Date: 2021-07-06 22:53
I agree with most of what oboist2 said, but I disagree about breathing deeply.
I find that with full lungs, the amount of work I have to do with the diaphragm is decreased, in the same way as (I use this analogy with students) imagining how hard you have to squeeze a tube of toothpaste to get some to come out. When the tube is full, you only have to press lightly, but when it is 3/4's empty, you really have to scrunch up the tube pretty hard to get something out. With full lungs, only moderate diaphragm pressure is required to get good support.
I believe that "support" can be equated with "fast air," similar to what you get (here's another analogy I use) with a can of compressed air. The width of the can is wide, but the opening that the air exits is very tiny, which means the air under pressure shoots out at great speed. With oboe playing, your lungs and diaphragm pressure are equivalent to the can, and your lips are equivalent to the tiny opening of your embouchure. When you blow hard, the air shoots out at great speed, which keeps the reed vibrating.
Make sure to keep your throat open at all times...your throat should always be as open as if you were yawning. That way, the power from your lungs is not impeded by a constricted throat.
When your embouchure is more open, the reed can vibrate wider and produces a louder sound. When you want to play softly, pinch the lips tightly to reduce the opening of the reed. Be careful to keep the teeth away from the reed, as the hard tooth material will shut down reed vibration. All closure of the reed must be done with the facial muscles, but the teeth must always remain as open as if you are trying to play a low Bb.
As an exercise, light a candle and place it across the room from you about 10 feet away. Take a standard drinking straw and try to blow out the candle from 10 feet away. In order to do it, you must tighten your lips, open your throat, push your diaphragm, and send very fast air across the room to blow it out. The feeling of pressure you have in your head, mouth, and throat while trying to blow out the candle is exactly what good support feels like.
Bay Area, California