I read a great book this week – Oboemotionsby Stephen Caplan. I was skeptical at first, because the oboe is such a niche market. I buy anything that says OBOE on it, because there is not much, and of course I find a lot of fluff. Because there is so little that is specific to my instrument, I am accustomed to reading sports psychology or marketing manuals and automatically translating the ideas in my mind for my own needs. Having all of the work done for me sort of felt a little cheap – like I wasn’t really having to think to learn.
That said, the book was terrific. All about the physicality of playing the oboe, and intelligent ways to think about what is going on inside one’s body. There were a few tweaks that I’ve been thinking about in my own playing – his approach to basic articulation is a little different from my own, for example, and I’ve been using this Mozart week to experiment – but mostly I was excited to have more ways to approach student problems. A lot of playing issues can be linked to tension, and I appreciate having new postural elements to look at and better words for what I already see.
I am always looking for ways to deepen my understanding of the oboe and to be a better teacher, and this book gave me both. I recommend it highly for oboe teachers and advanced students.