Photo of a young person playing the Oboe with a quote about the benefits of playing in bands.

Oboe diploma triumph for MMF student, Raymond

A few words from MMF’s Chief Executive, Elisabeth Wigley

What a pleasure it is to congratulate Raymond on his achievement! Most students aim to take Grade 8 in the sixth form before going to University, but Raymond has gone a step further and whilst at school achieved his oboe diploma. It has been a great privilege to witness his musical development over the years – he really is an accomplished performer!

Raymond, how did you start your musical journey?

My first instrument was actually the piano. It served as an excellent foundation, teaching me the basics of music and music theory. I was then introduced to MMF by receiving a flyer from a teacher about flute lessons in primary school. After learning the flute for a few weeks, I was given the opportunity to try out the oboe by Sara Grint. I quickly picked it up. I particularly enjoyed the uniqueness of the oboe. Not many other instruments can boast of having such a distinct tone, and being an oboe player meant that I was frequently given chances to shine in orchestra or band.

How has your MMF tutor supported your musical journey?

My tutor is Sara Grint who has been teaching me for 8 years now, all the way from Grade 1 to Diploma. She has been a major part of my musical development, in both playing the oboe and developing my musicality. I can confidently say that she has had a huge role in shaping me to be the musician I am today.

How has playing in MMF bands affected your playing and your enjoyment of playing?

I have played in many MMF bands including Training Band, Intermediate Band, and Merton Youth Concert Band. Playing in those bands helped me learn and develop the vital skill of playing as a group – knowing when to play out and when to support others. They have really opened my eyes to orchestral and band music. This has greatly improved my enjoyment of playing the oboe as it helped me feel part of something greater. There is hardly a better feeling than coming together with others and making music.

What have been the highlights of your time with MMF?

Definitely playing in the Royal Albert Hall and at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. Both were exciting opportunities for me to play in front of a large audience, giving me a taste of what a professional musician experiences.

What advice do you have for young people just starting their own musical journey?

I’d say to make sure to practise little and often. At first, practice might not seem to have much effect. I know how disheartening this can feel. However, with consistent practice, even around 5-10 minutes a day, you can achieve much more than you might think. I got to where I am musically by simply practising little and often over the years. The effects really build up.

How does music feature in your future plans?

As I’m not going into any musical higher education, music will remain my hobby. I’ll definitely play the oboe in the university orchestra. There, I can meet new people and take a break from my biomedical studies.

The last words are from Raymond’s tutor, Sara Grint

Raymond has been an outstanding student; he has worked hard in his lessons and at home and used his time wisely during lockdowns to practise and listen to recordings. We’re incredibly proud of him achieving his diploma.


The oboe is part of the woodwind family (alongside the flute, clarinet, bassoon and saxophone). We teach woodwind instruments in some of Merton’s schools and at our South Wimbledon Music Centre where, as Raymond said, there are also lots of opportunities to join bands:

  • Junior Brass, Wind & Percussion Ensemble (Grades 1-3)
  • Jazz Jumpers (Grades 1-3)
  • Intermediate Concert Band (Grades 3-4)
  • Jazz Works (Grade 4-6)
  • Merton Youth Concert Band (Grade 5+)
  • Merton Youth Jazz Orchestra (Grade 7+)

Click here to see which instruments we teach in your child’s school

Click here to find out more about band rehearsal days and times

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