Topic: Bassoon Scheme Beginner to High School Graduate

I am keen to have some feed back on the draft scheme I have developed for my work in high schools in Christchurch New Zealand.
I am aware that the year 13 repertoire includes works many regard as University level and that there is perhaps a dearth of grinding exercises
and daily studies / scales etc but the NZ curriculum is narrow in its performance requirements, lessons are only 25 minutes weekly and the focus is on performance - both indiviual and group.
I expect the graduates of this scheme to be firmly engaged to their instrument and able to take on the additional challenges of University courses with perhaps a more rigorous technical content.

Any students involved in specialist "acceleration" classes and those sitting Royal schools or similar exams will of course need scales appropriate to the level.
I also slip scales in using repertoire and alert students to their existence when analysing / studying works.

Also while not having the luxury of an intsitution's resources and having to teach many other woodwind instruments, I do not teach reed making. On occasions I may take a rare weekend workshop but most of my students purchase ready made imported reeds.


BASSOON - Years 9 - 13  (drafted by N Forsythe Aug 2006)
GENERAL STATEMENT

Students are expected to:
            1. Progress on their chosen instrument through regular lessons and practice.
            2. Show development in knowledge and understanding of music reading and
                 theory.
            3. Be able to demonstrate their achievements to an audience suitable to their stage
                of development.
            4. Be able to participate in group music making at an appropriate level.

FIRST YEAR - BASSOON   
At the completion of one year’s tuition, the average bassoon student will / should

KNOW:     
            How to assemble the bassoon correctly.
            How to care for and maintain the instrument, bocal and reed.
            How to practise effectively.
            Good posture for playing seated or standing.
            Correct, effective embouchure leading to a rich, well-supported tone (at mf - ff)
            How to “warm up” instrument. Moisten reed, check basic scale from “open note”
            to lower extent, upper extent, good finger placement, tone etc.
            How to articulate with the tongue
            Good hygiene and safety. (OOS sharing instruments, hearing protection).

UNDERSTAND: 
            Music theory appropriate to the level of the music being played including: 
                        staves, notation - pitch / duration 
                        beat and rhythm 
                        marks of expression
                        Italian terms 
                        scale construction
                        basic keys C, F major, A minor;
                        basic rhythms including whole, half, quarter, eighth notes and dotted quarter and half
                        notes; 
                        how to translate notation into sound on the bassoon, in the bass clef.

BE ABLE TO: 
            Play smoothly from low F to upper C. 
            Play C major scale and arpeggio 1 octave. 
            Play D minor and A minor scales and broken triads to a fifth. 
            Employ Bb, F, 1/2 hole left index, appropriate register keys for A,B,C.
            Play simple tunes within the above specifications, 
            (with piano accompaniment if appropriate). 

RESOURCES: 
            The Young Bassoonist 
            Learn as you Play Bassoon 
            Weissenborn Method for Bassoon 
            Any other appropriate graded materials fitting Year One specifications.

SECOND YEAR - BASSOON

At the end of two years’ tuition, the average bassoon student will / should

KNOW:
            How a reed is made, diagnosed and adjusted for effective performance.
            Basic elements of the bassoon’s history and repertoire.
            The range of musical roles expected of bassoon players
                        bass, harmony, blending, solo, 
                        orchestra, band, chamber, baroque
            How to control intonation and dynamics through effective embouchure 
            and breath control.

UNDERSTAND: 
            Music theory to the level of the music being prepared - including dotted quaver / semi-quaver, triplets,swing, common time, cut
            common time, 3/2, breve, 4/2, 9/8, 12/8.
            How to use alternate keys for F#, G#. 
            How to produce controlled decrescendo in progressively shorter durations until staccato is achieved without re-applying the
            tongue to end notes. 
            Function of variable half-hole for F#, G, G#

BE ABLE TO: 
            Play from bottom Bb 2.5 octaves, to upper F chromatically, legato, at a steady pace without splitting notes or creating “blips”
             where coordination of two or more fingers is required. 
            Play with piano accompaniment, a piece that includes piano “breaks” 
            (i.e. rest bars to count). 
            Play a simple tune on different starting notes using correct intervals. 
            Play F major, D Major, D minor (harmonic & melodic) plus arpeggios 
             - all to two octaves. 
            Play separate tongued and legato grouped notes. 
            Play simple tunes as a soloist.
            Perform elementary musician an ensemble. 
            Maintain good pitch, intonation and tone. 
            Play a short well-known piece from memory

RESOURCES:
            The Young Bassoonist 
            Learn as you Play Bassoon 
            Weissenborn Method for Bassoon 
            Any other appropriate graded materials fitting Year Two specifications. 
            e.g. Four Short Pieces  Gordon Jacob

ASSESSMENT AND RECORD OF LEARNING: 
            Weekly log maintained by teacher. 
            Attendance / Progress register as / if required by individual schools 
            Verbal feedback and guidance supplemented by student log where appropriate. 
            Written reports to students and parents as required by school (min. one per year). 
            Junior Performance Assessment (end of year). 
            Direct parental contact as deemed appropriate. 
            Regular information exchange with HOD Music.



