Oboes at Western University


Shelley Heron – Instructor (bio)

Music Building, Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University


Studying oboe at Western University provides you with the foundational skills to grow and achieve your goals in a nurturing and supportive musical environment. 

Beyond weekly private lessons, masterclasses allow a deeper dive into many topics as a group, such as reed making, orchestral excerpts, playing styles, practice techniques, tuning, vibrato, performance anxiety and management, and more. Students share the experience of reed making together in Western’s Reed Room with all the tools necessary to make a reed from beginning to end. The oboe studio is a very close-knit group of young musicians whose bonds will last well after graduation.

Oboe students attending Western can enrol in a Bachelor of Music degree and pursue studies in composition, music education, music research (theory and history), performance or choose a general program that offers some academic flexibility. Students could also pursue a combined degree in music and business (HBA with the Ivey School of Business or Music) or a Music Recording Arts with Fanshawe College (Music Industry Arts). 

Students in a Bachelor of Arts program in music can opt to take oboe lessons for an additional fee and pursue studies in the following areas: Music Administrative Studies, Popular Music Studies, Creative Arts and Production.

Undergraduate Programs

Programs: Information

Enrollment: How and when to apply

NEW!!! Highschool Performance and Songwriting Competition – If you are a student preparing to audition for post-secondary studies in music, this is a good way to prepare your audition repertoire, and learn about best recording practices.  Five categories will be judged individually, with the winner of each category awarded a prize of $400.

Oboe entrance auditions 

Lauren Jarman, 4th-year BMus Education, F of M Student Council President 

Pre-audition sample lessons 

Choosing a teacher who will guide you for the next four years is one of the most important decisions you will make. Sample lessons are highly recommended and can be held either in-person at Western’s Oboe Studio or online via Zoom. Shelley will assist you in refining your audition music, advise on areas requiring special attention, and introduce helpful practice techniques. She will also check your oboe for mechanical issues and give you a reed (if needed) to ensure that neither are holding you back.

If you haven’t already reached out to Shelley at sheron2@uwo.ca, she will contact you to offer a sample lesson (at no charge) once you have registered your interest in Western’s music programs through OUAC. 

Your audition at Western

After completing your application and requesting an audition, you will receive times for a two-part audition.

All oboists auditioning at Western will first meet with the oboe teacher in the oboe studio (MB 219 ) for 35-40 minutes. Professor Heron will check your reed and instrument to ensure both are well adjusted for your audition. You’ll play through some of your music, and she will make some suggestions on how to improve. You may also be asked to clap some rhythms and play a little duet.

After a 20 minute rest period, you will be asked to play your music in a more formal setting with other professors in attendance. There will be a short interview. Please note: you will not need an accompanist for your audition.  c

Remember to take your Music Theory Assessment before your audition date.  This assessment doesn’t influence Western’s acceptance offer, but is used to inform your Fall theory class preparedness.

Sabrina Turnpenny, 3rd-year BMus Education

Audition repertoire suggestions (substitutions are acceptable):

One Barret melodic study or a Ferling etude of your choice

And, two contrasting movements (different composers)

  • Britten, Six Metamorphoses. One movement of your choice.
  • Cimarosa, Concerto. First or second movement.
  • Handel, Concerto in G minor. First or second movement.
  • Haydn, Concerto in C major. First movement.
  • Hindemith, Sonata. First movement.
  • Marcello, Concerto in C minor. First or second movement.
  • Mozart, Quartet for oboe and strings K370. First movement.
  • Mozart, Concerto in C major, K314. First movement.
  • Nielsen, Two Fantasy Pieces. First or second movement.
  • Poulenc, Sonata. First or second movement.
  • Saint-Saëns, Oboe Sonata. First or second movement.
  • Telemann, Sonata in A minor. First or second movement.stern.

Tips:  Begin your audition preparation as soon as possible and ask early for some sample lessons. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.  Listening to your music selections over and over may help you learn your music more quickly.  Know that it takes time to train your fingers to do what you want them to do.  On audition day, warm up 30 minutes in advance, making sure not to tire your embouchure.

