Turning Oboe Lemons into Lemonade

Playing the oboe isn’t easy.

Reedmaking isn’t always easy either. So how do you stay focused and know if you are really making progress, or just spinning your wheels?

It’s funny, because this is something I always notice in hindsight. Usually at the time in question, I either feel incredibly overworked or just plain discouraged. I feel like I am trying hard, but not getting anywhere.

It happened a lot more when I was a student, and now that I am in the “real world,” I actually look forward to it happening every so often, because then I know that my hard work is paying off.

So, what in the world am I talking about?

I am sure you have been there, but maybe you just didn’t recognize it at the time.

It’s that oboe audition you just don’t win, or that recital that just doesn’t go as well as you thought it would or should. It’s hard to get over those times when you feel like you are moving in “oboe reverse,” but those are the times you just have to pick yourself up and get going again. In fact, those are the times that give you the largest opportunity for growth and advancement.

The times that are toughest are actually pure gold. It is during those times that you are learning the most and making more progress than ever.

Now you can view those instances as depressing events, or you can see them as the ultimate springboard for moving your oboe playing to the next level.

I agree that the feeling of rejection or disappointment is not pleasant, and I definitely wouldn’t say I look forward to it, but I DO look forward to what comes after… getting grounded again, finding new things that are fun and exciting to work on and figuring out a way to solve the new challenges I have just faced.

It’s all a matter of perception, like so many things in life. When being an oboe player is all lemons, find a way to make lemonade.

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