PR lessons from playing the oboe

From meticulousness to collaboration, the comparisons can help public relations professionals hit just the right notes.

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It was through my love of music that I discovered my passion for branding, public relations and social media.

Without any communications, journalism or marketing classes under my belt, and working to build my own consulting practice over the last three-and-a-half years, I’ve had to push myself, innovate and create my own systems from scratch.

I find myself grateful for my experience in the oboe performance program at the University of Maryland, where I learned many skills that serve me today.

Attention to detail

The oboe is one of the more challenging instruments. It requires attention to detail at every level, including making reeds (a precise art requiring adjustments of mere millimeters that can make or break your performance) and intonation (easily affected by factors such as weather and the humidity in the concert hall). Tiny adjustments in embouchure or fingering can throw everything out of whack.

More important, unlike clarinets in a band program or violins in an orchestra, the oboe section is tiny (usually only two or three total), so there’s little room for error.

Obsess, then let go

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