Band and Bassoon

by Arthur Weisberg

The Bassoon is used in most Band and Wind Ensemble groups. However, there are special problems that such bassoonists have to face. The primary one is how to balance with the other instruments. It is obvious that the bassoon is the weakest of all band instruments. Most students have not learned how to play loudly. Of course they will never be able to balance with an entire clarinet section, or with the brass, but they can be taught to play strongly enough to make a good contribution to the band. Two things are necessary in order to play loudly.

First comes the reed, and in particular, its opening. Most young players use a reed with a very small opening., this is physically easier on the embouchure, but the fact is that the bigger the opening, the louder one can play. The downside is that then the embouchure must be strong enough to close the opening down when playing softly.

The other factor is blowing enough air when playing loudly. A reed with a large opening requires much more air than the student realizes. Finally, beginning bassoonist have great trouble with cracking notes. the answer for this, that will allow them to learn at a far faster rate, can be found on my website:

Arthur Weisberg- Professor of Bassoon, Indiana University