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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)
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  • #88241
    Neville Forsythe
    Participant

    Welcome to the Teaching Forum.

    We hope to be able to stimulate lively, constructive debate; share problems and solutions; inform members of helpful resources and techniques any of us find of assistance in teaching double reed instruments.

    Hopefully, helpully yours

    Neville Forsythe (moderator)

    #104160
    Neville Forsythe
    Participant

    Like all “good” radio talk-show hosts (whom I despise and go out of my way to avoid listening to), I will kick the ball off with a provocative statement:

    Instalment 1

    I have a pet hobby horse, which is to overhaul the fingering charts of bassoon and contrabassoon – both enormously counter-intuitive and in my opinion, a major block to early rapid progress, (not to mention fluency and security of fingerings).
    I guess it might even help other woodwinds. A secondary benefit is the clarity of using ascii text to code fingerings.
    No doubt there will be drawbacks and even resistance. However I am looking forward to feedback on this and many other “good” ideas which members must have.

    Neville

    #104162
    Frank Watson
    Participant

    When teaching private lessons to young students, I am often appalled at the fingerings they use. Fingering charts in most beginner band method books are outright wrong most of the time. I try to pay particular attention to such basic fingerings as: Oboe- which “F” fingering is the first choice (and why); the correct fingering for 3rd space C#; use of LH Eb key; when to use 1/2 hole and when to use 1st and 2nd 8va keys — Bassoon- a useable fingering for 3rd space Eb (I teach to add rh 2 and Bb); where to use 1/2 hole; where whisper key comes off; proper flick key use; nearly all fingerings above middle C. My experience is that if a student masters these basic fingerings early, and practices using them regularly, they will be much more likely to develop into good players.

    #104159
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    I agree with BassoonII. I like to teach the “better/best” fingerings early on. I know some teachers don’t do this. I am not sure if they feel some students might be discouraged with fingerings that are usually more difficult. I don’t believe it is because they don’t know the fingerings. There are always students who continually try to get away with the simpler “wrong” or “less good” fingering but I am equally persistent that they learn the better fingering and to do this I demonstrate the reasons why. They always agree but between lessons often forget. Kent

    #104158
    Candi Morris
    Participant

    I, too, agree with BassoonII! First, in teaching oboe, I never use a “band” method (I use the Gekeler method, that favors teaching sharp keys over flat keys at first)…using band methods often lead oboists to believe that forked F is the only choice for F, and some band books even advertise using the “open” C# fingering as a vaild 3rd space C# fingering! This is largely due to the use of flat keys in band methods, as well as beginner oboes with limited keywork. Another issue I find often is that student believe that “sliding” between fingerings (for example, RH Db to Eb) is the accepted norm, rather than a rare exception.

    So, I teach the better/best fingering combinations early on as well. Even if the student doesn’t have a LH F key, I explain that when the student gets an instrument that does have that key, what the preferred situations to use fingerings will be. And, I have students mark which combinations they will use for their exercises early on, to get them thinking about possibilities.

    Candi

    #104157
    Darlene Vandewater
    Participant

    I agree about the fingerings. My student’s parents bought her a nice Yamaha oboe for starters that has all the neccessary keys (left F, left Eb, etc) and I make her use all of them properly. I told her “Your parents paid extra for all those keys, you should learn to use them!” Haha. Seriously, I told her the same thing—the fingerings may feel awkward at first, but will make her life a whole lot easier down the road. I wish my first oboes had had all the bells & whistles!

    I also make her mark the music for which F and Eb key to use. (Why the heck not, I do it myself sometimes!)

    The band method her band director is using has very good fingerings for oboe included– I checked! And they are all accurate; lucky for us! I can’t remember the name of the method, but I will see her Wednesday night and will follow up.

    #104163
    Claire Binkley
    Participant

    I must also agree with BassoonII. My first two or three years with the oboe there were no oboe teachers available, so I learned entirely via band methods. It caused SO MANY fingering problems that took me FOREVER to iron out. (I think I still make my poor teacher rip his hair out sometimes.) The only one of the oboe problems mentioned in this thread that I DIDN’T have was that I knew not to use “open C#”.

    The band methods are a horrendous way to teach a LOT of instruments, I’ve found: they’re counterintuitive so that the band director can make all the kids play together ASAP. (I paged through an oboe book in my store and it starts with teaching D.) But if something of a poor quality will get kids who would otherwise not play at all into the band and orchestra program, I’ll put up with them.

    Are we going to make an “Ultimate IDRS Fingering Chart” then? It might serve as a handy reference; maybe a fold-up for each instrument that can be taken out of The Double Reed for reference.

    #104164
    Patricia Emerson Mitchell
    Participant

    When a new student (or parent) contacts me about oboe lessons I first ask about the oboe; if they haven’t rented one yet, I tell them to get one with the left F (if it has that, it has have the low B-flat, or so I’ve found, and so far they’ve also had the F resonance key). If they already have an oboe with missing keys I give them a few months to replace it.

    After using a Linton (yikes!) for a short time, I moved to a Lym in my early days. There was no left F, and the fingering books all had me using the E-flat key for F, of course. I can’t tell you how difficult it was to get over those fingering problems. (Even now I sometimes struggle with left F!) So I explain to my students and parents about my situation, and tell them I’m doing them a favor.