Years 11- 13

Drafted by N Forsythe 2005

The progression of students of bassoon from the establishment of a secure foundation in years 9 -10, will lead to a more “performance oriented” programme, through the use of graded materials selected from the wider standard bassoon repertoire. The focus for students entering NCEA Unit standards will be on developing performance skills and a repertoire compliant with the NZ Music Curriculum at this level. 
Development of more sophisticated skills (such as vibrato, playing at speed with accuracy, tone development, phrasing, tenor clef etc.), will be acquired through the pieces chosen, along with appropriate studies and exercises.

Where appropriate, examination materials from Trinity or Royal Schools may be included, to enable students to sit external exams, where these are consistent with the curriculum based programme.

Orchestra studies, chamber music and repertoire from the student’s performance groups  may be included, where they are likely to contribute positively to the curriculum requirements.

The wider context and knowledge of music performed will be incorporated with particular attention to developing a knowledge of Form, Historical and Social setting, Composers, Period styles, compositions and significant players of previous and current times.

Assistance with students’ composition tasks especially those relating to writing for the bassoon; both conventional and avant-garde techniques, ranges etc.

Different styles and genres from classical to jazz and avant garde.

Resources such as Public Library, Internet Lists, CD and DVD performances

Where appropriate players will be facilitated to perform in Orchestra, Chamber Music, Concert band, representative groups, Shows and other dramatic productions featuring instrumental music performance.

THIRD YEAR - BASSOON (NCEA LEVEL ONE)

At the completion of three year’s tuition, the average bassoon student will / should

KNOW: 
            How to produce an even tone over a range of dynamic levels. 
            How to service the instrument at a basic level of maintenance, inclding, bocal cleaning, key oiling, pad assessment, joints, keywork and general finish. 
            How to perform basic adjustments to the reed including scraping, adjusting wires etc. 
            How to set practice goals and use practice techniques to best effect 
            How to vary tonguing techniques for appropriate styles of music. 
            More complete knowledge of the bassoon’s history and repertoire. 
            How to control intonation and dynamics  with growing finesse through effective  embouchure and breath control.

UNDERSTAND: 
            Music theory appropriate to the level of the music being played including: 
                        marks of expression 
                        Italian terms
                        keys Fminor Cminor G minor, E minor 
                        more complex rhythms including breve, whole half, quarter, eighth notes and dotted quarter and sixteenth notes; 
                        including dotted quaver / semi-quaver, triplets,swing, common time, cut common time, 3/2, breve, 4/2, 9/8, 12/8. 
                        tenor clef

BE ABLE TO: 
            Play from bottom Bb to upper G chromatically. 
            Play with piano accompaniment, contrasting pieces of substance (e.g. sonata movements). 
            Play all common major scales to 2 octaves. (Ab, A to 12th) 
            Play separate tongued and legato grouped notes. 
            Perform more challenging music in an ensemble.

RESOURCES: 
Repertoire will be based on the following list of works and similar pieces:
(Note: some movement between years may be appropriate - some may have been achieved by end of year 10 e.g. Jacob Sketches).

Year 11
            Telemann                               Sonata in F minor
            various                                  Russian Recital Pieces 
            various                                  The Young Bassoonist Bk 2 (as appropriate) 
            Gounod                                  Funeral March of a Marionette 
            Marcello                                 Adagio & Allegro 
            Jacob                                     Four Sketches
            anon                                      International Folksong Suite
            Corelli                                    Sonatas 
            Weissenborn                         50 Studies opus 8 (as appropriate)

FOURTH YEAR - BASSOON (NCEA LEVEL TWO)

At the completion of four year’s tuition, the average bassoon student will / should KNOW:

            how to choose from a range of contrasting repertoire to achieve a balanced programme 
            how to present a programme with musicianship, presentation skills, technical  proficiency and accuracy.

UNDERSTAND: 
            A wider context of bassoon solo repertoire including baroque, classical, romantic and C20th. materials. 
            how to use greater depth of musical knowledge to analyse works to the benefit of a more informed performance.

