(Click underlined pieces to hear MP3 format sound clips.)
The main purpose of this CD is to show that there is a wealth of good music, in many styles, available to the oboe beginner. These pieces are within the general Grade 3 level, and some of them can be played after just a few lessons, so that learning the oboe can be a musical experience right from the beginning. The tracks are marked 0 to 3, to indicate their general technical level, where 0 indicates a pre-Grade 1 piece.
There are two exceptions to the Grade 3 limit - Mozart's La ci Darem (Grade 4), because it points the way to a new world of musical expression, and Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter, because, as one teacher put it, it is by far the nicest way to learn the bottom two notes on the oboe.
The selection was made in consultation with a number of teachers. I asked them which pieces their pupils responded to with enthusiasm. I soon noticed the same pieces being mentioned time and again. Some pieces were liked by some teachers and not by others, and I added in my own preferences, and take full responsibility for the final choice.
It was also necessary to stick to a smallish number of books or tutors, so that the pupil is not faced with a large music bill. Where only one piece has been included from a particular collection, it always means that there are other equally good pieces in that book. Exclusion of a book of pieces does not mean it is not good. Attention was also paid to the various exam syllabuses for Grades 1 to 3; some of these pieces appear there, some do not.
"What a brilliant idea! Well played and beautifully produced, this CD is great for inspiring people to carry on or even take up the oboe." Nicholas Daniel, International oboe soloist
"Several of my pupils and my colleagues' pupils have bought a copy and have enthused about its inspiration... I will continue to use it in my lessons and recommend it to both teachers and their pupils." Nicola Fairbairn, Double Reed News UK"
"This CD has no doubt gone towards my daughter Harriet continuing her oboe. I often play it on the kitchen player (because I like it) and Harriet (10 years old now) often says she looks forward to playing 'that' tune, or gets her oboe out to practice - I don't think we could wish for better!" Jill Gribbin
"Ready Steady Blow is a great CD as it contains different genres of music played by oboists and accompanied by pianists making it enjoyable to listen to. I have difficulty with rhythm and when asked to play Easy Tiger, Cat Walk and Hot Chilli with the piano for the first time, I remembered when to come in, the dynamics and even the rhythm. From following these pieces through with the CD, it helped me to play these tunes after one lesson of learning all three. It is now helping me with other rhythms of pieces which are not on the CD. I listen to the piece in my head, which is like listening to it on a CD, and put it into practice. I hope there will be many more CDs for beginner oboists as fun and as helpful as this one." Emily Williams, age 12
"I really enjoyed listening to the CD. It really helped to get my sound purer than it was. I enjoyed all the pieces but my favourite ones were Air by Handel, Purcell Air, Mozart La Ci Darem, Dragonfly by Pam Wedgwood, Parker Sunday Morning and Hedwig's Theme from Harry Potter." Jessie Chorley, owner of the hands on the CD cover
By the way, if you're having trouble with Aural Tests (hearing beats in a bar, rhythms, singing notes etc) you could try www.hofnote.co.uk. It costs money, but could save time (and embarrassment) practising with a computer rather than with your teacher!