A little mellowed down when compared to a flute or a saxophone, yet with a very profound characteristic, the timbre or sound quality of a Bassoon adds a unique dimension to an orchestra. It complements the texture and characteristics of other instruments that it accompanies. Apparently, Bassoon looks like an elaborate version of a flute with the double reed, keys, and the crook. No wonder learning to play bassoon is an aspiration of many music enthusiasts.
Do you aspire to become a Bassoonist? Or do you want to learn it as a hobby? What is the right age for starting your training with Bassoon? Is it indeed as complicated as the instrument looks? It’s natural for you to have several queries and apprehensions about the instrument and how your learning curve will move ahead. In this article, we will talk about everything that you need to know about the Bassoon instrument.
Know your Bassoon
The structure of a Bassoon looks a little intimidating and many believe it to be one of the most difficult instruments to be played. It indeed requires a bit of tenacity and dedication. Hence, it is essential to start the learning process by learning about the various parts of a Bassoon and their role in rendering the unique baritone sound of this double-reed woodwind instrument.
A Basson has a long and curved tube that is attached to its wooden body at one point and to the mouthpiece at the other end. The Bassoonist has to blow into a reed. Several other features of a Bassoon keep all your fingers, mind, and breath occupied throughout the recital. This is one instrument that commands the complete concentration of the performer.
It is a tad bit heavy and required the musician to take a proper posture and support to hold it for long hours at the time of performance. The Bassoon is held on a sling in a slanting position to make it comfortable for the Bassoonist to access the mouthpiece. In fact, when you see a Bassoonist perform, it seems as if they are aiming a missile.
In your first few learning sessions, you would be introduced to the various features of the Bassoon and its functionalities. It is advisable to be attentive in these introductory sessions.
The Timbre of a Bassoon
Bassoon has a very unique characteristic. For once it might sound to be contrasting the sounds of other musical instruments in an orchestra. However, a few moments into listening to it, you would gradually find it to be complimenting the composition uniquely. The rich baritone sound of the Bassoon starts to grow on you. The closest example that can be cited at the moment include the popular American comedy – Leave it to Beaver, Peter and the Wolf, and the background score of Mickey’s misadventure with the broomstick in Fantasia.
Earlier, Bassoon took a backseat in an orchestra because composers found it difficult to play it in tune. So much so that, you won’t find much solo composition on this instrument. The sound of a Bassoon was mostly used as a background score for a funny or awkward scene. However, as the makers worked on refining the reeds, keys, and other features, this woodwind instrument has emerged stronger and more profound in the way it adds a completely different dimension to the music composition.
Notable Jazz saxophonist Ben Wendel has remarked that the beauty of a Bassoon lies in its limitations. As the music and the instrument both improved, its receptivity in the classical music fraternity went up.
Age no bar for aspiring Bassonists
At present, it has received immense popularity among students of instrumental music irrespective of their age. The reason is the magic it weaves in the air, the peace it brings to the mind, and the way it involves all the five senses of the Bassoonist as well as the listener.
Conventionally, Bassoon is introduced in the schools to kids aged 7 or above. However, even young adults and middle-aged students are also looking for online Bassoon lessons. Playing Bassoon not only earns accolades among friends and family but also gives you a sense of accomplishment.
Checklist for New Learners
First thing first, check your instrument as a substantial part of your learning experience depends on the quality of the instrument you pick.
If you have learned any other woodwind instrument, it might be easier for you. However, if you are an absolute newcomer, you should listen to Bassoon for as long as you want. Take weeks or even months to decide whether you want to go ahead with this instrument.
Talk to your mentor to discuss your objectives behind picking this musical instrument. Take their guidance to find a good Bassoon.
It will take time. The way you hold the Bassoon, blow into the reed without hurting your teeth, or the way you cover the holes with your fingers and manage the several other features to render a soul-satisfying musical piece. Give yourself the time it needs. Take pride as you hold your Bassoon and fill the air with its profound sound.