HI, OBOE ENTHUSIASTS!
So, what do you know about me so far?
“Well, I know you’re an oboist.” Hey, we’re off to a great start! You already have a clearer understanding of what I do than my grandpa did at one point--he thought I played the tuba ;)
But did you know that I cried on stage at my very first music recital when I was five years old?
I like to say that it was because I just didn’t have the right instrument in my hands yet! At my very first violin recital I got up on stage, looked out at the audience, and burst into nervous tears. Luckily, my Mom was there to rescue me.
Did you know that I played hooky on my very first day of summer band camp as an incoming sixth grader?
I was so nervous about going to band camp that I pretended to feel sick so I could just stay home.
The next day, though, I decided it wouldn’t be so bad to go. The event I’d missed on the first day of band camp was an “instrument petting zoo” where each student had the chance to try out all of the band instruments. In spite of all of my anxiety about the camp, my first day was an awesome experience!
Because I’d missed the first official day, I wasn’t able to try out every instrument, but the oboe was one of a few I got to try. I remember exactly where I was when I first made a sound on the oboe! The camp's oboe teacher was so encouraging. She told me she thought I was a natural, and that I had the potential to become a great oboist. She made me feel so special that I decided to take her advice and play oboe instead of clarinet (which I had been planning to play because my sister had also played clarinet). I took lessons from this same teacher for the next SEVEN years--good thing I liked her! ;) She was amazing. She helped me shape my perspective of what was possible and encouraged me to set and achieve big goals--like getting into All-State, playing in a youth orchestra, and winning my high school's concerto competition.
Little did I know how that one decision to show up to band camp and try something new would affect the rest of my life! (The fact that I don't have any pictures of myself with my oboe before I went to college shows how little I knew!) I am forever grateful for my teacher, who saw potential in me and helped my shy 11-year-old self to have the confidence to try something new and work hard to excel at it.
Did you know that I didn’t always want to be a professional musician?
When I was a senior in high school, my parents and several trusted mentors encouraged me to pursue a college degree in music, but I wasn’t sure I had what it would take or if it was what I would want anyway. I LOVED music and the experiences I was able to have as an oboist, but I wasn’t sure I’d want to make a career out of it. Honestly, I was scared of how difficult it sounded. I convinced myself it would be more reasonable to pursue a more “practical” career. So, during my first semester of college, I started classes toward a major in communication disorders so that I could become a speech therapist. I also continued taking oboe lessons and playing in campus ensembles as a music minor. I thought I had the rest of my life planned out.
THEN it happened. I realized how much music meant to me!
As I participated in lessons and ensembles, I realized how many more opportunities would be available to me as a music major--and how much I wanted those opportunities! The music building started to feel like home. I didn’t want the peak of my musical experience to have been in high school. I wanted to keep going! With lots of encouragement from the wonderful graduate oboe teaching assistant who gave me lessons that semester, I made plans to apply to the music program. That January, I auditioned for the oboe performance program and was thrilled to be accepted!
I was so blessed to have amazing teachers who guided me through bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in oboe performance. As a music student, I had some awesome opportunities to perform internationally, to learn from some of today’s best oboists in master classes and other settings, and to learn music that I never thought I would be capable of learning--to name a few!
Now, I’m still learning. But, thanks to 10 years of formal music training, I have a pretty good idea of how to learn so that I can continue to improve my playing and enjoy music for the rest of my life--and enjoy the opportunities that come my way as I keep working hard.
On tour with the BYU Wind Symphony
Performing with my oboe colleague in Italy
Playing "Squid Party" with my oboe colleagues at a school in Fukuoka, Japan
Do you know WHY I love being an oboe teacher?
This is a hard one to answer because there are lots of reasons. But the reason of all reasons why I love teaching is that I believe that every single person has the capacity to grow beyond what they’ve ever imagined. I love helping my students expand their vision of what’s possible. Even if none of my students go on to be professional oboists, I will have done what I set out to do if all of my students learn through oboe lessons that they are capable of doing whatever they set their minds to--so they might as well come up with some big, beautiful ideas.
And what better way to explore beautiful ideas than through music??
In case you're wondering about my professional credentials, here you go!
Dr. Charlotte Ethington, oboist, is an active teacher and performer residing in Gilbert, AZ, where she enjoys a wide variety of musical opportunities.
Charlotte teaches oboe and chamber music at Chandler-Gilbert Community college. She maintains a vibrant private oboe studio for students throughout Arizona, and is also in high demand as an oboe instructor and clinician at schools throughout the Phoenix Metro Area.
Recent performance engagements have included collaborations with the Arizona Bach Festival, Arizona Cantilena Chorale, Arizona Opera, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, Musica Nova Orchestra, The Phoenix Symphony, Prescott POPS Symphony, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, and West Valley Symphony, among others.
Dr. Ethington completed her DMA in oboe performance at Arizona State University in 2020, under the expert tutelage of Professor Martin Schuring, for whom she served as a graduate teaching assistant. She also completed a MM in oboe performance at ASU in 2017, and a BM in oboe performance in 2015 at Brigham Young University, where she studied with Dr. Geralyn Giovannetti.