21st-Century Musician

Jennet Ingle

Adjunct Instructor of Music

Jennet Ingle is hyperaware that classical music is struggling. As a professional musician, she sees that orchestras are losing resources and some are closing altogether. That doesn’t deter her from instructing others on how to love the oboe, but it shapes her instruction.

“Everything I am as an oboist and entrepreneur comes into teaching at some point,” she says. “The job of being an oboist is no longer about simply being able to play the oboe really well. A lot more goes into this career now.”

Professor Ingle teaches studio lessons at Valpo. She targets her instruction to students with various vocational plans. While some intend to become professional musicians, the majority are majoring in a field other than music. What unites them all is their desire to continue developing as oboists and classical music lovers.

“Most of my students are not trying to be oboe performers when they leave school,” she explains. “In our work, I help them appreciate the nuances and subtleties of classical music so they can be educated, informed, enthusiastic listeners.”

To these students, Professor Ingle emphasizes understanding scores as a way to deepen musical appreciation. She also stresses that musical skills are transferable to any career.

“I think of music as communication,” Professor Ingle explains. “I use skills I’ve gained from performing in other areas of communication, in my writing and in my speaking. I am very overt in trying to teach those skills to my students.”

Professor Ingle also emphasizes the role of teamwork in musical ensembles and can illustrate from her experience as a principal oboist in two symphonies. Like many 21st-century musicians, Professor Ingle has several professional roles, including performance, teaching, blogging, and running a reed-making business.

For students who do want to make a living with the oboe, Professor Ingle shows it can be done.

“My stance is that if you’re passionate about the oboe and can’t give it up, there’s going to be a niche for you, but you may have to make it yourself,” she says.

And, Professor Ingle adds, she is “delighted” that her niche includes teaching at Valpo.