oboe method recomendations

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Home Forums Pedagogy Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips oboe method recomendations

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    Jill Cathey

    I was wondering what method books people are using for somewhat advanced students? I have been hired to teach at a community college, and I’m not sure the students will be ready to work on the Barrett/Ferling level (which is what my teachers used). My students will have played in band for at least a few years, but maybe never had lessons before.

    Thanks for assistance!

    Darlene Vandewater

    I don’t think the Barrett would be too hard. The Grand Studies, maybe, but the rest of the book has plenty of stuff that should be just about right. There are also the Gekeler books. My first teacher used them with me when I was in high school.

    Jeremy Kesselman

    The Rubank Advanced Method for the oboe has a lot of material in it if they are at the pre-Barrett level. The Niemann book is also good because it has some easy pieces but there are also some difficult and some very difficult excerpts if the student is a fast learner. I’m not too keen on the Gekeler method books. Even though there is a rather good compilation of music in them I do not like the editorial markings and what Gekeler has to say about playing the oboe.

    I recommend goinging to a music store and seeing what they have. You’ll see what you like and what you don’t like.

    Nancy Ambrose King

    Dear Jill,

    Recently I ‘revisited’ one of the method books from my youth, the Andraud Practical and Progressive Oboe Method. I was looking for a method for one of my younger students who had finished the Barret 40 studies but was not yet ready for the Grand Studies or Ferling. I had forgotten how wonderful the Andraud book is! You might check it out, as it contains both technical, melodic, and scalar patterns all in one book. I was very happy to ‘rediscover’ it after all these years and this student is really enjoying it as well. NAK


    Examine and take your pick of method books, but I also like to use etudes and studies: Hinke, many keys major and relative minor each 1/2 page only. Voxman Selected Studies(oboe or sax) many keys major and minor and longer. Wiedemann etudes shorter major and minor keys, and a new collection put out by Carl Fischer called Melodious Etudes for Oboe selected from Vocalises of Marco Bordogni. Students also like solo collections to supplement usual methods, like AMSCO Oboe Solos , the Whitney Tustin solos, the Concert and Contest Collection(easier) and a new one called Solos for Oboe with piano acc. put out by Carl Fischer. The latter includes several by Bruno Labate, Sol Cohen, a legible Winter’s Past by Barlow and many others. Lois Barton

    Stephen Kaupiko

    Gekeler Book 2 is largely Barret’s 40 progressive melodies paired with it’s own scale studies. So if one didn’t intend to go through Barret’s grand exercises or Sonata section then the Gekeler is quite nice as it is very small and easy to carry around, uses modern readable print, and is only $6.

    If one wanted the entire Barret Method, but in better print, the Martin Schuring edition (Kalmus) offers that and it is also spiral bound. This method cuts out Barret’s introduction section and the 2 ending Air Varie pieces. It’s amazing how much more accessible some of the exercises become with better print! :)

    These studies would probably fit in at the Barret level:
    Melodious and Progressive Studies Book 1 (Book 2 is Ferling level)
    J.L. Small’s 27 Melodious & Rhythmical Exercises for Saxophone
    Everett Gates’ Odd Meter Etudes
    80 Graded Studies, Book 2

    I love this study, it can follow Barret and it’s more accessible than Ferling:
    Brod’s Etudes et Sonates

    Dwight Manning

    Jill, you may want to look at Susan Lundberg’s survey of 42 professional oboists published in Volume 24/4 (2001) of The Double Reed. Based on her survey results she lists the following method books:

    Methods and Studies Respondents Use With Their Students
    Ferling Studies
    Barret Oboe Method
    Vade Mecum (Andraud)
    Gillet Studies
    Brod Etudes
    The Art of Oboe Playing, Sprenkle/Ledet
    Bozza Etudes
    Rothwell Oboe Technique

    -best wishes,

    Lori Olson-Putz

    I also grew up on the Gekeler Books and still like them for tone study. When I was a young player on both the oboe and the bassoon, there simply wasn’t that many of us running around in high school or the small college I attended. I remember that one of the best rewards for doing my studies well was my teachers offering to play duets. I listened and matched their tones, intonation, and interpretation. That is one of the reasons I still pull out the Rubank series for both instruments, no matter what level. They too love to play duets and I notice that they feel the same rewards AND they pick up things that we really just need to hear. Questions come up there that just don’t appear in some etude work.

    Lori Olson-Putz
    dual player

    John Towle

    Also recommended:

    360 Daily Exercises for Oboe after Fritz Kroepsch adapted by Stevens Hewitt (essential)

    Ernest Loyon 32 Etudes pour hautbois ou saxophone (one of John Mack’s favorites “advanced”)

    Oboe Scales for Reading by Christopher Weait (terrific for taking boredom out of routine scale practice & improving sightreading at the same time)

    Luft Etuden Edition Peters Nr. 2963 24 Etudes (great for building technique/foundation)

    Method for Oboe by Stevens Hewitt (much oboe & ensemble wisdom. To paraphrase Sir Francis Bacon, a book which should be “chewed & swallowed.”)

    The books by Stevens Hewitt are available from him. He will mail them to you from Philadelphia.
    Christopher Weaitt’s two scales books are for bassoon & oboe. He will mail them to you from Ohio.
    Marcia Stearns of the Bookmark in Pacific Grove, California will order the Loyon & the Luft & then mail them to you. It takes a while to get them from the publisher.

