Lynne Marie Mangan

Classical Musician and Educator


Arts Entrepreneurship

Almost all students who study classical music at the college level spend most of their time in practice rooms, studying music theory, learning about music history, and other important aspects that make up the traditional music program. The typical goals of classical music performance majors are to be a famous soloist, or a member of a prestigious (full-time) major symphony orchestra… perhaps carving out a career as a university teacher.

Too often, people don’t realize that very few musicians will achieve those lofty goals. This isn’t meant to be a downer. So many highly trained, skilled, and passionate musicians create a different path, finding a satisfying and rewarding career that may not be exactly what they envisioned as a young undergrad.

Personally, I believe it is an amazing time to be an artist. The ability to create and market our products, ideas, and talents is unlike any other time in history. We can collaborate and share across the globe. I am enthusiastic and passionate about arts entrepreneurship.

Over the coming months, I’ll be blogging here about many great success stories of people with degrees in fine and performing arts, and their interesting career paths. I hope that you will find these stories and ideas enlightening and inspiring.


IDRS 2014 Music Entrepreneurship Lecture

I am excited to announce that I have been asked to present a lecture at the International Double Reed Society Conference in August, 2014. My lecture is part of the “Wellness” series at IDRS 2014. The presentation is titled
Discovering Your Niche: Identifying and Creating Opportunities in the Music Business.

I’ll post more about the upcoming lecture as we approach the conference.



Eating Your Own Dog Food in the Music Business

There is a commonly used phrase in the business world: “Eat your own dog food.” It typically means that a company makes sure to use its own products, which will help validate how well the products work. Why use something that your competitor makes, or something that you are trying to make obsolete, when you can use your own product?

A classic example of “eating your own dog food” is how, in 1980, the CEO of a young company called Apple Computer sent out a memo to all staff saying (yes, in all caps), “EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY!! NO MORE TYPEWRITERS ARE TO BE PURCHASED, LEASED, etc., etc. Apple is an innovative company. We must believe and lead in all areas. If word processing is so neat, then let’s all use it! Goal: by 1-1-81, NO typewriters at Apple… We believe the typewriter is obsolete. Let’s prove it inside before we try and convince our customers.” (see this fascinating 1981 article from Inc. Magazine about Steve Jobs and Apple Computer).

How can we apply this concept to the arts?

I don’t want to make things “obsolete” – I believe the arts are inclusive. So I have a different take on eating our own dog food in the music business – or in the arts in general.
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Recommended Oboe Accessories

I’m often asked, “what tools and accessories do I need as an oboe player?” There are a myriad of tools and accessories – some are truly necessary, some are very helpful, and some are optional (depending on the skill level of the player). Below is a list of all of the tools I think most oboists need, and have included some notes on my favorite styles or brands of these products.

The best sources for these items are stores that specialize in supplying oboe and bassoon accessories. For a list of some terrific double reed specialty stores (which will ship your products by mail), visit this link: Resources for Oboists and Bassoonists.

Basic Supply List for Oboists: Every oboist, no matter the skill level, should have all of these tools and accessories!

  1. Water Container for Soaking Reeds: this is a must! It is absolutely necessary for oboists to soak their reed in water for at least 2-5 minutes before every practice session, rehearsal or concert. Soaking the blades of the reed in a small container will ensure the reed will vibrate properly. Soaking a reed in your mouth, or dipping it quickly in a water fountain, is not adequate. The reed will vibrate better, have less chance of cracking, and last longer if you soak it in a container! Many oboe supply stores sell this Tupperware Midget container with a clip attachement, allowing you to clip the soaking cup to your music stand.
  2. Oboe Reed Case: a good reed case will protect the delicate tips of your oboe reeds. I recommend “French style” (also often called “cigarette style”) cases. See this article with more details about styles and options for oboe reed cases.
  3. Swab: a silk oboe swab, such as this Gem double-ended silk swab, is important for keeping your instrument clean. Swab every time you finish playing your oboe! I personally swab my instrument several times during every playing session – approximately once every five to ten minutes! I recommend the double-ended pull-through style swabs, as they are less likely to get stuck if knotted.
  4. Cork Grease: An all-natural cork grease such as this Doctor Slick Cork Grease is less likely to dry out your tenon corks than petroleum-based cork grease. Grease your corks every couple of weeks, and whenever they feel dry or you have difficulty assembling or taking apart your instrument. This will keep the cork moisturized and less likely to tear.
  5. Cigarette Paper: Ungummed cigarette paper is extremely useful for cleaning the instrument. Use ungummed paper underneath pads to remove moisture. I always put a small piece under each of my octave keys every time I put my instrument away! Regular swabbing and use of cigarette paper keeps the “gurgles” away.
  6. Music stand: it’s impossible to practice with good posture without using a good music stand! See this article for some music stand recommendations.
  7. Metronome: every musician needs a metronome for practicing! Check out this article about metronomes and tuners.
  8. In-case humidifier (for wood instruments only): I really love the Humistat in-case humidifiers. Just fill it with water every few days, open the holes up, and stick it in your case (not inside the instrument bore itself!) Another option is the Dampit, which needs to be filled/soaked at least every other day. Despite the directions on the Dampit, NEVER put a Dampit into the bore of an oboe!
  9. Breath Builder: this is an optional, but highly recommended tool. The Breath Builder is a device which helps you breathe very deeply, expanding your lung capacity. I recommend this for wind instrument players of all skill levels!

