Topic: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

Hi
I'm a new member, and have joined the forum in a bid to help my teaching!
I have a student who gained his Grade 8 bassoon three years ago, and is now in his final year of school. He doesn't want to do his Diploma, and is not going on to study music after school. I am running out of ideas of things to do in his weekly half-hour lesson. We have covered the standard Mozart/Weber/Hummel concertos and weber andante and Rondo, and have also been though others such as Milde studies and Bourgois Fantasy Pieces. would really appreciate any recommended pieces or technical exercises that I could do with him, as I have exhausted a lot of my own, and don't want him to get bored. He tends to have a wobbly tone on long high notes, so any tried and tested ideas would be great too!

Thanks so much!

Last edited by rob_bassoon (2008-09-15 01:35:21)

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Re: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

Hi Rob:

Welcome.  Does your student like orchestral music. You could have him listen to some of the big bassoon pieces and then he could study those.  My students enjoy learning about those like Tchaik 4,5, 6 and RK Scheherezade, Shostakovich 9, Bartok Concerto for Orchestra, Ravel Bolero, Stravinsky Rite and Firebird, etc.  Let us know what you decide.  Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

how about trying to find a few other players like an oboist, flautist,etc that he can hook up with and do small ensemble pieces, like trios or quintet stuff?  They could meet on their own, but you could coach him at his lesson - there is so much great repertoire out there, and it would give him a reason to keep playing once he's out of school.  Maybe even get some freelance work.

Darlene

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Re: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

Just a thought, but maybe you could put him on some baroque (Vivaldi, Telemann, Galliard) or even contemporary, like the Hindemith Sonata, to keep him interested.  Some of them are pretty technical, and all have incredible interpretation or ornamentation possibilities.

Tanner Holst
University Bassoonist
Utah

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Re: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

Hi Rob

I've just cut & pasted from the scheme I developed for NZ senior high school students (see Teaching Forum- "Bassoon Scheme Beginner to HS Graduate") - certainly these pieces are in the grade 8 level and beyond- indeed some are really university level.     - Neville             

            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: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

Hi again Rob

Re-reading your post I saw your comment about "wobbly on long high notes".

It is quite possible that such a feature indicates too much focus on bite pressure in relation to breath pressure (I prefer to  call it "compression" as it involves more than just blowing firmly). It may seem unusual to conceive of the (relatively thin) cheeks as having outer and inner muscles. Yet I have come to feel that my best control of the cheeks is to imagine I am drawing them inwards perhaps like the strings of a parapont glider can be pulled inwards. i.e I do not think I am tightening the muscles on the outside (like a grimace), but keeping a relatively neutral facial pose (the long solemn jaw-dropped face of he professional mourner / undertaker).
Inside the mouth however, modification to jaw and tongue (as in whistling) are what achieve the changing air compression as it fires into the reed for high notes or flows more smoothly for lower notes. Of course actual lip placement is a factor (but perhaps surprisingly less than some of us have believed).

Of course the student may be varying the acoustic ("whistle") shape during a single note - or varying diaphragm support (which should remain pretty constant over the range of the bassoon). The whistle shape (compression) modulates from aw - oo - eu - eeeu going from lowest to highest and perhaps is the most changing feature out of breath support, bite and compression.

Hope there are some ideas to explore with your student.

Do read other posts on Embouchure, Breath Support etc.

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

Rob, Here's a brief list of studies "to keep students from becoming bored". They are listed in order of difficulty. The Ferling etudes are particularly useful because they can be played in bass clef or tenor clef (using some changes to accidentals):

Ferling, W    48 Famous Studies for Bassoon, Op.31 arr from the Oboe studies    Southern, 1968
Giampieri, A    16 Studi Giornalieri di Perfezionamento    Ricordi
Lacour, Guy    28 Studies in O. Messiaen's modes of limited transposition for the bassoon    Billaudot

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: Advanced Bassoon pupil - help needed!

I have no idea what a bassoonist who "gained his Grade 8 bassoon three years ago" is capable of. However, I think the Bravura Studies by Orefici are great for advanced students. If you really want to stretch his ability, put the Berio Sequenza XII in front of him. That piece would take me the rest of the school year to learn (if not considerably longer).

"It's not my job to give you the pulse! It's your job to figure it out!"
-An Allegedly Professional Conductor

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