So, I'm renting a super crappy oboe from *the* instrument rental shop that supplies all the schools here. I assume it's crappy because it's the cheapest one they offer, some name that I can't even look up, etc.. My son enjoys band at school, but let's just say he doesn't love it enough to practice more than the minimum required etc.. But he will continue with oboe for the next 3 years for sure, which puts my rental cost over those years at $1000.
Should I buy him a better, but still student model oboe? I'm thinking a yamaha 411 that I found from a reputable place that just sells oboes- new & refurbished. I need it to be the plastic type like this one still because he stands outside at -40 to get on the bus with it, then the bus is smoking hot, and it's stored in his locker, etc etc... I don't think a wood one would be cared for properly. Will he notice that it plays better or easier? I imagine since it's overhauled and ready to go it will be so much better. Sometimes I'm not sure that the pads on his rental actually cover the holes properly. The one note he's working on that uses some half-hole - it doesn't sound any different. And one of the top keys that's on the back - I don't think it goes back to position after you press it. Or maybe we just suck at it? Oboe is frustrating enough without wondering if it's your instrument and a newbie doesn't know the difference.
I don't mind spending the money, and I'll get the money back if I want to sell it later on as compared to what I'd have spent on a rental. I just hope that it will play nice and we will notice the difference.
Oh, I should also ask....what kind of upkeep costs should I expect owning my own instrument?
Re: Buy him an oboe? 20:44 on Sunday, January 21, 2018
You don't say how old your son is or how serious he really is, if he studies privately with an actual oboe teacher. Oboe is very tough, he does need an oboe that is in proper working condition, which means it should be gone over by an oboe specialist. Wood oboes do seem very prone to cracking, which can be repaired, but plastic or plastic lined upper joint is a good idea. I play a wood yamaha 441, and its a pretty good instrument. Mine did crack, and was expensive to repair. I send it off to man oboe specialist about every 18 months.
One good thing about the 441 is that it has a pretty good complement of optional keys. My teacher's opinion is that a left f key is important. I also have a Yamaha 241 which his plastic but lacks that key. Many student oboes are lacking in the extra keys.
The biggest challenge with oboe is reeds. Having reeds that play, and hopefully in tune, is critical. As an adult starter, I'm starting to learn to make my own reeds, but it takes years and many many reeds to learn. He really needs a teacher that can keep him in reasonable reeds.
I wish him the best of luck with it. If he gets reasonably good, there will be many opportunities.