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Bad tone? Check your posture!

It’s the Summer Semester here at the Gessner Oboe Studio! My students and I have been getting back into normal practice routines, reminding ourselves to write things in our music (like breath plans and alternate fingerings), and exploring posture again.

When I sit down to write these newsletters/blogs, I often notice that there are themes in my teaching from the week. This week’s theme among my beginners has been posture - so I'm going to share the experience that one of them had.

I met with a new student for the first time last week, and one of their areas of concern was tone. So we started tackling tone from the very first note they played, and the change that made the biggest difference for them was posture! This manifested in two ways for the student:

  1. Bring the oboe to the face, keeping the head over the neck

  2. Do less work with the embouchure and allow the air to be more free

The result was immediate: the student’s tone opened up, it was more steady and in tune (fewer wobbles and shakes), the sound was louder and projected more. They left the lesson feeling confident that they can identify the feeling of that good posture and start bringing it into their practice sessions.

It's remarkable what a difference just standing tall makes when tone is a concern. I think it's because tension creeps in when we allow ourselves to hunch over, and even the slightest hunch is audible when an oboist plays. (This is probably true for other instruments as well!)


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