Student Resources

Our advises and suggestions on reeds, instruments and practicing!


– The reed is what makes the oboe unique, and a working reed is essential for us to be consistent and creative. 

Students can contact us to purchase reeds. Please allow for 2 weeks notice.

Students can receive help with adjusting reeds, whether or over email, zoom, or in a private lesson.

We also recommend the following websites for student reed purchase: 

Double or Nothing Reeds

Midwest Musical Imports

Student reed making supplies:

Double or Nothing adjustment kit or reed making kit

Midwest Musical Imports

Please contact us if you have more questions!


As musicians, we are often only as good as our equipment, and there are many good beginner and intermediate models available in today’s market for all types of needs. 

We recommend the following brands and models for beginners:

  • The Howarth Junior (for smaller builds and smaller hands)
  • Howarth S20
  • Yamaha

We recommend the following brands and models for intermediate level students:

  • The Howarth S40 and S50 (they offer different types of materials, wood vs. synthetic)
  • K.Ge, Hybrid Academy 
  • Fox 330 or similar

For any of these, including professional level models, there are often used instruments available as well.   

Please contact us if you have more questions!


There are many different ways to learn a piece, and just as many different ways to approach getting better on your instrument. Here are just a few, and we’ll start with general fundamentals first, then discuss getting better at your specific passages of music:

Improving general skill:

Start with making sure your reed accepts your air, and that your air support is full and consistent. 

  • A simple breathing exercise without the reed and instrument can go like this:

Step 1: exhale, get rid of as much as air as you comfortable can

Step 2:

Inhale for 4 counts (about 1 second each or quarter note = 60), then exhale for 4 counts – as comfortably 

and fully as possible, both ways.  

Get comfortable with this, if at any point you feel light headed, stop and rest. 

Once you feel comfortable, you can add variation:

Inhale for 3, exhale for 6 counts.  

Inhale for 2, exhale for 8 counts. 

You might notice that your air should be moving slower on the exhale, and faster on the inhale by now!

Inhale for 1, exhale for 10 counts. 

Another variation is to play the reed for all the exhales in the above exercises, and inhaling like normal 

without the reed.

What should you be listening for when you practice long tones and scales? 

 Tone, Pitch, and Dynamics, among other things. 

What kind of tone do you want? Using a drone can be as helpful as a tuner, for pitch practice. And ask yourself to hear a difference between forte, mezzo-forte and piano, etc.

For scales, choose a clear tempo with a metronome, and try to play the notes with consistent lengths.

For all of the above, keep your air support consistent inside you, and consistent in the mouth and reed. 

Improving your pieces:

A general tip for practicing any difficult passage of music: find a way to make the music easier. This can involve:

Choosing a shorter section, even two or three notes to find the exact spot of difficulty. Then put it back in context. 

Playing it slower. For example if a group of 5 notes has to go very fast, play it all as half notes. Then quarter notes, 8ths, then triplets, and then 16ths. 

If it’s all tongued, play it all slurred. When the notes are even, and the tone sounds better, put the articulations back in. 

Make it easier so you can sound better, and then gradually put the difficulties back in. 

Sing your passages, as best you can. Even if you think you can’t sing, let your voice sound out the music, with any syllable, like “la, la, la” or counting the rhythms with numbers.

Sing it, play it, and sing and play it again. Your voice will teach your playing, and your playing will help your singing (at least a little bit). 

This works because you are gradually making the sound of the music clearer and clearer. The clearer the “sound picture” is in your ear, before you play it, the better the outcome. So, if you have access to a recording or two, even better.