Beginning Bassoon methods

The IDRS Forum is an archived resource. Some boards will remain open for discussions. Visit the Marketplace to list items for sale, or the Community Events and Openings page to list and search job openings, community shared events, and educational openings. Visit the IDRS Fingering page to search and suggest fingerings.

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Home Forums Pedagogy Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips Beginning Bassoon methods

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #88541
    Jim Fellows

    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

    Neville Forsythe

    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 Forsythe

    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.





    Neville Forsythe

    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

    Bryan Cavitt

    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

    Neville Forsythe

    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

    Steven Morgan

    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.

    Neville Forsythe

    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.


Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)

The forum ‘Teaching – General: Solutions, Question, Tips’ is closed to new topics and replies.