Interview to Sameer Al Abdullah
Sameer is an oboe student enjoying his path to become an oboist. He is also a photographer and very active with us in Social Media, we enjoy every “like” we get from him so we are excited to have this interview.
We want to get to know you better Sameer so here are our questions:
Interview to Sameer Al Abdullah
- When exactly did you start playing the oboe?
I started practicing in 2001. As a child I always wanted to study music and play an instrument but my parents didn’t allow me. They thought it wouldn’t give me a good career that pays well. After high school I got a scholarship to study Journalism and Photography in San Francisco, California. So when I graduated from San Francisco State University and moved back to Kuwait I told my parents that I did what they wanted me to do but now I will do what I want. So I started looking into the oboe in 2001.
- Why did you decide to play this instrument?
I remember when I was 6 or 7 years old I heard that famous oboe melody of Swan Lake. I was instantly attracted to it. The sound was so unique I just could not figure out what instrument it was. I had no idea it was a woodwind instrument. I was just so in love with its sound. When I was older I learned that it was called the oboe. So after University I decided to learn it and play it. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
- Do you play any other instrument?
As a child I played a few instruments in school band. I played drums but I was very bad. My teacher then gave me an accordion and that’s what I played mainly. As an adult I played piano and took some professional lessons to help me play well and read music notes.
- How much time do you dedicate daily to the oboe?
Since my career is not really music but in Journalism and Photography I had a hard time dedicating enough time to play the oboe. Sometimes I practice 2 hours a day every week. Sometimes I don’t have time to touch the instrument at all but I’m trying my best.
- Is there an oboist or musician who especially inspires you?
John Mack, Maurice Bourgue, Nicholas Daniel, Eugene Izotov, Elizabeth Koch, Albercht Mayer and a few others.
- What feelings would you say that the sound of the oboe transmits to you?
The sound of the oboe is complex. It can deliver many different emotions but to me it’s usually melancholic and mysterious.
- What do you find most difficult about playing the oboe?
The most difficult thing about the oboe other than playing in tune with a nice tone is the reeds of course. One of the reasons why I don’t practice everyday is because I struggle a lot with reeds. It’s extremely harder if you don’t know how to make your own reeds. I didn’t know how to make my own reeds so I had to buy them from other people in Europe and the US. Of course most of the time when the reeds arrive to me in Kuwait they’d change of course because of the climate and season. I would buy 5 reeds and only 1 or 2 would play well. This was expensive and frustrating. That is why all these past years I was playing on and off and with oboe you need to practice everyday and never stop for more than a week. So a few years ago I decided to focus on making my own reeds. I’m still learning but I now can make some decent reeds.
- Have you experienced any curious anecdote related to your studies as an oboist?
Every time people ask me what instrument I play I say “the oboe” and they say “oh what is that?” Or they say “oh it’s a clarinet!”. I just laugh.
- Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
I hope in 10 years I’ll be playing more, better and making better reeds.
- Anything you would like to share with the readers of Medina Reeds?
The oboe is not an easy and cheap instrument. It’s expensive, demanding and harder than other instruments. However, it’s the most beautiful and unique instrument in the orchestra in my opinion. My advice to anyone who wants to play it is to be committed and practice everyday. It might be hard and frustrating in the beginning but once you get better you will be playing the most beautiful and enchanting instrument.