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Author: ptarmiganfeather 
Date:   2013-01-18 22:30


I have a question. As an adult amateur, what should my goal be? Is there a set of songs that I should be able to play?

As I creep closer to my 40's, having a recital is not something I have in mind. But I would like to play at a certain higher level, and maybe have some songs to pull out of the hat when family visits or for holidays. I would also like to continue lessons, but have a goal in mind.

There is weekly community band practice, and with a concert every 3 months or so. Rehearsal is a great way to just tune out, no pun intended. I also play in church, but that is repetitive, with the occasional special.

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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 Re: Goal?
Author: oboi 
Date:   2013-01-19 05:22

Each goal is personal? It all depends what you want to get out of your music.

I'm an adult amateur, with the hopes of one day being at least semi-pro, so I go about my oboe-ing with an intensity more than most others. I'm actually working towards a solo recital, and so, balancing between work and music is going to be a challenge. I have a lesson every week and I play in a community orchestra. However, since that isn't enough challenge (since most other amateurs treat it like a casual hobby), I got involved in some chamber music, hopefully finding people to do pretty advanced stuff. So, for me, my lessons are structured as if I was a music student.... with the amount of time I can dedicate to it obviously less. So, technique, technical studies, etudes and pieces everyday (doesn't happen realistically, though). As soon as I work on these, I improve. The weeks where I just play through orchestra stuff without working on those other things, no improvement.

My other amateur friend is in a similar predicament. While for him, music being just a very very serious hobby with no desire (anymore) to become pro, orchestra wasn't enough, so he endeavoured to seek out other advanced musicians to play and sound, as he says, "like a pro". His goal is to continually get as skilled as he can. He's created this amateur society in order to find the people at the level desired and a venue for us to perform. Finding opportunities is key.

Others I know have lessons and are content with orchestra. Skill levels varying. Some do the occasional chamber music gig. Even those that are intermediate level at best have actually found a niche in getting asked to play in non-paid gigs (even doing things like Messiah or guest player in orchestra). Having your name out there helps and being a rarity like an oboist increases your chances of getting fun gigs to do.

Others barely have time to practice and just go to orchestra for a bit o' music and socializing.

I've probably gone off topic now.... ha. But I think, if band and church isn't enough of a challenge to you anymore, try to form a chamber group. Now that is some really meaty music. Ask your teacher for advice and if you want a challenge, let him/her know to structure your lessons as such. Have a piece or two that you are working up to performance level. Does your teacher have student recitals? If you were to work up a sonata, is there an opportunity for you to perform it at church, etc.? Are there any amateur music festivals you can go to? One thing that has definitely allowed me to get better is to have a goal and a teacher to enforce those goals. For example, my piano playing has gone south because I don't have lessons in that anymore, and nothing to drive me to get better and better each week. As soon as I found myself in a chamber group or some event to perform at, I immediately got better. Now I don't have anything again and just play at random.

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 Re: Goal?
Author: JRC 
Date:   2013-01-19 12:41

I met a couple of professional oboe players from New York, both thirty something years old. They played in a festival pickup orchestra. We had beer after the concert talking oboe and music. I told them that I played professionally for over 10 years in my younger days before I took up other profession for living for many decades, and now I am retired, I took up oboe again.

One looked at me funny and said: "You willingly return to playing oboe again? I cannot wait until I retire so I do not suffer this thing any more." The other said: "I look for any opportunity to play the oboe; with amateurs, pros, singers, strings, flutes, oboes..., anyone who is willing."

You asked for a goal. It should be obvious for you: you play to enjoy yourself and enjoy music with someone else. If you need a goal to push yourself to be playing the oboe, perhaps playing oboe is not for you.

If you need music to play, go through IMSLP website (<www.imslp.org>). You will find more etudes, solo, duets, ... than you would know what to do with. Look through "methods". You will find dozens of methods written for oboe. Every single of them has many many etudes for all different skill levels; from beginners to very skilled professionals. They are wonderful pieces of music. Mastering them one at a time will be wonderful enjoyment. Try this! If you do not enjoy it as much as you thought, move on...

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 Re: Goal?
Author: GoodWinds 2017
Date:   2013-01-19 15:54

I'm a 'sub-professional' (I substitute for professional players and occasionally get paid to play in community settings) and my goal is to play competently enough to start beginners off on the right foot (teaching) and to enjoy making music for and with others.

I know that's REALLY generic, but with 12 years of Lyme disease under my belt, it's enough for me.


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 Re: Goal?
Author: rothko 
Date:   2013-01-19 17:23

what songs would you *like* to be able to play? i think as long as i'm having fun, that's good enough for me.

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 Re: Goal?
Author: GoodWinds 2017
Date:   2013-01-19 19:19

I do some Firling, Vade-Mecum, but generally I stick with classical music, small ensemble (trio, quintet), pit orchestra (which is plenty challenging at times). For solos I prefer Schmann and the baroque masters. I sub in the local symphony so will work hard in preparation if it's technical; mostly I aim for a beautiful sound and a good blend with other players.

And I really enjoy fine-tuning my homemade reeds.

I don't ever expect to earn my living playing the oboe; I'd rather enjoy it than for it to become a 'chore'. I know I'm not competitive (for full-time symphony work) but that's fine with me.


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 Re: Goal?
Author: ptarmiganfeather 
Date:   2013-01-19 19:23

Really my favorite is Handel oboe concerto in g minor. That is the song that first hooked me on the oboe sound. I got it on a tape maybe in 1991.

I have a copy, and play it, but not well yet. Most important is it is enjoyable to play. You guys are right, it is all about having fun. I don't torture myself, by any means.

The opportunity is there - just this week I was invited to participate in a local group to play some quartets.

Thanks everyone for responding. I really appreciate the feedback.

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 Re: Goal?
Author: jhoyla 
Date:   2013-01-20 11:23

I play amateur orchestras and the occasional pit-orchestra gig, but my REAL fun is playing wind quintets - Flute, Oboe Clarinet, Bassoon, French Horn. We're all more-or-less at the same level of playing and we try to meet every two weeks for a couple of hours.

Recently we teamed up with an excellent pianist for the Poulenc sextet. Such fun! We're nowhere near performance standard yet, but we'll get there ..


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