First Bassoon Lesson, Part 2. BDP #26.

<Music: Vivaldi's Concerto in E minor for bassoon and strings>

OK, we have our bassoon put together. Now we need to talk about the playing
position, and in particular how to support the bassoon.

Most American bassoonists use a seat strap, which usually is made out of leather.
Some seat straps have a hook, others have a ring, which fits around the boot joint
cap of the bassoon. When you put on the seat strap, the hook goes in the hole
nearest you. 

The bassoon is going to be like this in your lap. You need to have it in this hole,
not in the one on the opposite side: that would create a problem. So go ahead and
put this on the bassoon. Then the seat strap  needs to slide under you.

Notice we haven't put on the bocal yet. We will be doing that a little bit later. I
don't want you to poke out your eye. We are first going to look at the bassoon and 
how to finger it. The bassoon is off to my right hand side, just off my right hip

See that I am seated on the leather seat strap. The left hand goes over the wing
joint (tenor joint) and the long joint. On most bassoons there are three holes
here. (I will come up to the camera shortly.) You cover these three holes with your
fingers. Then on the back side there are keys for the thumb. I will come up to the
camera so that you can have a look at that again. So there's the left hand. It
covers hole number one. This is the hole that is open to play F [fa] and we close
it to play E [mi].

This is for playing D [re]. And then C [do] is often a hole but on this particular
instrument we have this extension key which  is very nice for smaller hands. Then
in the back here the one key we are learning about today that is called the
"whisper key." Here is the key right here. It activates this mechanism that will be
closing a little hole on the bocal.

The right hand is situated down here. For our first lesson we are not worrying
about the right hand. We are working with the left hand. For people with a large
right hand they might want to have a crutch [hand rest]. This is a device that fits
into a post. But for now we are not worrying about the right hand.

So in terms of seating with the bassoon, the bassoon itself has weight that pulls
you forward. So I think that in order to counterbalance the bassoon [you should]
actually lean back, with your back situated on the chair. This is a good idea. I
encourage my students to sit all the way back. Be in a comfortable position.
Perhaps just lean back slightly with the bassoon this way. 

OK, now we are ready to put on the bassoon bocal. It is very important when you put
on the bassoon bocal that you don't grip it by this end, but you grip it by the
top. Slide it in here. If it is very stiff, it might need some cork grease on it.
It does have a cork.

Make sure that this pad is not down. Sometimes there are whisper key locks that
force this pad down. The lock may be on this part of your instrument or it may be
where the whisper key is. Make sure the pad is open. The bocal slides in so that
the pad will seal the hole on the bocal.

OK, so before we put the bassoon reed on, let's see about adjusting our position.
First you sit up straight with your back to the chair, and bring the bocal to you.
Oh! You can see that mine is too low. So I have to raise it up. 

Grab the end of the seat strap and raise it up a little bit. 

That's better.

So now we are ready to put on the bassoon reed. 

The bassoon reed slides on the end of the bocal. 

I sit up straight and bring the bassoon reed to me. 

I am ready to try to play with it. 

So for your first lesson I am going to teach you three fingerings. Put the whisper
key down. (I will come up to the camera to show you this soon.)

E, first finger.

D, second finger.

C, third finger. 

Here it is again. So the whisper key is down.

E [mi],

D [re],

C [do].

So the little tune I am going to teach you is "Hot Cross Buns."

Start on the E. It is E, D, C. Let's try this.

If you have your bassoon out, go ahead and try this or you can try this later.

To start and stop the notes I had to put my tongue on the reed. When the tongue
goes on the reed, the reed then stops [vibrating].

So practice that a little bit--“Hot Cross Buns”--those three notes.

Now we are ready to take apart the bassoon and show you how the swabs work. 

<Music: Vivaldi's 'La Notte" Bassoon Concerto>