Second Bassoon Lesson, Part 1. BDP #30

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

This is Terry Ewell and I am glad that you have returned for your second bassoon
lesson. In this lesson we will be covering again the position of the bassoon and
posture. We are going to look at the position of the right hand and introduce a few
fingerings for the right hand. We are going to talk about how the angle of the
bocal and reed should enter into the mouth. Then breathing technique through the
mouth. And then conclude again with how to care for your bassoon when you put it
away in the case. 

If you don't remember how to put the bassoon together, be sure to look at the first

To start this, I have brought my bassoon for this particular lesson. I have a
different sort of seat strap that has a ring that goes around the boot joint. You
might see some white material here. I pasted some white felt on that years ago. It
has worn off. I am due to put that on again. That cushions the ring so that it
doesn't scrape against the cap that is on the boot joint.

Once again we need to position the bassoon underneath us. We have the support here.
I wanted to talk about another way to support the bassoon as well. You might have
noticed if you have seen my other videos that I use a neck strap or harness. 

On my bassoon I also have an extension.

This one is custom made, but there are also other similar extensions made for the
bassoon which hook on to the bassoon. It attaches on to the bassoon. I use the neck
strap then to additionally support the bassoon. I takes all the weight off of my
left hand. It also frees up my right hand. 

There are several other things you can use for the neck strap. There is this little
leather leash-like thing that wraps around the tenor and long joint that some of my
students have used. The neck strap then attaches there. 

Most bassoon bocals are created in such a way as to play the bassoon with a neck
strap, so that the bocal would enter straight into the mouth. However, since most
of us play in a seated position now a days. I think it's helpful to have a bocal
with a little bit different bend.

Bending and adjusting your bocal is something you should only have a repairman do.
These are very expensive. But you can see here and and in this particular bocal
that my bocal is bent up a little bit more. 

This is helpful then for me with [positioning] the bocal to have the bassoon reed
come straight into the mouth.

That is the issue. We are looking for the most comfortable position for you as a
performer. Get seated. Sit straight up in the seat. Have the bocal come straight
into the mouth.

Now, let's take a look at my right hand in its position on bassoon.

I will come up to the camera again.

I use a hand rest or a crutch because I have longer fingers. If you choose not to
use a crutch, the important thing is not to lean on this key. These other fingers
should not be moving from this particular joint. We want instead have free movement
from the knuckles here and want to avoid then just collapsing our fingers and then
moving more in this fashion. I created another video that's called "Fingering
Technique" where you can see the reason for that.

So people with larger hands and bigger hands such as mine might find it very
helpful to have the bassoon crutch.

Most bassoonists play with their crutch like this. I find it more comfortable like
that. It's just a personal choice.

Now for the fingerings for the second lesson we are going to learn to play B
natural [si], B2, and then A natural [la] which is A2, and then G, putting down
this fingering.

This will help you further in your lesson materials. 

I have to tell you now about something that is more radical. I am in the minority 
of bassoonists that breathe in this particular way. I breathe by dropping the lower
jaw--the mandible--instead of raising the head. 95% of the bassoonists breathe like

I breathe like this. 

I find that dropping the jaw allows for a quicker breath. I don't need to move my
entire head. The jaw being a smaller muscle [moves quicker]. When we talk we don't
move our head up and down either and yet many people when they breathe on the
bassoon anchor the lower lip breathing from above. If you play an instrument like
oboe or something like that, the instrument is not fixed so the instrument can move
and adjust. But our instrument is fixed [in place]. So I advocate that. I obviously
allow my students to make their own choice. But I think it provides for superior
and quicker breaths, and I think superior technique on the bassoon.

Now we're talking about breathing. In a moment you will see diagrams about
diaphragmatic breathing. That is using the diaphragm for breathing in and then
using other sets muscles to breathe out. You do not breathe out with the diaphragm.
You only breathe in with the diaphragm and the surrounding muscles. 

<Music: Vivaldi's "La Notte">