The Bassoon is just like any other band instrument it takes air to make it play and practice to sound good! No matter what some teachers say, almost anyone can play bassoon regardless of their body size or hand size. The Bassoon is a beautiful, wonderful instrument! This site will get you started on learning how to play Bassoon. Follow the drop down links above for step by step instruction on how to play the Bassoon.
Before you get started read below!
It is expected that all students using this website have played another instrument and know basic musicianship. You will also need to know some fundamentals of playing a wind instrument such as proper breathing, proper sitting posture, and instrument position. This website is only a resource for instrumentalists switching to bassoon. Private lessons are highly recommended as it is the best way of instruction.
Why Play Bassoon?
Firstly, the bassoon is a very beautiful and elegant instrument
It has a unique sound and adds depth to any ensemble
You will have more opportunities for solos
The bassoon usually has very important musical lines
You be able to play in concert band, orchestra, and small wind ensembles!
You will have a better chance of being accepted into honor groups, such as a Provincial Honor Band or All-State Band
You will also have a much better chance for scholarships, bursaries and acceptance into post secondary institutions
My Band doesn't have a Bassoonist
Some bands don’t have bassoons because the directors feel unqualified to start a student bassoonist. There is also a misconception that the bassoon is really difficult to teach and to learn. Not so! Many elements of playing bassoon are similar to those involved in playing other woodwind instruments. The bassoon is just like any other woodwind but with an extension so it can play lower and has similar fingering to the oboe and the lower octave of the clarinet. With a little bit of effort and practice, you too can play the bassoon!
A Brief History of the Bassoon
The modern bassoon has a colorful and complex past. It evolved from a 16th century instrument known as the “dulcian”. This ancestor of the bassoon, which was also played with a double reed, was made out of a single piece of wood rather than the four separate sections common to today's bassoon and it provided the important bass line in early 16th century music.
Later in the 17th century, it was the French who transformed the one-piece dulcian into the multi-sectioned instrument that we have today. Carl Almenräder (1786-1843) is the most significant contributor to the design of the modern bassoon. He improved the sound and note capabilities of the instrument. In 1831, he and J. A. Heckel founded a factory which manufactured the modern German system bassoon. During the 18th and 19th centuries the bassoon was gradually improved and refined. It evolved from the three-key model played during the time of Mozart to six keys during Hayden's time to the the present 17 to 24 key versions of today.
Today the bassoon is used in the symphony orchestra, wind symphony, opera, and most recently in the contemporary musicals of the 20th century, television, and movie soundtracks. These versatile instruments add to the bass line, play solos and blend well with other instruments. Innumerable composers (Vivaldi, Mozart, Mahler, Villa-Lobos, Saint-Saëns and Stravinsky, just to name a few) have written for the bassoon, particularly during the 18th century, and the repertoire includes impressive parts in orchestral scores, woodwind ensemble music and many bassoon solo concertos.