Shaq and the Oboe

Here’s my FAVORITE thing about that Shaquille O’Neal video everyone’s sharing this week – it’s how HAPPY he is playing this silly game and how little he CARES what the oboe actually SOUNDS LIKE or how to play it.

Almost as if the oboe is not a giant obstacle to overcome.
Instead of focusing on the CRAFT of the instrument, the precise fingerings, the quality of the sound, the finesse of the vibrato – his focus is on DELIVERING the SONG.   It’s on COMMUNICATION, not perfection.
What a LIBERATING concept!
When I am playing my best, I find that I can surpass the STRUGGLE and come to a place where my focus is on communication.   I can sing through the instrument, and I can use that voice to reach out and find someone else.  This is really what being In the Zone means for me – it’s when I don’t have to engage with the OBOE and instead can be generous with my VOICE for the audience.
I seek and strive for this Zone all the time – it’s the whole point of practicing! I practice long tones and scales, I study scores and learn my solo parts not to be diligent, but so that when it counts I have the best possible chance of breaking through into the TRANSCENDENT part of music making, the part where I’m communicating from soul to soul.
Do you need to have a handle on the CRAFT of the oboe to find that Zone?
Shaq’s delightful example aside, I do think it helps. Having great control of your AIR, your EMBOUCHURE, your TECHNIQUE, your TENSION, your REEDS, your INSTRUMENT, and the piece you’re playing puts the conditions in place for you to free up your musicianship. For you to SING and MAKE MUSIC and COMMUNICATE.
Have you heard?   I’m opening a ten-week online group coaching program for oboists who are ready to get past the struggle so they can find their voices and their Oboe Zone through the instrument. 
The Invincible Oboist will begin on February 2, 2020, and I’m screening applicants now.  If you’re curious, you can Book a Call with me and we’ll see if you’re a good fit for the program!

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