I’m often asked why I recommend oboe students purchase an oboe method book for lessons. First, it is important to understand that band method books (such as the “Standard of Excellence”, “Yamaha Band Method”, and “Essential Elements” books) are completely different than oboe method books. They are designed for use in full band, but are not geared specifically to the educational needs of the new oboist. This is why many private instructors assign oboe method books to their students.
Band method books such as those mentioned above are excellent tools created for use in full band rehearsals. Designed to help all students on all instruments, they are paced so that the entire band can progress simultaneously. Since you have to make compromises to accommodate all instruments, these methods are not designed to teach skills and in the most logical manner on the oboe. These methods often start beginner oboists in complicated ranges of the instrument, and often leave out key fingering issues and notes that should be learned earlier in the musician’s development.
Therefore, I have my students work from a method book that is designed specifically for the technical development of the oboe player. These books help address oboe-specific issues for various skill levels. After meeting with a new student, I will assign a specific book to them based on how long they’ve played the oboe, their skill level, their age, and their musical goals.
As an instructor, I like to pair etudes (i.e. “studies”) in oboe methods with warm-up routines, scales, supplemental technical studies, solo literature, and chamber music. This strategy is employed for students of all skill levels and ages – from young students to those in college. Using this approach, I develop a specific program of study for each musician I work with.
While there are many terrific oboe method books available, I have developed my favorite list of Recommended Oboe Method Books that I use most often in my teaching of beginning, intermediate, and advanced oboe students.