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The Bassoon And The Band. The Lucky14  Information needed to work with your bassoons in your band and orchestra program.  Much of this is also relevant.

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Presentation on theme: "The Bassoon And The Band. The Lucky14  Information needed to work with your bassoons in your band and orchestra program.  Much of this is also relevant."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Bassoon And The Band

2 The Lucky14  Information needed to work with your bassoons in your band and orchestra program.  Much of this is also relevant for the oboes.

3 #1  Tuning and Intonation  Bassoons tune to A, not B-flat  Pitch can be slightly adjusted by pushing in or pulling out bocal, but it can’t be so far that the nub is not able to be covered.  Generally, we play sharp in the lowest and highest registers, G and F#’s are generally high all over. The best way to get a bassoonist to play in tune is (1) have good control of breath and (2) develop the ear.  The bassoon is the least developed, so only students with good senses of pitch should play this instrument.  The bassoonist should not use the mouth to adjust pitch.

4 #! Continued..  Oboes are less flexible. Where they are is where they are.  Never, ever, ever pull out or push in the reed. This is not how to tune an oboe.  The key to intonation is the length and strength of the reed, along with the players sense of pitch and embouchure and breath. The mouth should not be used to adjust pitch ( except for taking more or less of the reed in the mouth).

5 #2  Chairs  Make sure the bassoonists have appropriate chairs.  Folding chairs are bad, as are chairs with desks on the left side that fold down. Tiny chairs are no good, too.  Oboes are picky, but don’t have the same issues as to desks on the side of the chair.

6 #3  Make sure students always use a seat strap.  Some school bassoons will have a neck strap in the case. Do not use it. The instrument is much too heavy.  Students who study professionally will learn how to play standing up using a specially made harness.

7 #4  Music Parts  Bassoons in a band situation often play the same as the trombones and baritones. This is unbeleiveably boring.  If you have good bassoonists, don’t hesitate to write out an obligato part for them. This way, they can sit with the rest of the woodwinds instead of in the back with the brass.  Oboes are usually best near the flutes.

8 #5  Reeds  Reeds must be adjusted. Real cane reeds are the best. For your stash, buy medium soft reeds ( for your beginners) and they can be adjusted with grade sandpaper or with jewelers files. Reeds need to be played to be broken in. If a reed sounds fantastic out of the box that is probably it’s last gasp before it dies.  Work with a bassoonist/oboist in your area to learn how to adjust reeds. Students can learn how to do their own, even in the upper elementary level. It’s not hard.  Handmade are superior than factory made, with a few exceptions ( e.g, Justin Miller’s reeds that replace the Jones ones).

9 #6  Fibercane reeds.  These should be forbidden. Never used, no excuses.

10 #7  Damage to the instrument  Often occurs when the student doesn’t hold the instrument correctly when assembling and disassembling the instrument.  Students should get in the habit of doing a screw and pad check prior to playing.

11 #8  Bassoons and Marching Band.  NO.  Oboes and Marching Band….. NO.

12 #9  Wooden vs Plastic?  Get the wooden ones. Plastic ones will be purchased cheaply but their value will not increase like the well- made wooden ones do. Older bassoons are preferred over brand new ones.  Oboes are more delicate, especially the wood ones. Plastic ones to start on are not as bad as the plastic bassoons.

13 #10  Assessment  Bassoonists and oboists have several critical areas that must be in place for them to play well:  Posture  Breathing  Embouchure  Sound

14 #11  Fingerings  There are multiple fingerings for the bassoon, as one fingering does not always work on every bassoon. Make sure to get a fairly comprehensive fingering chart. The one in Essential Elements has some very bad choices in it listed as a “standard” bassoon fingering.  The better the bassoonist, the more able they will be to modify fingerings to work with their instruments.  Oboe fingerings are a bit more set in stone, but you still want to get a good fingering chart.

15 #12  Music Preparation  Look for and be able to point out places that will be difficult for your bassoonists, for example, the fingerings required are extended techniques ( for example, half-holing and flicking).  Make sure to remind them to let their air do the work, not their lips. This is especially problematic for students who have switched to bassoon from a very rigid embouchure instrument.

16 #13  Finding prospective bassoonists:  Overbite isn’t necessary due to current embouchure.  Be wary of switching students from:  Clarinet and Sax  Less problematic:  High brass ( trumpet and F horn)  Flute

17 #14  Materials for reference:  No one can learn about the bassoon from reading a book. You need to play the instrument. The same holds true for oboe.  After you have gotten a chance to play the instrument, or to bring a bassoonist/oboist into your school, then one of the best reference materials is the Guide to Teaching Woodwinds ( Westphal) which has the best information concerning the double reeds.  Much is also available online via the IDRS ( International Double Reed Society) and on college studio webpages.

18 #15  Instrument brands for schools:  Oboes:  Fox Renard is good and solid—wood ones are better than plastic in this case. Some of the newer Yamaha ones aren’t too bad, either. Loree should be reserved for professional level playing.  Bassoons:  Moosman, Fox Renard, and the Fox 51 model for players with small hands. Plastic bassoons aren’t worth the money, so don’t waste it on those. Fox, Heckel and Yamaha are better for more advanced, as are the upper level Moosman.

19 Questions?


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