Should I Encourage My Child to Learn to Play the Oboe?

The oboe is one of those instruments with a reputation. Despite its gloriously sweet, accessible tones, few people want to learn it. Why? Because it is known for being difficult. The technique required to play it is often termed ‘counter-intuitive.’ Reeds can be problematic. And over time, playing the oboe can be quite expensive.

So, when a child comes home, excited about joining the school band, any right-minded parent is going to be asking this one question: Should I encourage my child to learn the oboe?

Learning to play a musical instrument carries many benefits. But is the oboe worth the extra effort? Here’s what you need to know.

Things to Consider if Your Child Wants to Learn to Play the Oboe

1. Every instrument takes effort

OK, let’s just get this statement out of the way. Playing oboe is hard. It’s not like other woodwind instruments. It’s heavier, for one thing. For another, it requires a different fingering technique. And the way you hold the instrument in your mouth is considered more awkward too. BUT the thing to remember here is that all instruments need practice. And if you’re not already au fait with another woodwind instrument, the technique for playing an oboe will not feel quite so outlandish when you first take it up. So, while no one is going to tell you that playing the oboe is easy, it might not be as difficult as you think.

2. It’s all about the detail

The oboe isn’t for everyone. But then, neither is the snare drum or the trombone. Oboe players are known for their focus and attention to detail. If you have a child who is a natural problem-solver, someone who is curious about the world and likes to go into the detail of everything, then the oboe could be the perfect choice for them.

It’s said that everyone can play a musical instrument. It’s just a case of finding the right one for you. The same applies to the oboe. If you’re the right person, with the right attributes, it can be magical.

3. The oboe can be more expensive in the long-term, but…

Oboes typically have a lifespan of around 10-15 years. When you compare this with a trumpet that will last a good 50 years, or a well-made violin that can last a couple of centuries, it can seem like you’re letting yourself in for some serious expense. But there are a couple of things to remember here.

Firstly, your child is just starting out. Who knows if they’ll want to continue their musical career beyond high school. They may never want to purchase more than one oboe. And there’s always the option of oboe rental during their school years to help spread the cost. That way, you’re covered in the event of instrument loss or repair too. And there are rent-to-buy contracts available, as well as the opportunity to exchange or return your instrument if it simply doesn’t work out.

Secondly, if your child does pursue a musical career, oboists are among the most highly paid members of the orchestra. So, if they do need to replace their instrument every 10 years, they’ll have the money to do so.

4. Oboes are always needed

Because of their reputation, orchestras are always on the lookout for oboe players. Far fewer people learn to play the oboe than other woodwind instruments. This means that if your child becomes proficient and wants to play in an orchestra in later life, they are almost guaranteed a place.

5. Practice always pays

Lastly, this point applies to all musical instruments. But if your child decides to take up the oboe and is struggling, encouragement and daily practice will always have a positive result. There are no short cuts to becoming a virtuoso. But daily practice – there are tons of online tutorials that can help – a good teacher, and family support will always improve performance. And before too long, you’ll be hearing one of the most beautiful sounds of the orchestra under your own roof.

The oboe isn’t an easy instrument to play. But it’s not impossible either. And as one of the sweetest sounding instruments around, you won’t be sorry to have one in your home.

If you would like to find out more about renting an oboe from Rent From Home, get in touch today.