Topic: Beginning Bassoon methods

I have never been quite happy with what I have been using for absolute beginners (with no experience on another instrument). It generally includes the Rubank Beginning for a bit (but it always seems to go too high too soon), then piece-in Weissenborn and a few other snippets of my own until the student is better established. I know there are a few new bassoon methods out, but generally haven't had that many students that I have started from square-one, so I haven't looked into them. Any suggestions?

Jim Fellows

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Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

Hi Jim

I have cut & pasted from a reply to an Australian graduate's survey on Bassoon teaching regarding my first tutor of choice - "The Young Bassoonist" which I use with my own fingering chart (another matter altogether). I will send you a PDF to your email address.

A few details about The Young Bassoonist.

It is clearly laid out with fairly large staves / notes. No fingerings are offered.

Each tune is accompanied by a smaller preliminary c. 2.5 cm long stave with the new notes or intervals.

Tune 1 is Suo-Gan (1st version) using EDC 4/4

Tune 2 is Au Clair de la Lune (Extending downwards to BAG) 4/4

Tune 3 is Song of the Crib (same range) 3/4

All 3 use crotchets and minims and slurs. (repeats are also presented along with simple dynamics p pp mf mp although I encourage a full strong supported tone to start with).

Tune 4 is Song of the Volga Boatmen (open F, introduces a pair of quavers, cresc & decresc)

Tune 5 is O Come All Ye Faithful (new note middle G, range G-G, dotted crotchet / quaver)

Tune 6 is See Amid the Winter's Snow (movement C-G, B-G)

And so on introducing progressively: low F, 9/4, Bb, upper A, 2/2 3/2, B, C, dotted quaver / semiquaver,  Bb, 6/8, low EDC, F#'s, Eb, Ab's, C#, upper D, C#, E Eb, F.

The tunes are a mix of hymns, folksongs mainly of British origin. Most are very approachable and seem to suit the bassoon's voice and character very well.

The arrangements are all by Sydney Lawton.

I find the progression rate varies from "steady", (the book may take a year or more to complete), to "race-horse", (it may be completed in a few months by a student with previous woodwind experience - including recorder).

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

Here it is at last - I have finally worked out how to share images with the rest of the Forum - no easy matter.


This is my fingering chart mentioned to  Jim in earlier mails about Beginning Bassoon Methods

Feel free to discuss the pro's & con's - try it with a few beginner students - you may be surprised at its user friendliness and intuitive aptness to human hands/brains.  I do not claim that the actual fingerings are definitive - what I am trying to show is that any fingering of any complexity can actually be reduced to simple codes easily understood and more importantly memorised.  It is a lucky spin off that it (IMHO) improves the format for sharing fingerings using a single horizontal line of ASCII symbols i.e. letters and numbers.


You can simply drag the image off the page on to your desktop to copy or print.


http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~forclift/Bsn%20Finger%20Diagram72.jpg

http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~forclift/BsnP172.jpg



http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~forclift/BsnP272.jpg



http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~forclift/BsnP372.jpg

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

Try a few fingerings for the newly published chart:

Th a 1/2 2 3 :  1     4

Th a 1/2 2 3 :      3

Th bc 1 2 3 :         3

Th AB 1 2 3 4a : ThB 1 2 3 4

Th e 1/2 2 3 :  1a      4a

Th a       2 3 :  ThA 1 2

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

If the student is an absolute beginner, I will use whatever method book the school system uses to teach with appropriate changes in fingerings (Eb, G).  I will incorporate Weissenborn as soon as I can along with an easy solo so they can have their fun too!  No complaints yet!

Bryan Cavitt
Bassoonist, Elkhart (IN) Municipal Band; Bassoon Dad & Uncle

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Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

Please revisit my earlier post of the new fingering chart to get a copy of the accompanying fingering diagrams -  if you drag the images off onto your desktop you can review them, print etc

Ceers Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

I don't think there's a better method for beginners than the Weissenborn. I use this book exclusively and supplement it with whatever the student is playing in school. I’ve looked at other methods, but have never made the switch because I like the way the Weissenborn eases students above the break. I also think the duets are very beneficial. In my opinion, it’s a classic for good reasons.

"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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Re: Beginning Bassoon methods

I agree, but with the caveat that very young players benefit from something more approachable, and even older/faster students sort out the 2.4 octaves from low C - upper F with "The Young Bassoonist" (It also helps establish intonation as there are piano accompaniments).

Weissenborn is almost always my second source even though it retreats to a narrower range and rebuilds more chromatically. the duets as you observe are beneficial and can even be played by 2 students in some cases.

Neville

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor