4th Bassoon Lesson with Terry B. Ewell (2008, BDP #35)

<music: Vivaldi's Concerto in E minor>

In this particular lesson you will be learning about two very important aspects in music. 
If you think about music is actually really quite simple. If you play your notes in time
in tune with a good tone you have accomplished an awful lot of the technique required 
play music.

Now I understand that there's other features to music:vibrato, musicality, phrasing, 
dynamics and things like that. But if you master these three aspects of music: playing 
time, in tune, and with a good tone; you are well on your way to really being a fine musician.

So this lesson is going to be important because we are going to handle two those aspects.

We are going to talk about playing time and then later in the next lesson we are going to talk 
about playing in tune. So you might want to think of there being five aspects to starting a tone. 
[1] First exhale to clear the air our your lungs. [2] Next inhale, [3] put your tongue on the tip 
of the reed [4] start the air pressure and [5] then release the tongue. 

You need to do all those over in such a time and in such a place that you can start the first 
note on time.

So let's take a look a little exercise and practice our breathing before we start notes. So this first 
exercise: you can see we have a measure rest, a breath, and then two half notes. I am going to 
set the metronome for the pulse of 60 and we are going to practice our breathing in two 
different ways. Let's practice first breathing in over two beats and then starting the first note.

So just like this.


I took a breath over to the two beats. That gave me plenty of time to take a big breath. This is the 
sort of thing I would do for a very long phrase. But most often I time my breathing to the beats in 
some way. So let's just try breathing in now with just a single beat for the breath. 


Before I breathed in I had to make sure that I had exhaled the air out of my lungs. So when exhaling 
I breathed out on beat three (out), breathed in on beat four, and then I started the note.

Work on this so that you can you can time and start the note properly right after the breath.

The next exercise I have here deals with two half notes and then you have to breathe between 
the half notes and two other half notes. So consequently these four half notes are not the same duration.

When I have to breathe between two notes I have to actually cut off the note on right before the breath.
So consequently these four notes are not of equal value. I have to breathe in this instance after the 
second note, cutting a little bit short in order to enter on time in the third note. So let's try that.

Again I have my metronome set for 60.


Try that exercise several times until you have really mastered it.

Timing those breaths are often little bit difficult and you need to practice them many times until you have 
mastered it. One of the most common things for wind players is to be late after a breath.

Working with a metronome on these sort of issues here helps you with your timing and makes certain 
that you're playing the notes on time. Listen very carefully to your playing.

So let's give an example here of something that is in one of our study books.  You can see here that 
there are breaths given after the half note in measure 2, the fourth half note, and the exercise continues on. 

So let's play this again with the metronome again which I have set for 60. I am going to take my breaths 
and play this as written.


I forgot how that goes on. In any case I played the next note. 

So you can see that I have to steal a little value from the note just before the breath and breathe in quickly 
and then play the next note. In these instances I didn't breathe a whole beat. I've learned well enough in my 
playing to cheat the note a little bit and take my breath. But at this point, in this lesson you might need 
entire beat to breathe in. That's just fine. Just  make sure that you enter on the next note in time.

<music: Vivaldi's "La Notte">