A native of Chattanooga, Carey Shinbaum attended Carnegie Mellon University on a full scholarship as a student of Cynthia Koleda DeAlmeida, principal oboist of The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. During his years in Pittsburgh, Carey received numerous honors and awards, including the prestigious Andrew Carnegie Merit award. He also played as soloist and principal member of the Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic. Upon graduating with honors from CMU in 1997, Carey was invited to serve as principal and solo oboist with the Tucumán Symphony Orchestra and the Camerata Lazarte, both in Argentina. He subsequently served as acting principal oboist with the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Association. In the summer of 1998, Carey participated in two music festivals in Sarasota, Florida, and Santa Barbara, California, along with bassoonist José Arión Linarez.