The Oboe Studio (directions and maps)

Oboe Studio MB 219, Music Building, Don Wright Faculty of Music, Western University
Sebastian Handley, 2nd-year BMus Composition 


Students receive a 50-minute lesson each week (90-minute lessons for performance majors.)

First-year lessons introduce and instil basic oboe techniques including tone production, pitch control, finger dexterity, vibrato, articulation, and phrasing through Barret melodic studies, Salviani technical etudes and several repertoire selections chosen by the student. Time is taken to develop practice techniques, aquire skills for time management, and understand how individual students learn. 

In years two, three and four, lessons continue to develop all of the above skills using Salviani, Sellner, Ferling, Barret grand studies and Gillet’s super challenging technical etudes. Orchestral excerpts and advanced techniques like double-tonguing and circular breathing are introduced.

Students receive weekly detailed lesson notes and masterclass handouts, which are combined into a resource guide upon graduation.

Performance majors will complete recitals in their third and fourth years.

David Levy, 2nd-year Hon BMus Arts

Reed Making and The Reed Room   

Reed making is introduced in first year in a step-by-step process beginning with scraping – previous experience is not required. Until a student becomes proficient scraping reeds (by 3rd year), reeds are provided free of charge so that students need not struggle while performing. Quality reed-making tools are available through the oboe studio’s supplies store. Tube cane is purchased in bulk and processed at Western to ensure that students work with the very best gouged and shaped cane.  

Western’s Reed Room is a gathering place where oboe students interact and help each other while making reeds. The reed room is well stocked with gouging machines (Ross, Gilbert, with access to a James gouger), pre-gougers, a large selection of shaper tips and handle, along with other smaller tools and micrometer gauges for measuring diameters and cane thickness – all the tools necessary to make a reed from beginning to end.

Upon completing their degree program, students will be confident performers and excellent reed makers. Western’s graduating oboe students have become orchestral musicians, performing artists, composers, university professors, high school /public school teachers, private teachers, arts administrators, recording technicians, and librarians.  Also, students have successfully transitioned into law, medicine, and  business careers.

Scott Ho, 3rd-year BMus Education 

Master/Performance Classes

  • There are 18 (50 min) performance/masterclasses throughout the year.
  • Performance techniques are discussed while students play for each other. 
  • Oboe techniques are explained and demonstrated.
  • Students make presentations and teach each other.
  • Students actively engage in reed making and cane preparation.
  • Instrument adjustment and repair is taught.

Visiting Guest Artist – Fall 2022

For a full day in the Fall 2022, special guest artist  Monica Fosnaugh (English Horn, Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Gift Fund Grant) will lead two masterclassses, teach lessons, coach an Symphony Orchestra sectional, and perform a mini recital.


Biz Tucker, 1st-year BMUS 

Oboes in Ensembles

Performing is an integral part of an oboist’s life at Western.  You will audition and be assigned to one of the following large ensembles:

You may add courses like:

Chamber Music:  Oboe Trio (Megan Yuen, Biz Tucker, Mark Pinder) – Nov. 2021


Tinson Lee, 3rd year BMus Arts 
Megan Yuen, Med Sci . Mus minor

Annual Oboe Studio Recital

The Oboe Studio recital is an annual event where students strut their stuff on stage and share a link afterwards with their family and friends.

This year’s recital takes place on Thursday, February 10, 2022, at 6:00 pm in the small recital hall, Studio 242. This blockbuster program includes pieces by Britten, Bozza, Dutilleux, Ibert, Kaliwoda, Mozart, Poulenc, Prokofiev, and Telemann.  






 PDF Oboe Studio Recital Program – Feb. 10, 2022


The Annual Oboe Studio Christmas Party – 2021 Cocoa, Candy Canes, and Carols (Conductors: Tinson Lee and Lauren Jarman)


Graduate Programs

Programs: Information

Enrollment: How and when to apply

Jessica Arenas, MMus Performance



Margaret Hancox, MMus Performance
Mark Pinder, MMus Performance