BE ABLE TO: 
            Perform more substantial music (e.g. full sonatas, concerto movements, suites), as a soloist including pieces with piano,
            read and play from tenor clef* - limited range and duration of passages
            accompaniment, advanced presentation skills, ornaments, trills 

RESOURCES:
Repertoire will be based on the following list of works and similar pieces:

Year 12
            Walker                                     A la Russe *
            Merci                                       Sonata
            various                                    Classical & Romantic Pieces *(as appropriate)
            Hindemith                               Sonata (1)
            Arne                                        Sonata *
            Corelli                                     Sonata
            Galliard                                   6 Sonatas
            Bach                                       Bach for Bassoon
            Rose                                       3 Pieces
            de Haan                                 Sonatina
            Kerrison                                 Suite
            Marcello                                 Sonata
            Mozart                                    Concerto (2)
            Senaille                                  Allegro Spiritoso
            Weissenborn                         50 Studies opus 8 *(as appropriate) 

FIFTH YEAR - BASSOON (NCEA LEVEL THREE)

At the completion of five year’s tuition, the average bassoon student will / should

KNOW: 
            A wide range of bassoon repertoire encompassing the period from renaissance to C21st.

UNDERSTAND:
            Music theory appropriate to the level of the music being played including:
            marks of expression including languages other than Italian where appropriate to the repertoire. 

BE ABLE TO:
            Present a substantial programme consisting of works suitable for entry to tertiary study or external examination through one or more of the Music Institutions offering such opportunites in NZ.

            read and play from tenor clef* - wider range and duration of passages

RESOURCES:
Repertoire will be based on the following list of works and similar pieces:
Year 13
            Hindemith                               Sonata (2&3) *
            Mozart                                    Concerto (1&3)
            Ozi                                          Adagio & Rondo
            Marcello                                 Sonata
            Boismortier                            Suite in E minor
            Boismortier                            Concerto in D major
            Hurlestone                              Sonata *
            Spohr                                      Adagio *
            Capel Bond                           Concerto
            Walker                                     Sonatina
            Kelly                                        Lerici Variations *
            various                                    Bassoon Solos *
            various                                    Contemporary French Recital Pieces *
            Pierne                                     Solo de Concert *
            Kozeluch                                Concerto
            Larsson                                  Concertino *
            Arnold                                      Fantasy *
            Milde                                       Studies
            Lyons                                       Arthritis 3
            Hummel                                  Concerto
            Weber                                    Concerto *
            Weber                                    Andante & Rondo Ungaresca *
            Allard                                      Paganini Variations *
            Weissenborn                         50 Studies opus 8 (as appropriate)*
            Elgar                                    Romance

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Bassoon Scheme Beginner to High School Graduate

I am not qualified to comment on your schema. However, I am glad to see it. I searched unsuccessfully for something like this when I started teaching secondary school bassoonists two years ago. If you'd like to see it, I will be happy to email the skills matrix I drew up. However, you need to be able to receive an attachment in MS Word. I don't think it will be viewable in other formats.
Louise Hillery

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Re: Bassoon Scheme Beginner to High School Graduate

Neville..I teach in a state Fine Arts HS, grades 11 and 12, which is ages 15-17.  Most students begin instruction in public school Band programs in grades 6 or 7.  Students are admitted by audition, and receive weekly 1 hour lessons along with Music Theory and Music History courses, Chamber Music, Wind Ensemble, and Techniques classes.  Additionally, Double Reed students take Reedmaking class along with  a full academic load.  I also have a small private studio, usually only 2-4 students.

I might comment that your syllabus looks quite complete, but I notice that there is no set introduction of Tenor Clef, which I find to be quite important at about this level.  I usually expose 9th grade students to Tenor Clef, learning it in Weissenborn Op. 8 #4, and make it a point to select repertoire that uses Tenor Clef.  Do students study any Orchestral Repertoire?  Most of my Bassoon students are members of local Youth Orchestras outside of their schools, and this presents a wonderful opportunity to for them to learn some basic repertoire such as Mozart Overtures and Symphonies, Beethoven Symphonies, maybe Dvorak or Schubert (Symphonies) also.

Please do keep posting on the IDRS Forum, I enjoy reading about what is happening on the other side of the world with students of similar development.

Frank Watson, Woodwind Instructor
South Carolina Governors School for Arts and Humanities

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Re: Bassoon Scheme Beginner to High School Graduate

Pertinent points!

1. Orchestral Studies:   I do cover (more by permission than promotion) the inclusion of orchestral / band / chamber material - works that the student brings to lessons - at all levels. I see the more formal Orchestral Studies as being material that would be part of a University undergraduate course. However if an orchestral solo is available in an accompanied arrangement (such as theme from the March from Carmen, Sorceror's Apprentice, Old Castle from Pictures at an Exhibition .. I may include it as one of the 4 performance pieces required for NCEA (NZ's National Certificate for Educational Achievement at levels 1 -3 (years 3-5 on my scheme).

2. Tenor Clef: Forms a part of year 11 -13 as stated in the preamble to that level. I do need to add it to the specific skills outline and indicate which pieces include tenor clef (see revision to scheme above). I would not push it as an assessment pre-requisite for year 11 students but would insist on its inclusion in year 12 and beyond.


Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor