So I'm going into my junior year in high school. I've played saxophone for 4 years, and now I'm thinking about learning bassoon for my school's wind ensemble. My goal is to be proficient enough for the district honor band in January. Could I get some tips from some more experienced players? Thanks
The very first thing you should do is to find a teacher. You can probably get proficient by January if you practice hard and have a teacher, but you can practice hard and not have a teacher, and you won't make it, because this will give you a jump start. Bassoon is much more difficult than sax and you will need that extra help if you want to advance fast.
I tried the exact same thing except I was switching from clarinet. It was a killer and I ended up giving the bassoon back to the school anyway. If you know clarinet fingerings (like D is xxo|ooo and C is xxx|ooo) it makes it all tons easier. My biggest problem was holding the stupid thing up.
I hit the learning curve fast too. I learned about three octaves and the easier scales and a few little tunes then BAM! everything got harder from there. Of course it may have been easier to learn with a teacher but this was a hobby for a boring summer and I hadn't set any goals.
Hope this wasn't too discouraging! It's definitely worth playing. Don't forget reeds are a killer too.
Hmmmmm. How about this:
1.) Get a WOOD bassoon. It is very discouraging to have a bad sound because of the bassoon, not because of you. Plus, since plastic bassoons general have such bad sound, many honor bands won't take those who play on them.
2.) Get a teacher, and I mean a good one, not somebody who does bassoon as a side hobby.
3.) PRACTICE! Bassoon is not easy. It is in a completely different category than flute, or saxaphone. You really have to be commited.
4.) Experiment with different reeds. They make all the difference.
5.) LEarn how to alter and perfect rough reeds. You'll save a ton of money.
6.) SWAB! There is nothing worse than a bassoon with gross fungus in the bottom.
7.) Tune, tune, tune. Get your intonation great! If you can't get in tune, get the bassoon adjusted (hopefully again, you should have it adjusted before you begin to learn), get the bassoon looked at, and consider buying a different bocal (try it out first with a tuner). The same goes for your tone.
8.)Have fun! If you don't love bassoon, then it will be hard for you to learn it, especially if you want to be ready for your audition for Honor band in time. Don't push yourself too hard.
I generally go along with what flute_n_bassoon said.
Plastic bassoons are not all bad - Fox are worth considering. Don't buy a bassoon just because it is wood - there is rubbish out there whatever it's made of - I have yet to see a worthwhile one made in China & that is the source of most of the cheap bassoons on sale on the internet.
Find a teacher, experienced player or bassoon technician (I know all three can be difficult to find) before buying one & get advice from him/her.
No band director should prevent anyone from joining a band because of playing a plastic bassoon - he should be listening for the musicality & technical ability of the player. I know one player who has a plastic Renard & she has no problem with playing alongside players of nearly professional standard with their Puchners, Heckels & Foxes.
Yes - swab out the instrument every time - not only to keep the fungus & smell at bay but water left in a bassoon will eventually cause the wood to rot which can entail expensive remedial work.