• Dependent on proper breath control and support.

  • Tongue must be relaxed.

  • Use a constant stream of air. Tongue acts as a valve by saying "too" or "tee" to control the air flow.

  • Uses the tip of the tongue. No anchor tonguing (when the tip of the tongue is down behind the bottom teeth).

  • Double and Triple tonguing are possible by using the letters T and K.

  • Flutter tonguing is possible by rolling "R".

  • On flute, the tip of your tongue touches where the back of your teeth and gum line meets. 

  • On oboe, there will now be a reed in that area, so the tip of your tongue will touch the tip of the reed.

  • Make sure to touch both blades of the reed simultaneously. 

  • You will need less air in tonguing passages than flute. Otherwise, too much pressure will build up.

Hoo-Too Exercise
  1. Blow a constant stream of air through the reed.

  2. Touch the reed with the tip of the tongue for a few seconds at a time while continuing to blow.

  3. Gradually decrease the amount of silence by taking the tongue off of the reed sooner each time.

This is merely an exercise to practice consistent and correct contact with the reed opening. Once you have mastered this, do not stop notes with your tongue. Press play below to match the sounds and speed of the example.


When you first start the oboe, everything will be loud and that's OK. In order to play other dynamics, your embouchure (or lip muscles) needs to get stronger. Practicing crescendos and decrescendos will help you increase your dynamic range and control.

ff: very relaxed embouchure and increased air flow

f: relaxed embouchure and comfortable air flow

mf: neutral embouchure (the volume you play when not thinking about volume)

mp: neutral embouchure & relaxed air flow

p: firmer embouchure and slightly faster air (feels counter intuitive to blow faster when trying to play soft, but if you don’t you won’t be able to keep the reed vibrating since the lips are dampening the vibrations)

pp: very firm embouchure and very fast air


Even if you already know how to do vibrato on flute, do not try to add vibrato on oboe until you can consistently play with a good tone, in tune, and with dynamics. Once you are ready to add vibrato the easiest way to start is by pulsing your air with a metronome. Use your abdominal muscles to vary the air speed---your mouth should not move. Do not tongue the following notes, simply keep blowing and pulse the air to begin a new note.