Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Oboe Scales in Thirds

Hey! I hope everyone out there is having a really great week...I've been so busy that I've barely had time to sit down, but I live by the saying that busy people are happy people. Today I wanted to show you an exercise that I've recently started doing with my students that puts everyone in a good mood. This is something that I did a lot of in college with my best friend (also an oboist) that did so much for the development of our sounds and ears. It's pretty simple, and it goes like this:

{via myself}

We call it Scales in Thirds. You can do it with any major scale, and we always do it slowly from memory. I normally teach them this using D major since it's the first scale they learn with me; I play the Oboe 2 part until they get comfortable with how it works and then we start switching off. When I first started doing this with kids there was a lot of giggling and smiling going on. They weren't giggling because it sounded funny, but because when you really do it with huge, vibrant sounds that have a ton of overtones going, it feels like your whole body is vibrating with happiness. It's a great way to start a lesson.

What I love about this exercise is that my students match my air speed and my tone quality without me having to even say anything. Their ears react, and they match me naturally. It works on intonation and the development of their ears in ensemble situations as well. Right now, we're using it to cement the "weird" scales. You know, the ones band directors don't necessarily think they need to know, like E, A or B. My students view it as a treat when they get to do this, and I get learned memorized scales.

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