Oboist

Play the oboe in a professional orchestra or group.

What does an Oboist do?

An oboe is a small instrument with many keys and a big sound. Classical music Composers often choose oboes for their most delicate, transformative pieces, as the sound of the oboe can be heard above the din of the other instruments. An Oboist plays this delicate instrument.

An oboe uses two pieces of wood, called reeds, to produce sound. If you’re an Oboist, you make those reeds yourself. By engaging in this craft, as an Oboist, you have tight control over how your instrument sounds: You create thin reeds for loud passages and thick reeds for heavy passages.

Each day, you spend hours practicing your oboe. Playing fast passages over and over may drive your cat crazy, but it helps you commit those hard pieces of music to memory. Playing slow passages helps you practice holding your breath and playing warm, long notes.

You also participate in group practices with the rest of the orchestra members, and you listen closely to the Conductor to learn how you should play each piece. Sometimes, you play music that you’ve played before. Other times, you learn entirely new pieces. During these practices, you watch the music on the page, and keep your eyes on the Conductor for direction on speed and volume.

On the night of the performance, you dress in black clothing and you make sure you have several reeds on hand. Your orchestra may play with a Pianist, Guitarist, or other Soloist. Sometimes, you’re asked to be the Soloist. When you play well as an Oboist, you may be asked to perform the same piece with other orchestras, and even travel all around the world with your oboe.