Tuesday, August 21, 2018

OBOE MUSIC for Beginners (Part One) – A review of Oboe Tutor Books

An oboe
An oboe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I began to play the oboe back in the late 1950’s, my teacher started me off with Otto Langey’s book, The Oboe. Although not ideal oboe music for beginners it was all that was available. Since that time a number of alternatives have become available, - some are learning methods and some are books of pieces for young players.

As an experienced player and teacher of the oboe, I have used a variety of material in oboe lessons over the years; - some of it is still available and some not. In this article, I will review the books that I have found particularly helpful and which, to the best of my knowledge, are still available today.


“A Tune a Day for Oboe” When I first began to teach in about 1972 this was the book most widely used, indeed it was one of the very few books of oboe music for beginners around at the time. It is still available although not used as often as it used to be. It is a fairly comprehensive book made up of a part tutor, part study book, and part easy pieces. The order in which the notes are introduced is a little questionable in my view but there is a nice balance of exercises and tunes used for each new note or technique introduced. The tunes selected are a mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which is good. Some of the tunes in the first half of the book are in duet form, with a second part for the teacher to play. Some of the later music is arranged in duet or trio form for a group of students to play. “A Tune a Day” does have quite a lot to commend it but I always found it a slightly dull book, both for student and teacher.

“Learn as you play oboe” This book dates back to 1980 and quickly took over from “A Tune a Day” as the most used of the oboe tutor books. There were a few others which cropped up at about that time as I remember, but they quickly sank without trace. The approach of this book was fairly similar to “A Tune a Day” but with the addition of three sets of Concert Pieces for which piano accompaniments could be purchased. These pieces quickly found themselves on to the Associated Board syllabus at appropriate grades. This book was followed up by a book of First Repertoire Pieces (with piano accompaniments) which also found their way on to the exam boards. My assessment of this book is very similar to that of A Tune a Day in that it is rather dull and uninspiring. Also, the sequence in which the notes are taught is not entirely to my liking.

“Team Woodwind” I am not, and never have been a fan of any kind of band method. It is a concept which does not sit easily with me. I have included this book in my appraisal of oboe music for beginners as I know that some teachers like this particular approach or are pushed into it by circumstances. I have always believed that we begin by working in like-instrument groups (i.e. - with other oboes) before branching out when we are ready into woodwind ensembles and, later, bands and orchestras. Putting different woodwind instruments together too soon I feel is a mistake! “Team Woodwind” is a well-produced book with a reasonable collection of material but it is not for me.


“Abracadabra Oboe” When it came on the market back in 1990, Abracadabra Oboe was the book I had been waiting for since beginning to teach. The sequence in which the notes are taught is absolutely spot-on and the balance between learning material and tunes is excellent. There is also a very good balance between known tunes and the unfamiliar. The only shame is that this book did not materialize 20 years sooner. Material from this book has, not surprisingly, been adopted by the exam boards for the earlier grade exams too which makes it an ideal choice for beginner oboe players.

The three key issues in any oboe tutor must be:

1) The introduction of notes and techniques must be in a logical and helpful order.

2) The layout must be attractive to the eye of the beginner oboist.

3) Most important of all, the book must inspire and motivate young oboists to practice and, therefore, progress.

So, when assessing oboe music for beginners, in my personal opinion, based on many years of both playing and teaching, Abracadabra does all these three things in a way which no other oboe tutor does and provides an ideal starting point for anyone who wishes to learn to play the oboe.

Robert Hinchliffe is a professional oboist, composer, teacher, conductor, and music director. This article is based upon over 35 years of both playing and teaching the oboe. If you have found this article interesting and would like to know more about the oboe, please visit http://www.oboeplaying.co.uk.




Monday, August 20, 2018

GEMEINHARDT FLUTES and the Historical Evolution of the FLUTE

Gemeinhardt is the world's largest exclusive maker of piccolos and flutes, making musical instruments for all level players from beginning students to professionals. Kurt Gemeinhardt was born in Germany and served as an apprentice to his father, also a flute maker. In fact, Kurt Gemeinhardt was a fourth generation flute maker. It is no wonder that Gemeinhardt has had a significant influence on the evolution of the flute in the 20th century.

In 1928 Kurt moved to Elkhart, Indiana, America's mid-20th century capital for musical instrument production. In 1948 he opened his own manufacturing plant called The Gemeinhardt Company. Gemeinhardt specialized in all-silver flutes, and in 1952 the plant had to be expanded to accommodate orders. Later, Gemeinhardt also made entry level flutes and other intermediate models.

In the late 1990s, Gemeinhardt acquired Roy Seaman Piccolo Company, which was famous for its handmade granadilla wood piccolos that are in demand from professionals the world over. Today, Gemeinhardt makes a range of flutes, including piccolos, student, intermediate, and professional flutes, bass flutes, and alto flutes.

The company is now part of a parent organization, Gemstone Musical Instruments, also based in Elkhart Indiana. Gemstone makes and distributes every level flute under a variety of names, including Gemeinhardt, which has a long reputation as a company that makes excellent flutes with beautiful intonation.

You can still occasionally find a hand-crafted Gemeinhardt flute from the 1960s - some of them made by Kurt Gemeinhardt himself. These are amazing instruments, many of which feature an open hole design, which allows for a richer, more lush tone. Anyone lucky enough to find a solid silver open hole flute from the 1960s will pay several thousand dollars for it, but in addition to its inherent quality and craftsmanship, it will have a long history to go with it, and might just have been held in the hands of the great Kurt Gemeinhardt himself.