    I use the Gekeler (and to the horror of some, the Rubank … for my young’uns it is often better because it moves slower). Gekeler, at least when I last checked, which was a few days ago, doesn’t use left F. I change the fingering charts the minute I can.

    What I’d love is a book that teaches “fingerings first” rather than keys. For instance, rather than learning the G major key with F#, I’d like to teach F#/G-flat. I’d like to test my system out and see if students have less of a struggle with certain notes … for instance, they learn B-flat long before A#. When they finally see and A# they tend to get confused, and often play an A-flat, which they learned earlier on.

    In any case, it’s this idea I have, and I’d love to give it a go sometime. I could be all wrong; perhaps nothing will help with these little “glitches” some students have. But I figure it’s worth a try! So eventually I want to start, with the help of the Sibelius program, putting together a beginning book.

    When I’m done with my other projects, maybe.

    #104165
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    Patty:
    I teach a double reed methods class but we don’t have any Linton oboes. I am interested in how bad they really are. Is it the pitch, tone and response that are poor. What else? Keywork? I know most bassoon teachers would not recommend a Linton bassoon unless this is all the student could afford and even then it may be better to look for something else. Is this true for oboe too. Thanks, Kent

    #104166
    Patricia Emerson Mitchell
    Participant

    Kent:
    My apologies! Big error from me … I just remembered … I did NOT have a Linton oboe! I had a Linton English horn! And I had it longer than I should have. Fortunately (really!) it was stolen from my dorm room in my freshman year in college. I replaced it with a fabulous Rigotaut that RDG picked out.

    Silly me … how could I have forgotten that? I suppose I must have started on a school oboe (probably an awful thing, but I honestly can’t remember that first oboe) when I began in 7th grade as a 10 year old, and then my folks bought the Lym. It’s a bit of a blur. Sorry … this was so long ago (back in the late 60s) that my memory has failed me. Sigh.

    The Linton was a ROTTEN English horn. Bad sound. Out of tune like crazy. Thin, thin, thin sound. Really rotten all around. I even said, shortly before it was stolen, “I wish someone would just steal this!” Little did I know …. Crazy thing was, I landed my first symphony job the very next year. I certainly wouldn’t have even auditioned had I still owned the Linton. Or at least I HOPE I wouldn’t have!

    What KILLS me is that I sold my (historical) Lym. It wasn’t a great oboe, but I’m sorry I didn’t hang on to it in any case. It also came with a matching knife (that someone took from my school … imagine … I took my KNIFE to school with me!) that had a special spot in the case, as well as a matching screw driver (wood handle, not metal).

    Ah well, hindsight.

    I’ve never missed the Linton EH, though.

    #104167
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    Thanks for the info Patty. I had a student one year at our music camp here at NAU and I felt bad afterwards because she was playing a Linton and it was a very poor instrument and some notes could not be played in tune. I nicely told her it was holding her back. In other words, it was the instrument’s fault and not her fault that she couldn’t play in tune. Later, I found out her parents were not happy that I had criticized her bassoon. Her parents had bought it for her. I told her that any bassoon is expensive and because her parents bought her any bassoon it showed that they were totally dedicated to her and her music education. I am now more careful what I say to young students about their instruments though I think students need to know why they can’t play in tune. Even I could not play it in tune. Thanks again, Kent

    #104168
    Claire Binkley
    Participant

    Hey Kent, I played a Linton oboe for about ten minutes when my Yamaha was in repair, I hadn’t gotten my Loree yet, and the second oboist was scared to play a band solo, so she handed me her instrument. I immediately made a horrendous squawk because the reed was bad, but when I got it to work, the sound was extremely thin and… well, plasticky. It was so bizarre sounding because it was that quacky sound of a beginner oboe with a more advanced player’s phrasing and vibrato.

    #104169
    Patricia Emerson Mitchell
    Participant
    Kent Moore wrote:
    I am now more careful what I say to young students about their instruments though I think students need to know why they can’t play in tune. Even I could not play it in tune.

    Yes, indeed! One of the things I do, if a student’s parents have already purchased a bad instrument, is to play mine and then play the same piece on theirs. The parents are often quite shocked! It helps if they can hear that difference rather than being told they made an error in a purchase. So often they made the assumption that their child wasn’t sounding good merely because he or she was a beginner. I can often even manage to make everyone laugh when I sound out of tune on those awful instruments. (I think the parents are somewhat relieved, actually … fearing, prior to that, that their child was just awful and there no hope.)

    I sure wish parents would consult with a good teacher before jumping in and buying an instrument; so many purchase the instrument and only after that look for the teacher. They just look for the least expensive oboe. (grumble)

    Hmmm … guess that’s something I should blog about, eh? :)

    #104161
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    Thanks, Claire, for confirming what I assumed about the Linton oboe. Who knows maybe someone will chime in with a positive experience :) Kent

    #104170
    Kent Moore
    Participant

    Patty:
    Yes, when I told that student it was not her fault and that it was her instrument’s, my intention was to make her feel good, especially when I couldn’t play it either. But that is not how she took it. I was insulting her instrument and to her it was precious so I am careful in my wording now. Kent

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 18 total)

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