Topic: Throat, mouth cavity, lip pressure, air stream, hand position
I'm a long time lurker but this is my first post. First off I'd like to thank everyone for making this forum such a great resource. I hope in time I can contribute just as much as a lot of you here.
I'm a senior in high school at the moment and am off to college next year. I've been frustrated this past year with my bassoon playing. At one of my college auditions I was told I had a lot of bad habits but the professor was very vague. I asked him to elaborate and he gave me one example of something but I was still very confused overall.
My tuning and tone are my weakest points. I want to go over the basics to see if I have things straight.
This is how I understand things, along with some questions:
Throat- Needs to be relaxed and open. Like you are saying "Ahhh". Should this feel "natural", as in not much variation in how you are as you go about your life between how you are when you play bassoon?
Mouth cavity- Open, teeth apart. Tongue down. How open should this be? As much as you need to to sound open and play in tune? What about as you move up and down the register? I've been told that you keep the same embouchure for every note as you use for low Bb with a variation in air speed to keep well in tune.
Lip pressure- Your lips are shaped the same way you would say "one" on the "wuh" part. Or like a draw string bag. Point is, corners in and equal pressure around the reed. With more lip touching the reed, you get a warmer sound. How tight is this supposed to be? Obviously with different reeds this may need to change but should I strive for reeds that allow my lip pressure to be relaxed?
Air stream- You should play using your air. When you go from low Bb to high C use air and not too many or any embouchure changes. What is the ratio of mouth cavity openess to lip pressure to throat to air stream?
Hand position- How much weight should be put on left hand? I have big thighs so when I play, the bassoon does not rest against the chair but my thigh. I think this may put more weight on my left hand.
Seat strap needs to be close to the front of the chair. My pinky also locks on my right hand making it extremely difficult and painful to play fast passages using Ab and low F. Has anybody had this and fixed it?
I'd like to hear how y'all deal with intonation issues. Do you blow flat notes up or "lip up"? When you "lip up" is it just a pinching of the reed or the throat? A combination of multiple things?
A lot of my low register is pefectly in tune, but when I get to around C in the staff and up, that's when the struggle begins. It is sooo annoying. I'm beginning to get discouraged from practicing because of all the confusion, I can't stand playing this out of tune. I know I need to keep pressing on though, so I do.
I'd like to know if I have any misunderstandings. I'd also like to hear different ways of looking at things. Thank you for your time. Anything is greatly appreciated!