Saturday, August 18, 2018

FLUGELHORN Tips - Make Good Music With a Quality FLUGELHORN

English: Rotary valves in a flugelhorn. EspaƱo...
Rotary valves in a flugelhorn.
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Originally used to summon army wings, the flugelhorn is at present an important instrument for creating jazz, popular, and brass band music. This brass wind instrument closely resembles a trumpet and saxophone, but its bore is wider and more conical. Likewise, while it shares the same B-flat pitch of most trumpets, the flugelhorn is more adapted for producing more mellow music as compared to the trumpet's bright and aggressive tone.

Flugelhorn tips for buyers

Depending on your level of expertise, you can choose from different types of flugelhorn of various quality and price ranges. In general, however, flugelhorns are more expensive than trumpets. New students are advised to first buy a trumpet to practice on before switching to a flugelhorn. This switch should be easy given the two instruments' similarities with regards to playing style. If money is not a problem though, beginners can opt for a student grade flugelhorn which can set them back by an average of $700.

Regardless of the type of flugelhorn, you intend to buy, make sure that you try each one before making a purchase. This would help you get a good feel of the horn, especially if you are choosing between horns of different bore sizes. Flugelhorns with small bores play differently from those with larger bores and trying one of each would help you asses which one is better for you.

More flugelhorn tips

Aside from flugelhorn tips on buying a good instrument, it also pays to heed advice on how to play the horn. The best way to learn the instrument is to take classes from a professional player. Likewise, it is advisable to buy some CDs and other audio materials that feature the flugelhorn being played by renowned artists such as Frank Fezishin and Rachel Woolham.

Aside from listening to recorded albums, you must also try to watch live performances where the horn is played. You can attend jazz concerts or brass band recitals. The flugelhorn is also sometimes used for orchestra, so you can likewise check such productions.




Friday, August 17, 2018

A Good MUSIC TUDOR Will Never Go Hungy!


If you are a musician, and interested in teaching, then you will never go hungry! There is always a want for tutors - people will always want to learn music and need the guidance of someone else... you!

Ask one hundred random people, and chances are that the large majority will have an interest in singing, or playing some sort of musical instrument. Whether they enjoy singing or playing, once you ask a little deeper you'll find that a large percentage of this number have at some stage sought the guidance of a tutor.

While the music industry booms, so will the need for tutors. Some people will always aspire to recreate the sounds that they love to hear, others enjoy the relaxation that playing can bring, and some even aim to write their own number one hit. Tutors will always be needed to help get wannabe musicians rocking.

There's another reason why savvy tutors will always find employment and a comfortable income. They know that the process of learning a musical instrument helps a growing child realize a few of life's lessons - practice really does make perfect, and like the date of a recital, a deadline always needs to be planed towards and constant action taken to complete the assignment well, and on time.

Mindful parents are also aware of this, and if they're not, they probably soon will be as the wise tutor advises about the positive benefits of learning the discipline to work at something. The instrument may be slightly irrelevant in the long run, but the lessons learned are completely transferable.

It is possible to earn a good living from doing something as enjoyable as teaching. And you'll find various articles and tips on achieving the best of this career on the net.



Thursday, August 16, 2018

Types Of DRUMS Based On Your Musical Genre

A standard drum set: Ride cymbal Floor tom Tom...
A standard drum set: Ride cymbal Floor tom Toms Bass drum Snare drum Hi-hat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The components of your drum kit may vary greatly from that of any other drummer based upon the genre in which you play as well as your personal preferences and financial resources. Transportation issues may also play a part since you need to have a vehicle large enough to transport the drum set, and the more equipment that you have, the more room it will need for transportation. The venues where you perform may also have a bearing on the components of your set. If you are continually playing small clubs, the stage may not be large enough to accommodate a large number of drum components, so in spite of your genre and personal preferences, you may need to reduce your drum kit out of necessity.

Throughout history, using two bass drums has been a normal part of the drums for jazz bands, but recently many drummers, especially those in the hard rock and heavy metal genres have used dual bass drums. Since the 1980s it has been commonplace for drummers to use electronic drums either individually or as part of a standard drum set. Sometimes cowbells, gongs, tambourines, and other percussion instruments are also utilized in drum kits. A drummer may also have his own personal preferences in spite of those dictated by his genre, and therefore, creating a sound that is slightly different from every other performer in that genre. Some drummers also choose both snares and toms, and though they may not use them on every song, they become part of the drum kit to be utilized whenever needed or desired.

Though genre sometimes indicates the type of drums that are included within a kit, there is no hard and fast rule on it, In fact, even hard and heavy metal bands sometimes tone down a few songs on a CD, and thus the need does not exist for the harder sounds. Even some rock and roll bands from the past who had hard-hitting drum sound occasionally slowed it down through the use of just a bass or snare, allowing the guitars to carry most of the musical sound. After all, when you're talking about a ballad, you may not want the hard-hitting drum sound, but just a slow beat and occasional cymbal sound is all that is necessary.

The key to knowing what you need in your drum kit is in the type of music you will play, the venues where you will be performing, your budget, and your transportation resources. Personalize your kit based upon what you can transport and the size of the stages where you will perform rather than what you feel you should have or what you want. Even if you can afford it, it's senseless to buy something you can't use except for practice.