Intermediate level-tools needed: all of the above plus:

  1. Tuner: a tuner is an essential tool for the intermediate and advanced-level player. Many good tuners also come with a metronome. For more detailed recommendations on what to look for in a tuner and/or metronome, click here.
  2. Screwdriver set: an oboe screwdriver set with different tips will give an oboist the ability to adjust all screws. Caution: make sure to get training on basic oboe adjustments before turning any screws! Oboe adjustments are very complicated, so proper training is very important.
  3. Key Oil: a needle-oiler like this makes key oil easy to apply on rods and joints. A few drops of oil in the right places every couple of months will keep your oboe’s mechanism working well.
  4. Case Cover or Oboe Bag: this is a terrific way to protect your instrument, carry your supplies and reeds, and sometimes even carry music. See this article about what to look for when considering oboe bags & case covers.

Helpful tools for the more advanced player:

  1. Instrument stands: many good quality instrument stands are available – just for oboe, just for English horn, or for both instruments. Look for a stand that is sturdy, but also easily portable.
  2. Spring Hook and Octave Vent Remover: these two tools are very useful for maintaining a good quality instrument. A spring hook is used to move springs during oboe repairs. An adjustable octave vent remover allows the oboist to remove vents for cleaning octave key holes. These tools should only be used by oboists who have been shown how to use them!

Special Accessories for English horn players include:

  • a neckstrap or English horn bell support peg – supports the weight of the instrument.

  • an accessory tray – hooks onto your stand for your water, reeds, cigarette paper, and swabs. This is especially useful when playing both oboe and English horn on the same concert!


Note-able Detroit Area Music Stores

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There are many wonderful stores in the metro Detroit area that provide supplies and sheet music for musicians. Below, I have highlighted several stores that are near my Farmington Hills studio. If you need oboe method books, tuners, metronomes, cork grease, a music stand, or other general woodwind supplies, I strongly recommend you support these local businesses!

Even if you are not in southeastern Michigan, if you play any instrument in the double reed family, you should know about TrevCo-Varner Music. Based in Dexter, TVM is the world’s largest retailer of sheet music for double reed instruments. The company is owned by a professional bassoonist with his Doctoral degree in music. The staff is all professional oboists and bassoonists, with many music degrees and over 50 years of combined experience as teachers and performers.

Woodwind players in the Detroit area should be aware of Flute World. Located in Farmington Hills on Orchard Lake Road north of 13 Mile Road, Flute World is known as one of the best flute and woodwind music suppliers in the United States. They have a good selection of many of our favorite oboe method books, and have an outstanding selection of woodwind chamber music. Tuners, metronomes, music stands, and other supplies for the musician are available. The friendly staff will be happy to order any music or supplies you need. I highly recommend that you check out their store!

The Broughton Music Center in downtown Northville is a nice music store which carries many general music supplies.

We are very fortunate to have a world-class oboe repairman in Ypsilanti. Ko Kaiden is outstanding at small repairs and major instrument issues. I have had him personally work on my instruments on multiple occasions, and recommend him highly.

Cameron’s Music is in Livonia, located on Middlebelt Road between Five Mile Road and Six Mile Road. They carry a very good supply of music and musical supplies, and they do instrument repairs.

Marshall Music is one of the major rental companies in southeastern Michigan. They carry a good supply of etude books and woodwind instrument supplies, and also provide repair services. They have several locations in Michigan.

Other fine stores in the metro area that provide basic music books and woodwind supplies include:

Looking for something your local store doesn’t carry There are several wonderful companies that cater specifically to oboists and bassoonists. These doublereed specialty stores carry reed cases, tools, accessories, gift items, and hard-to-find music. Links to several of my favorite doublereed companies are available here: Specialty Stores for the Oboist


Recommended Oboe Method Books

Barret Oboe MethodDeveloping technical skills and musicality is essential for every level of player. Selecting the best combination of tools to help guide and educate each individual student is something that takes a lot of careful thought and study – often more work than most students realize!

Each member of my studio is assigned an Oboe Method Book as part of their lesson plan. Oboe method books are assigned based on a student’s skill set, age, practice habits and goals.

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Why Use Oboe Method Books

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.

Gekeler Oboe Method vol 1Therefore, 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.