Oboe or clarinet?

(14 Posts)
BusinessMummyuk Mon 11-Aug-14 14:46:17

I have 2 boys who both play piano. Youngest (7) has just taken and passed grade 2. Eldest is also having saxophone lessons for the last year, and youngest is chomping at the bit for a 2nd instrument too. I have told him he can't until he has passed his G3 piano, which will probably be next summer. He loves the idea of a 'blowing' instrument; our house is attached so I can't allow brass instruments therefore we have settled on oboe or clarinet. I read that oboe is far more difficult to master; is that the case? Is there anyone out there who can advise on this categorically so I can begin to steer accordingly? Thanks.

LIZS Mon 11-Aug-14 14:50:31

Oboe is a much harder technique to master readily so can be discouraging for a while. Also very prone to breakage and ideally left a few more years for teeth. tbh Brass is no worse for practice and at least you can use a mute.

Wafflenose Mon 11-Aug-14 17:07:33

I would say clarinet, but am VERY biased. They are a bit cheaper and quieter, and great fun.

However, I teach a boy who started the oboe in Year 3 and is doing brilliantly - possibly going to have a shot at the National Children's Orchestra this year. If your DS2 chooses the oboe, he is bound to be in great demand later on, and possibly find it easier to obtain orchestral places than yet another clarinettist.

AlpacaMyBags Mon 11-Aug-14 17:10:54

Clarinets sound better during the beginning stages. But as a PP said, an oboe would make him much more in demand in orchestras.

Wafflenose Mon 11-Aug-14 17:20:02

Also, not all of my clarinettists sound amazing to start with. A few of them squeak a lot!

angelcake20 Mon 11-Aug-14 18:58:40

Ds has been playing the oboe as a second instrument for a year now. It is the instrument he always wanted to do but it wasn't offered at our primary until year 5. I was very supportive of his choice as, having been a clarinettist, I have been in favour of less common instruments in general (out of 90 girls in my school year, 16 were playing the clarinet in year 7 and 8 kept it up to year 11 so our orchestra was rather clarinet heavy). Having sounded rather like a bagpipe for a while, he is now making quite a pleasant noise and has progressed well. However, it is physically hard work to play and much harder to play in tune, the reeds cost 5 times as much as clarinet reeds and often aren't up to scratch (according to his teacher) and I dread the expense of having to buy an instrument in the not too distant future, so I was heard to say to his teacher at his recent exam that I thought we probably ought to have just gone with the clarinet. My perception is, at least round here, that there are not so many clarinets these days (the girls largely choose flute). I would also say that the oboe is louder, or at least more piercing, than dd's horn. However, ds still enjoys it and practises more enthusiastically than for his first instrument and likes the distinction of doing something a bit different so I'd ultimately go with whichever he is more enthusiastic about.

RaspberryLemonPavlova Mon 11-Aug-14 21:28:26

Don't rule out brass, let him choose what he wants. I'm sure DD makes just as much noise on her sax as the my DSs do on their trombone. Limit practise to a sensible time each day. They can't play long at first anyway until they get their lip.

There are lots of clarinets at the DCs secondary, but to be honest they are so different you need to let him choose for himself.

lavendersun Tue 12-Aug-14 10:22:05

I played the oboe to Grade 8. I was about 11 when I started, I would think that 7 was too young to be honest as it is not the easiest instrument to get going on. I would choose something else for now and review it in 2 or 3 years if he is interested at that time.

Noise for noise I would say that it is easily as potentially disruptive for any attached neighbours as any brass instrument ... but at some point, as long as any play is done considerately they would have to get over it, or buy a detached house.

feelingold42 Tue 12-Aug-14 17:54:28

Wafflenose what grade do they need to be on Oboe to try out for The National children's orchestra ?

Wafflenose Tue 12-Aug-14 19:58:42

Under 11s = Grades 3 to 6, so I suspect the new Under 10s will be quite a bit lower... 2-3 or 2-4 perhaps? The older orchestras will obviously require more.

feelingold42 Tue 12-Aug-14 20:51:15

Is under 11s 11 and under or once you are 11 is that under 12s ? sorry for all the questions ......x

Wafflenose Tue 12-Aug-14 21:24:12

Children hoping to get into Under 11s in 2015 must be 10 or less on 31st December this year.

DD1 is currently 8, but will turn 9 before Christmas, so this will be her only shot at the Under 10s.

BusinessMummyuk Wed 13-Aug-14 13:56:17

Interesting comments with food for thought - thank you; particularly with regard to brass vs woodwind volume considerations! I was aware of the cost issues with oboe but I do like the fact that there are fewer children playing it. At our school there seems to be strength in brass and saxophone, but clarinet/flute/oboe are under-represented. I'm sure that's probably not the case in other schools though.

Jealousbody Fri 15-Aug-14 13:53:47

Also consider the quality of the teacher available for each instrument.
A charismatic teacher with excellent technique will make a huge difference to how your child enjoys things / advances and the opportunities they might have.

Look about and see which teacher has consistently retained students into the higher grades or which teacher's children get lots of opportunities to play in orchestras, school events, fun things etc.

If child decides upon the oboe and the teacher is particularly good and has a succession of confident young players you might find the teacher encourages instruments to be passed down and potentially within your neighbourhood a local second hand market might exist for that instrument.
It's not uncommon for oboes to cost parents between £2k - £8k if the child become proficient and makes good progress.

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