Monday, February 11, 2008

No bassoon, please

I don't play the bassoon. I know there are many woodwind specialists and doublers out there who play both oboe and bassoon, but I am an oboist. The two instruments are completely different. I don't know how to put a bassoon together. I don't know any fingerings. I know squat about their reeds. Yes, we are both double reed instruments. But if you pull a bassoonist and an oboist out of band to have them work on their music together (say, with a specialist), they are most likely going to have completely different parts to work on. This is frustrating as a so-called specialist. Of course I can talk about musical issues. I am quite happy to listen to the student play the Mozart Bassoon Concerto, but it is a disservice to the student to not offer a bassoon specialist. Their band teacher plays bassoon. That's wonderful. At least they'll have that resource at a time outside of sectionals, for which I'm hired. But when you put the oboes and bassoons together, they are not going to get the same level of instruction (including the oboes, as my attention is split and my expertise is not being utilized) as the other sections. And the band teacher's response to "I don't play the bassoon"?..."Just have fun!" Sigh.


Karmen said...

I hear you loud and clear Jill! I just got hired to do something similar in April. I brought up a lot of the same points, but the teacher wants to put them together. *sigh*

Luckily, I used an extra credit to take some oboe lessons when I did my Master's degree - but that was almost 6 years ago. Do you think I still remember fingerings?!? At least I can address embouchure a little if I have to.

My big question is - how is it that we've been friends for almost half our lives and you don't even know how to put together a bassoon?!?!? :)

Tell you what - I'll send you a quick & dirty checklist of common beginner/high school bassoon problems and fixes, and some things to watch for. You send me the same, and we'll be in business! Sound like a plan?

(Speaking of things double-reedy - are you thinking of going to the IDRS conference this year?)

Leoal said...

I don't even know what a bassoon is! And the only reason I know what an oboe is because I looked it up on Wikipedia. However, I can play Jingle Bells and Doh A Deer on Ian's Jungle Friends Xylophone. So that's progress, I guess. So yah, good luck with that.

Mary K Swaffield said...

I can feel your pain. Too often, I end up with an oboe student as well, mixed in with 10 flutists... and you're right, it's not just unfair for the odd-one-out, it's unfair to the rest of the group too. Tough situation!