    Stevens Hewitt
    614 65th Avenue
    Philadelphia, PA 19126-3821

    Christopher Weait
    272 Longfellow Avenue
    Worthington, Ohio 43085-3021
    Email: chrisweait@aol.com

    Marcia Stearns
    307 Forest Avenue
    Pacific Grove, CA 93950
    email: marcia@bookmarkmusic.com


    john towle


    I would love to get hold of a copy of “360 Daily Exercises for Oboe after Fritz Kroepsch adapted by Stevens Hewitt” having recently started to play my oboe again. I feel I am startig from scratch after 15 years!
    The other book recomended is Daily Excercises for Oboe – Maquarre-Hewitt.
    Any help in locating these books or some basic (interesting!) practice material most appreciated.

    Lynne Mangan Flegg

    Hi Jill:

    On my website, I’ve posted some brief articles on oboe method books for beginners, intermediate, and advanced oboists. I’ve described several of the books that people have listed above. You might want to check out the descriptions of the books I’ve listed in “intermediate” and “advanced” categories. I’ve also listed the publisher information for each book.
    overview article: http://www.oboeweb.com/2007/09/03/recommended-oboe-method-books/
    intermediate: http://www.oboeweb.com/2007/09/07/recommended-intermediate-oboe-method-books/
    advanced: http://www.oboeweb.com/2007/09/07/recommended-advanced-oboe-method-books/

    For students similar in skills to what it looks like you have, I tend to use the articulation etudes and 40 progressive melodic etudes in the early part of the Barret book, and supplement with several other exercises based on the student, such as:

    Melodious Etudes for Oboe by Bordogni: these are vocal exercises that have been transcribed for oboe. They’re not terribly technical in nature – perhaps a little easier than some of the Barret 40 Progressive Melodic etudes. It is perfect for teaching students how to pay close attention to phrasing, and to make convincing phrasing decisions. The etudes work well on both oboe and English horn. I just discovered it last year, and it’s been added to my personal regular practice rotation of etudes (along with Barret, Ferling, Prestini, Debondue, Salviani and Gillet.)

    Salviani oboe method, volume 2: scale based exercises that are both technical and lyrical in nature. It makes good sense to start students on phrasing in the Barret articulation exercises, then apply the same phrasing structure and articulation styles with the Salviani studies.

    Debondue etudes: see this terrific article describing each of the Debondue etude books from the IDRS Journal, written by James Lakin: http://www.idrs.org/Publications/DR/DR1.3/oboe.html
    My personal favorite to invest in is the 24 Melodic Etudes book, but the 32 Etudes and 25 Etudes are also terrific books.

    Andraud Practical and Progressive Method: ditto what Nancy said above! A treasure trove of great information.

    Scales and Arpeggios by Ian Denley: a book of major, minor, and whole-tone scales, including broken thirds and arpeggios. This is a great, inexpensive resource for getting students to memorize those patterns.

    Prestini etudes: these are terrific for those who need a bit of technique work, including up in the high Eb/E/F range. These aren’t as hard as some of the Gillet technical exercises.

    Vade Mecum (some etudes in here are particularly helpful for students learning English horn… for example, some of the lyrical etudes that have a lot of large leaps and slurs.

    Gillet etudes: the scale-based “Exercises pur la Technique Superieure du hautbois” (Exercises for Advanced Oboe Technique) is very good for somewhat advanced intermediate-level players. The “20 Minute Etudes” requires further advanced technical skills. The challenging “Etudes pur l’enseignement superieur du hautbois” (i.e. “Studies for the Advanced Teaching of the Oboe”) includes a practice method. A player will need to have enough technical and musical facility to have mastered Ferling etudes before getting to this Gillet book.

    All that said, two caveats to consider:

    First, I tend to be a little skittish of expecting non-performance major students to initially buy four or five different etude books – especially if they’re very expensive. I’d rather them buy two books initially (usually Barret and Salviani, or Barret and Denley if they need less technically-demanding scale based etudes – substitute Gekeler 2 for Barret if money is an issue). I’ll occasionally loan them copies of some of the books listed above if they contain specific studies that will compliment their skill development. Then, students can save their money for good reeds/reedmaking supplies, CDs, and solo literature!

    Another thing to keep in mind is the age of your students. You might want to be careful about using Rubank books, as they tend to be viewed by many players as pre-college etude books. Both Rubank Advanced Book One and Advanced Book Two contain a great deal of outstanding content for early college players, including many etudes by Barret, Niemann, and Brod. However, because many students first start oboe lessons using Rubank Elementary Oboe Method books, there is a little bit of a “kiddie book” stigma I’ve noticed that older students have towards anything Rubank. It’s never a bad idea to be a little cautious about assigning something that could make a student feel somewhat embarrassed or insulted because they perceive a book as remedial – even if the content is appropriate for early-advanced players.

    Personally, I prefer use Gekeler Method Two for older students who haven’t played Barret yet and/or aren’t ready to invest in the expensive Barret book. Gekeler volume 2 seems more appropriate than Rubank for more mature students, and it contains both the first forty progressive Barret etudes and some terrific technical exercises that go up to high F6! Thanks to those exercises in the back half of the book, people don’t look at this book and think it’s a “kiddie book”.

    For complete oboe beginners, I use Gekeler One for all ages (with several edits of the text and musical suggestions). I then move to a specifically selected intermediate book based on a student’s needs before advancing to Gekeler Two for the majority of intermediate to early-advanced students. Because of the hard technical etudes in Gekeler Two, I don’t notice a similar “kiddie book” stigma associated with Gekeler Two, no matter the age of the student.

    Best regards,
    Lynne Marie Flegg

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