Stacey Berk 

Stacey Berk, Associate Professor of Oboe
Department of Music

Office: NFAC 305
Office Phone: 715-346-3133
Fax: 715-346-3163


 Oboe Suggestions


  • Breathe deeply, but not too big
  • Abdomen, back and ribs should expand
  • Throat open, but not forced
  • Blow continuously while playing (don’t allow air to slacken between notes)
  • Use abdominal muscles and ribs compressing to blow fast air!


  • Head up  
  • Oboe about 45%
  • Arms relaxed, wrists straight
  • Fingers curved
  • Standing stance – knees slightly bent, avoid shifting weight


  • Shoulders/arms – be able to wiggle them independently while you play
  • Isolate abdominal muscles – keep everything else relaxed (neck/shoulders/hands)
  • Stretch your arms/fingers before and after you play


  • Corners In
  • Jaw open
  • Cushion the reed with lips – no biting!

Starting the sound

  • Inhale through mouth (relaxed – not forced)
  • Set embouchure
  • Place tongue on reed
  • Exhale (fast air!)
  • Release tongue to start the sound


  • Legato – continuous air
  • Tongue with the tip of the tongue just under the bottom blade of reed
  • Release of notes/phrases – Slow the air, don’t use tongue to stop notes


  • Practice scales slowly and accurately, then work on speed
  • Scales help you sight read and play music much more accurately
  • Practice scales and exercises in a variety of rhythmic/articulation patterns


  • Relax embouchure if sharp
  • Blow faster air if flat
  • Practice with a drone (tonic pitch) while you play scales and long tones


  • Always aim toward the important part of phrase 
  • Never let a line be stagnant – do something with it!


  • Use abdominal muscles to slow & speed the air stream
  • Keep throat and embouchure relaxed to allow for pitch change
  • Practice pulsing with a metronome so you can do a variety of speeds

Care of Instruments/Reeds

  • Always swab after playing
  • Soak reeds in water container – not your mouth
  • Warm up wooden oboes from the outside
  • Be very careful with reeds/keys