Play the oboe in a professional orchestra or group.
picture of Oboist

Quick Stats

Salary Range
Highly Variable

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Oboists do?

An oboe is a small instrument with many keys and a big sound. Classical music Composers often choose oboes for their most delicate, transformative pieces, as the sound of the oboe can be heard above the din of the other instruments. An Oboist plays this delicate instrument.

An oboe uses two pieces of wood, called reeds, to produce sound. If you’re an Oboist, you make those reeds yourself. By engaging in this craft, as an Oboist, you have tight control over how your instrument sounds: You create thin reeds for loud passages and thick reeds for heavy passages.

Each day, you spend hours practicing your oboe. Playing fast passages over and over may drive your cat crazy, but it helps you commit those hard pieces of music to memory. Playing slow passages helps you practice holding your breath and playing warm, long notes.

You also participate in group practices with the rest of the orchestra members, and you listen closely to the Conductor to learn how you should play each piece. Sometimes, you play music that you’ve played before. Other times, you learn entirely new pieces. During these practices, you watch the music on the page, and keep your eyes on the Conductor for direction on speed and volume.

On the night of the performance, you dress in black clothing and you make sure you have several reeds on hand. Your orchestra may play with a Pianist, Guitarist, or other Soloist. Sometimes, you’re asked to be the Soloist. When you play well as an Oboist, you may be asked to perform the same piece with other orchestras, and even travel all around the world with your oboe.

Should I be an Oboist?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Social: You're happiest working on teams or with other people.

  • Also known as: Oboe Player, Piccoloist, Soloist

    How to become an Oboist

    We recommend at least an Associate's degree. Check out these schools offering Oboist-related education!
    Schools close to

    Careers Similar to Oboist