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 …

Every-other-week Lessons

This post is about the dreaded every-other-week lesson schedule. I don’t like to put students on this schedule. I try to avoid it at all costs, unless the cost is that the student will have no lessons. Every-other-week lessons are better than no lessons, obviously, so these are the measures I have put into place Read More …

Students who don’t practice

Students who don’t practice can be very frustrating for a teacher. I feel that there are two equally appropriate ways to approach these students: Drop them Embrace what they do bring to each lesson Dropping Students There are many reasons to drop a student. This post isn’t about dropping a student for failure to pay or 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 …

Help for Moldy Reeds

Reeds that are stored in wet, moist, or humid environments often grow mold (sometimes referred to as mildew). I’ve compiled advice from many bassoonists on how to get rid of the mold once you have it. I’ve also written up advice for preventing mold in the first place. You don’t have to do all of Read More …

Teaching Theory to Your Bassoon Students

We can’t leave it up to the piano teachers and public school teachers anymore. We need to be teaching theory to our bassoon students. When students understand the structure and elements of what they are practicing, their practice becomes much more effective. When they can look at a scale and say “Oh, that’s just a Read More …

Reproducible Theory Materials with Tenor Clef!

I’ve been teaching bassoon for over 15 years and have only recently added theory to my curriculum. I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t see teaching theory as my responsibility. I have had a complete change of heart! The following is a review of the theory materials I am using with many of my Read More …

Bassoon Lesson Assignment Sheet – FREE DOWNLOAD

I use a printed assignment sheet with my students. I fill a new one out at each lesson and have the students save the old ones in a binder at home. It serves as a great reference for fingerings, exercises, and pieces they’ve worked on and/or performed. I used to write down weekly assignments in Read More …