How to Teach Tenor Clef

I remember learning tenor clef. My bassoon teacher told me I needed to learn it, but didn’t tell me how. I went to the music store and asked for tenor clef flash cards. They didn’t exist (this was pre-internet, of course). After a few months of hard slog, I finally had it figured out. I Read More …

Basic Reed Adjusting Kit

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get your students (or yourself) equipped to adjust reeds. This is not a post on how to adjust reeds, rather it’s a list of the specific things to collect so the adjustments can happen. The following is a list of the materials I recommend and Read More …

Breathing & Support

Teaching students to breathe properly is difficult. Teaching them to support is even more difficult. An approach that works for some students won’t work for others. I’ve collected advice from around the web (and the library) to help you as you teach your students proper breathing/support techniques. All students struggle to understand what the diaphragm Read More …

Method Books for Bassoon

Are you a new teacher wondering where to begin? Or perhaps you have a current student who is not progressing. Placing your student in the right method book can revolutionize your teaching experience. It took me a few years to understand that not every student must begin with Weissenborn. In this post I will highlight the Read More …

Bassoon Etudes used by Norman Herzberg

Norman Herzberg (a premier bassoon pedagogue of the 20th century) assigned standard bassoon etude books in a specific sequence. He had every student work through every etude—in order. He required his students to use standard fingerings on every note because “There is no point in trying to avoid a technical difficulty by changing a fingering. After Read More …

Playing High Eb, E and F

Have you ever wished that you could get some special high note fingerings from one of the world’s great bassoonists? Thanks to William Short of the Metropolitan Opera, now you can. His blog post The Stratosphere provides fingerings he learned from Bernard Garfield. You’ll have to link to his blog for the actual fingering diagrams, but Read More …

Standing vs. Sitting

My students love watching bassoon videos on YouTube. It doesn’t take very many videos before they start asking me if they should be playing the bassoon standing up. I have never been really confident in my answer, as I tried the whole standing thing back in 2008, and it didn’t work for me. Fortunately, I Read More …

Teaching Bassoon Embouchure

A correct bassoon embouchure is not something that students figure out on their own. While there are multiple acceptable embouchures (dependent upon teacher, country, reed style, bassoon setup, etc.), the embouchure most beginning bassoonists default to is incorrect. A thin, wide, lips around teeth, biting embouchure is never appropriate. I guarantee that you will have Read More …