Topic: bsnMethod for students beginning bassoon or tenoroon

Hello everyone,
I invite you to download a sample of my method for teaching beginning bassoonists attached to this post.
You can order a copy here.

bsnMethod is one of the few methods devoted to the beginner. It combines a modern pedagogical philosophy with sound instructional materials taken from the canon of great Western musical works, in a beginning method for bassoon or tenoroon. I'm thrilled at the progress my beginners are making- I hope you find it as useful as I have!

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bsnMethod_sample1.pdf 1.87 mb, 19 downloads since 2012-05-14 

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Re: bsnMethod for students beginning bassoon or tenoroon

Just a couple of observations...  everything looks pretty good and sequential...I assume this is aimed at beginners who are quite young, maybe below Middle School age (under 10) because it seems to move quite slowly.  35 pages is about the same length as a Beginner Band Method such as Essential Elements or Standard of Excellence, and I believe by the end of those Method Books students are playing four or five major scales and a chromatic scale of one octave, have a developed range of nearly 2 octaves, and have some duets and trios in their repertoire.  I'm not endorsing those Band Books for young Bassoonists, I get my young Bassoon students working in Weissenborn ASAP....35 pages into Weissenborn has students working in 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 3/8, 4/8, 6/8, 9/8, 2/2, 3/2 and 4/2 time signatures, if memory serves, with rhythms ranging from whole notes through halfs, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, as well as dotted halfs, quarters, eights, and perhaps sixteenths.  I also love the duets in Weissenborn and play at least one in every lesson with my young students. I find that my Beginner students, normally 5th or 6th grade, love the demands Weissenborn places on them, and almost always move through that traditional Method Book quite well and thrive on how quickly it presents new material. Almost all of my Beginner Bassoon students are involved in school Band programs, and Bassoon lessons are extra-curricular.

I do like the general appears neat and easy to read, not a strong attribute of traditional Weissenborns.  I'd like to see more duets for teacher/pupil, I'd like to see it move faster and introduce more notes and concepts.   

Frank Watson
Retired Middle School Band Director
Bassoon Instructor


Re: bsnMethod for students beginning bassoon or tenoroon

Thanks very much for these comments.
As you noticed, my method is indeed designed for those students who begin lessons with minimal musical experience, though I have also found it useful as a primer for more experienced students starting the bassoon.

To address the issue of pacing: This is an important consideration, and one that should ideally be tailored to each student’s needs. My method provides a unique opportunity for this, since it is based on a backbone of carefully-chosen melodies, with accompanying exercises designed to reinforce new and challenging concepts. There is plenty of built-in opportunity for individualized pacing: the teacher should choose which of the exercises are most helpful for individual students. For example, I will have a student who just “gets” rhythm skip many of the rhythm exercises, whereas these exercises are very useful for other students. In addition to teaching the student how to play bassoon, my method strives to help teach how to practice, and about music history and music theory.

You can get a sense of how much ground is covered in my method from the table of contents. However, the density of material is less than that of Weissenborn, so I would caution against direct “through page 35” comparisons. Also, perhaps I should have been more clear about the sample - it shows only 35 of the 78 pages of my method. The first 11 of those are introductory materials on music notation and information about the bassoon. The full method includes major scales up to 3 sharps and 4 flats, an introduction to natural, harmonic, and melodic minor, various rhythms and articulations, dynamics, several duets, and a modern fingering chart.

Of course, many teachers use the Weissenborn method. For those looking for a more gradual approach for their beginning students, I think bsnMethod is a good choice.