Topic: Master's Program for Bassoon

I'm wondering if we could start a thread on suggested programs for master's degree study in bassoon performance. In preparation for the first master's candidate I've taught in a while, I've been browsing on the web to see what other teachers do for the master's program and have noticed a wide variety of guidelines and requirements. Obviously there will be a recital, and I'm leaning on my student to compete at the Fox/Gillet event in Utah in '08, but what about written material (papers, required  books to read, etc.) or other goals to pursue? Please chime in, students, as well as teachers.

Paul Barrett
   -Principal Bassoonist, Honolulu Symphony
    -Lecturer in Bassoon, University of Hawaii

Re: Master's Program for Bassoon

Hi Paul,

When I teach master’s degree students there were a couple of overriding issues for me to consider:

1) Have they mastered all the basics and do they have an understanding of all fundamentals and the ability to teach them? By continuing with their education a student is indicating to me that they are pursuing a career in music. Regardless of the career track students should understand what they are doing and should be able to teach it.

My list of fundamentals includes: proper breathing, instrument care, reed making and finishing, concepts of articulation, fundamentals of technique, vibrato, musicianship, etc. It also includes an understanding of musical styles, experience with ornamentation, a command of the standard bassoon repertoire, knowledge and experience with standard studies, and familiarity with trills and shakes up to C5 (high C) and fingerings up to E5 (high E).

2) What are they looking for from the degree? For instance, the needs of a music education teacher will be quite different than the needs of someone hoping to gain an orchestral position. At the graduate level I make a greater difference in my instruction of these types of students than I would at the undergraduate level.

I recommend you consult the Klimko books for some additional ideas:

Klimko, Ronald J.  Bassoon Performance Practices and Teaching in the United States and Canada. Moscow, Idaho: School of Music Publications, the University of Idaho, 1974.

Apfelstadt, Marc and Klimko, Ronald.  Bassoon Performance Practice, Teaching Materials, Techniques and Methods. Moscow, Idaho: School of Music Publications, The University of Idaho, 1993.

Terry

Terry Ewell
Professor Bassoon, Towson University
Former President, IDRS
Former Principal Bassoon Hong Kong Philharmonic, Wheeling Symphony

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Re: Master's Program for Bassoon

Why stop at high E?

As it is easy to slur on up to high F - I usually get my students to try that.

I think it's psychologically good to stay at least one or two notes ahead of the maximum likely to be thrown at a player.

Obviously there has to be a stopping point I suppose, but high E & F are already in the repertoire (vis. Bernstein West Side Story, Allard - Paganini Variations, Ravel Piano Concerto).

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Master's Program for Bassoon

Another possible resource is the Woodwind Syllabus of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto (available from sheetmusicplus.com and other online sources).  While this is not a guide for a degree program, the grade levels range from the beginner to the most difficult level of performance and cover solo literature, technique and orchestral literature.  It's quite comprehensive. I assembled an orchestral excerpt notebook/syllabus for my graduate students.  Another area that is required in many programs, and I think rightly so, is pedagogy for performance majors.  I'm using Terry Ewell's articles on bassoon pedagogy and reed making pedagogy with a Senoir Bassoon Performance major who was required to take pedagogy.  Arthur Weisburg's book, The Art of Wind Playing, is another good resource.

Dale Clark
Arkansas State University

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Re: Master's Program for Bassoon

I actually am a senior Bassoon Performance major, and in my required bassoon pedagogy class (independent study) we are reading Terry Ewell's articles and using The Art of Wind Playing as our textbook. Also, my teacher and I discuss postings from this forum, he has printed off some older discussions from the email list, and also look at other articles from the journal! I find it all very useful and interesting.

Also, I will be entering a master's program in bassoon performance in the fall, and what has been mentioned here as far as the requirements sounds very much like what is expected from me in the coming years. I like that it was mentioned that the approach should be different depending on what the student expects from the degree. Personally, I would have auditioned for an "Orchestral Studies" master's program if that were my career goal. At this point, I am not interested in winning a major chair, I am simply loving the bassoon and wanting to be the best performer I can become.

This is a very interesting topic...

Alexis.

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