello! My name is Kaitie, and I live in Orlando, FL. I’ve recently started teaching my first private student, but still being in high school I’m a little lost, and I was hoping someone on here could give me advice.

    My student is in eighth grade, hoping to audition for the local School of the Arts for her next year. However, she’s never taken any private lessons and she has acquired several bad habits – she breathes through her nose, doesn’t know many fingerings, doesn’t know any scales, and often interprets notes as always being accidental (ie, B is always Bb, E is always Eb, A is always Ab). For the past month or so we’ve been going through the Standard of Excellence Book 1 at a fantastic rate so I can catch her up with basic technique and theory, but I’m frustrated because I feel like I should be doing more. My own teacher suggested getting her started on the Rubank books, but I am personally not a fan of them and would rather be teaching her perhaps out of the Barret, since working on the Barret by myself has gotten me much farther than working on the Rubank ever did. Then again, I’m having a rough time imagining her being able to play anything out of either of the books efficiently. There’s so much ground to cover and so little time, and I’m starting to panic a little. I’m afraid I’m teaching her the wrong way and that I’m not challenging her, but then again I don’t want to challenge her too much.

    Can I please have advice on anything I should be doing with her? Are there any method books that you can suggest?

    Thank you so much.

    #115889
    Neville Forsythe
    Participant

    Hi Kaitie

    oboeisme wrote:
    she breathes through her nose, doesn’t know many fingerings,

    Try swimmers’ nose plug – she’ll have to breathe through mouth – not to mention being too embarrassed to be seen wearing them – even the threat is usually enough….

    oboeisme wrote:
    doesn’t know any scales,

    Set a structured programme with a realistic balance of technical and actual tunes. Maybe relate some each way (Like Do Re Me)

    oboeisme wrote:
    and often interprets notes as always being accidental (ie, B is always Bb, E is always Eb, A is always Ab).

    That sounds like a previous life in a Concert Band … you can’t blame her for that limitation.
    Do gently explain why she may not have been exposed to other keys (string players always learn sharp keys first and have an aversion to flats!).

    oboeisme wrote:
    For the past month or so we’ve been going through the Standard of Excellence Book 1 at a fantastic rate so I can catch her up with basic technique and theory, but I’m frustrated because I feel like I should be doing more.

    I am a bassoonist so lets hope som oboists can offer fun and / or challenging “methods” – bassoonist are so lucky to have Weissenborn! DO mix in meldoic work and if available play with a piano at times and play “real” pieces to develop that love of sound, expressiveness etc.

    oboeisme wrote:
    My own teacher suggested getting her started on the Rubank books, but I am personally not a fan of them and would rather be teaching her perhaps out of the Barret, since working on the Barret by myself has gotten me much farther than working on the Rubank ever did.

    Rubank can be a bit dry but used to dip in and out of may offer some progressive material – (don’t grind through everything in order though).

    oboeisme wrote:
    Then again, I’m having a rough time imagining her being able to play anything out of either of the books efficiently. There’s so much ground to cover and so little time, and I’m starting to panic a little.

    As the Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy says, “Don’t Panic!”

    Get her to own the problem and the solution – work at it in manageable bites – even tunes can be short to start with.
    A fall=back position is to simply acknowledge the possibility that an “intermediate” year may be necessary to get the complete preparation in place. Better to delay and enjoy than panic and possibly fail – that would really knock her confidence.

    oboeisme wrote:
    I’m afraid I’m teaching her the wrong way and that I’m not challenging her, but then again I don’t want to challenge her too much.

    You seem to instinctively know the requirements to help her and that is the first requirement for successfully developing her as a player. Her basis has been limited but already is progressing “at a fantastic rate” – that is a positive sign that with good mentoring and appropriate material alongside her aspirations you will both make it “with bells on”.

    Welcome to the challenging but rewarding world of teaching. You have much to offer and a great student to work with.

    Best wishes to both of you

    Neville

    PS Senior oboists please follow up with suggestions for repertoire for an eighth grade student with aspiration, motivation and a teacher with inspiration, reflection and professionalism. N.

    #115890
    Dwight Manning
    Participant

    Katie, I’m sure you’ll learn a lot about the oboe through teaching it to someone else. I believe Standard of Excellence is an ensemble method book and may not be entirely relevant to individual studio work. So, in addition to the traditional Barret–>Ferling–>Gillet curriculum you may also wish to explore facilitating your student’s growth with no books. Ask her what she wants to play and co-construct a curriculum along with her. Even composing or improvising may be fun and lead to further musical connections and instrumental skills. I find that the current and future generation of performing artists are not limited to one instrument or one style of music. You’ll both benefit if you teach music not just oboe.

    Keep us posted as you learn with and from your student,
    DM

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