What I Learned in the Lenoir High School Band

What I Learned in the Lenoir High School Band


Despite more than three decades of generous private and government support for the arts, arts education in the United States can boast of only meager results. In this time of diminished funding and growing skepticism, the solo oboist of the New York Philharmonic explains what was so crucial in his own musical education—and why it is precisely what is missing, and needed, in arts education today.

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I have been oboist of the New York Philharmonic for 18 seasons, but many fans and colleagues still view my success as unlikely—even miraculous—because of two peculiarities in my resume. The first is that I grew up in a small town in North Carolina instead of the kind of cosmopolitan urban center that produces most classical musicians; the second is that attended a liberal arts college rather than a conservatory: But in fact these "handicaps" were crucial assets in my improbable rise to the top of the orchestra world.

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