Why Play the Oboe?

For some beginning band students, it’s hard to choose what musical instrument to play. Each band instrument has something intriguing to offer, whether it be what it is made of, the shape of the instrument itself, where that particular instrument section sits in the band, the sound that is produced when the musical instrument is played, and much more. So why play the oboe? There are many great reasons to play oboe in school band:

♦ Some say that the oboe is the one instrument that sounds more like a human voice than any other instrument in the band. It is often heard as the solo instrument in the most emotional sections of music.

♦ Oftentimes the oboe carries the melody with its lyrical and mournful color. The nasal tone of the oboe can give it an oriental quality that lends itself nicely to “exotic” or unusual passages of music.

♦ Oboe players get to sit in the front row of the band.

♦ The oboe is a small instrument, and the case is easy to carry just about everywhere.

♦ While learning any new musical instrument will have its challenges, the oboe is considered one of the more difficult ones to learn. However, just like every other instrument, practice is the key to becoming a great oboe player.

♦ Oboes are part of many of musical ensembles, including the symphonic band, orchestra, woodwind quintet, and other chamber music groups. Oboe is also heard in both jazz and popular music, and it is often used in movie and television soundtracks, due to its unique sound.

♦ Oboe-specific music is not as plentiful as some of the more popular instruments, like flute, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet, but since it’s in the key of C, like the flute, it doesn’t have to be transposed. Therefore, some flute music can be a substitute in a pinch.

♦ The oboe can be a challenging instruments to learn, but it is often in demand, and is used in playing some of music’s most beautiful solos. It also offers a great opportunity in getting scholarships to attend college/university.

♦ Once you’ve mastered the oboe, other woodwind instruments (like flute, clarinet and saxophone), will be easier to pick up, should you want to learn them.