How to Blow an Oboe Reed

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How to Blow an Oboe Reed

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The Oboe is a member of the woodwind family that is in the soprano range. The instrument is played with a double reed, which features two curved, dried cane pieces that form a gap in between for air to travel. The sound created is expressive and takes a great deal of breath and air control to play correctly. Often, oboes are played out of tune because musicians have improper posture and mouth formation. The breathing and blowing techniques take practice, but, once mastered, control the volume and sound quality.


Practice proper posture. Sit up straight in your practicing chair, with your shoulders back so they are aligned with your hips. The position should feel comfortable and natural--not too stiff.


Breathe from your diaphragm. This muscle is located underneath your ribcage and helps with air support during play. Put your hand on your abdomen, then inhale. You should feel your stomach lifting with each breath. If you don't feel your stomach rise, adjust your breathing until you are breathing properly.


Bring the oboe to your mouth to play, in your comfortable, erect position. Do not bring your head down to the instrument.


Place the oboe reed into your mouth. Your mouth should form an "awh" shape that creates a seal; this is called your embouchure. You should play with as little reed in your mouth as possible to prevent the oboe sound from falling out of tune and to avoid loud vibrations. To create high notes, more of the reed will need to be placed into your mouth. Curl your lips under as more reed goes into your mouth.


Blow into the oboe by keeping the tongue away from the reed. Blow firmly from your abdomen, but gently, without blowing too hard to prevent an unwanted sound. The tip of your tongue should remain close to the reed without touching so your tongue is prepared to trill. Do not fill your cheeks with air as you blow into the oboe.


Adjust the angle as needed to find a comfortable spot for playing; every oboe player has her own preference. In order to create a full sound, your lips should be aligned around the reed.


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