Rachel WhittedAP Lit CompMs. TilleryApril 18th 2012 Senior Project Speech Hello, my name is Rachel Whitted and this instrument is called an “oboe.” My senior projectgoal was to teach this young musician, Sydney Holden, how to play the oboe. Today we are face hard economic times and often education gets cut across the board, but oneof the first things to get cut in schools more often than not is music programs. Music is so important topeoples education and that is why in my research paper I addressed how important music education is,but how little attention our society regards its importance. I think the importance is really demonstratedin this quote from a former governor. He really understands the effects of music education in a studentslife. Even if a student doesnt make it a career it still holds lasting effects that can affect them in theirlife and in the job force. This has particularly held true in my life. In middle school before I becameserious and involved in band I was lazy and pessimistic, but once I began to take music seriously Ibecame a hard worker and became a team player. Ive grown and matured a lot thanks to musiceducation and educators. This is why I chose to teach music to a student to help inspire, guide, andshow how great music is to young students and help them grow to love music and grow as youngadults. Which leads me to my process I underwent. This project has allowed me to learn a lot of other skills pertaining to oboe other than justteaching Sydney how to play oboe. There are three main components to my project; reed making, oboeadjusting, and teaching. The most important, difficult, and tedious part of my project was learning how to make andadjust reeds. Reeds are by far the most unique and important thing to have a successful oboist. Everyoboist needs reeds made to fit their unique needs. For example, a reed for myself would be much harder
than a reed for Sydney because our different stages in embouchure development. I have a muchstronger and better understanding of how to create my embouchure and Sydney needs much easierreeds to play on because her breath support and embouchure is not as strong as mine. Here, I havecollected various tools and examples of the reed making process I undergo. Cane goes through a longand complicated process beginning from the Cane Fields in Southern France. First it is cut then dried inthe sun to produce this golden yellow color. Then tubes of cane are created and they are sent to oboistsand various other processing places across the world. They arrive in tubes such as this one I have here .The cane is then pre-gouged, gouged, folded, shaped, and tied on. All this equipment adds up, agouging machine starts at at least $1,500. This year while learning I have only bought shaped andfolded cane to get a handle on making reeds before I learn how to process the cane, a skill I will learnin college. There are three main parts to a reed, the tip, the heart, and the windows. After I have thecane which is shaped and folded which looks like this I soak the cane in warm water while preparingmy thread with beeswax. I then place a staple on a mandrel and tie the cane onto a staple and the resultis this. I then begin to scrap off the bark, and then clip the reed open with a razor blade. At this pointthere is no definition in the heart or windows the tip is visibly thinner, but other than that nothingspectacular has been done to the reed yet and it may or may not make a slight sound at this step. Thenext step is finishing effects. I begin by thinning the tip and beginning to put in some definition into thereed until it is able to make a sound. Once it is able to make a sound I determine what else needs to bedone to the reed by the sound that is made and proceed accordingly. The next component of my product was learning how to adjust oboes through the help of myteacher and through trial and error. All oboes are very different and oboes tend to be very expensive soSydney has to use the middle school oboe which is less than spectacular. Here Ill demonstrate differenttypes of oboes and you can clearly hear the difference in quality of sound. First is the profession modeloboe. Now an Intermediate oboe. Finally, Sydneys beginner oboe. This oboe is constantly getting outof adjustment and becomes unable for her to play. Ive had to learn how to adjust oboes which has been
very beneficial to me in the long run. Im really glad that Ive been able to learn how to adjust thembecause it helps me when things go wrong with my oboe or the other oboist at the high school needtheir oboes to be fix. It is very uncommon to find someone who can adjust or repair oboes. Oftentypical instrument repair men or women shudder at the thought of trying to fix oboes. The final piece of my project is how I have guided this student to successfully play the oboe.Sydney just played for us the F Major Scale on her oboe which is a key fundamental to performingmusic. I practice and use my scales daily in everything I do and this is the very cornerstone of learningmusic. My Project Facilitator is Lisa Sayre who has been my oboe teacher since I began playing oboein 10th grade. She earned her Masters degree at Louisiana State University in 1987 and has beenteaching and performing oboe ever since. I was very surprised at her assisting me in this project. Shedid very little assisting me in the actual teaching process. However, she helped me all the time while Ilearned how to adjust oboes, and how to make reeds. She has been a huge help in my journey where Ilearn to make reeds and how to adjust oboes properly. Lisa has also been a influential figure in my lifeand has convinced me that what I want out of life is to play and teach oboe. The biggest challenges I faced began from the beginning: finding a student to teach. I had to tryto find a student that had time outside of school to learn oboe, had the will and enthusiasm to learn andwho would have parents that would approve and agree for their child to participate in this project. Ifound a couple prospective students, but various things kept coming up preventing me from teachingthem. Then I found Sydney at a 6th grade instrument night thanks to Mr. Carter who introduced us. Hermom then agreed and signed this form to allow me to take photos and videos of Sydney and said thatshe would agreed to pay me a small fee for lessons and reeds so I could afford various costs I came incontact with like cane, staples, thread, other reed making supplies, and gas money. Here I have thebook I used to keep track of the money I earned and I also have the contract Sydneys mother signedagreeing to let Sydney participate in my project.
I learned a lot about how to teach students and how to think of ways to make conceptsunderstandable and how to make music interesting and exciting. I learned how to make reeds andadjust oboes which will help me greatly when I pursue music in college and will give me an advantageover other students. I loved this project and enjoyed it so much. I could not have picked a better project and I willcontinue to teach music lessons in my future as a means to make money and as an enjoyable way to getchildren enthusiastic about music. I have enjoyed this project so much it did not even feel like a projector stressful. I cherished every moment teaching Sydney and making reeds despite how frustrating it canbecome at times and I am really glad I got to learn all the skills that I learned. Teaching has reallyhelped me even in my own playing because it makes me be more alert to things I do when I play andhow to fix them. Hopefully everyone here will realize from my enthusiasm about this project, how importantmusic is and will try to make music education important in their lives too whether it be helpingsomeone else realize how great it is, going to the latest symphony concert, picking up an instrumentyourself, or even just trying to discourage budget cuts in the arts department. Thank your time and consideration.