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 …

Plastic Reeds

My first bassoon teacher used plastic reeds. They were thin and produced a weak sound, but I didn’t know any better. They were cheaper and easier to play on than cane reeds, so I played on them for a couple of years. Then I switched teachers. Whoa. I quickly learned that plastic reeds were the worst 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 …