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I am a high school alto saxophone player. I play in our schools symphonic band, jazz ensemble, and marching group. Now as you can see I get plenty of sax every day. My school music teacher asked me and another good sax player if we wished to play bassoon ONLY for symphonic band. This way I have 2 sax music classes and a bassoon class. First I laughed. Me bassoon? That goofy thing?
Then he started talking about how in larger gigs like large symphonic and orchestral groups, saxophones are either not permitted or they must be able to play another instrument (oboe, clarinet, flute, bassoon, etc.). I am only a high school student. I have a few questions I hope you can answer fully and with great thought.

1. Is the idea that bassoon will give me SAXOPHONE gig opportunities? Remember I want to play sax at one of these gigs. I'll play bassoon if it gives me a huge opportunity to play sax that I wouldn't normally get.

2. Let's suppose the previous question gets answered 'yes'. Does this apply for groups like high school state groups? I don't want to find out 3 years into bassoon playing that the only way the opportunities will kick in is if I am the national champ.

3. Please supply a source if you can that shows a specific group that requires an instrument 'backup'.

4. Should I get a cane or synthetic bassoon reed? How long does cane last?


Thank you,

Michael
 

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Bassoon is a GREAT double.

There are very, very few saxophone positions in a symphony orchestra, but there are usually three bassoon positions.

There are many Broadway musicals that the reed five book will have some baritone sax and bassoon (and possibly bass clarinet and other instruments, as well).

I doubled on oboe in high school, and played sax in the jazz ensemble.
 

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X2 on Bassoon. If you have the opportunity (which it looks like you do) then grab it! I played bassoon for 3 months to learn Bass Clef, and Euphonium Bass Clef for 2 months as well. I would still like to pick up bassoon again.

On reeds, learn how to make your own. It'll cost less than the $15-$25/reed cane bassoon reeds usually cost.

Synthetic double reeds are loud, and sound buzzy.
 

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I am a high school alto saxophone player. I play in our schools symphonic band, jazz ensemble, and marching group. Now as you can see I get plenty of sax every day. My school music teacher asked me and another good sax player if we wished to play bassoon ONLY for symphonic band. This way I have 2 sax music classes and a bassoon class. First I laughed. Me bassoon? That goofy thing?
Then he started talking about how in larger gigs like large symphonic and orchestral groups, saxophones are either not permitted or they must be able to play another instrument (oboe, clarinet, flute, bassoon, etc.). I am only a high school student. I have a few questions I hope you can answer fully and with great thought.

1. Is the idea that bassoon will give me SAXOPHONE gig opportunities? Remember I want to play sax at one of these gigs. I'll play bassoon if it gives me a huge opportunity to play sax that I wouldn't normally get.

2. Let's suppose the previous question gets answered 'yes'. Does this apply for groups like high school state groups? I don't want to find out 3 years into bassoon playing that the only way the opportunities will kick in is if I am the national champ.

3. Please supply a source if you can that shows a specific group that requires an instrument 'backup'.

4. Should I get a cane or synthetic bassoon reed? How long does cane last?


Thank you,

Michael

Michael- First off....Don't do it for gigs, the school, or whatever.
DO IT, FOR THE MUSIC.
Do it to enhance yourself educationally.Your sax playing will go up levels because it will be enhanced by the bassoon. yOUR COMPOSING WILL OPEN UP BECAUSE....YOUR EARS WILL BE HEARING NEW AREAS OF SOUND.
YOUR BASS CLEF READING WILL BE STRONGER AND YOU'LL THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT SOUND/ PITCH AND COLORS.

Next, playing bassoon is a important thing in college. Some schools will help you educationally. Double reed players / woodwind people are becoming scarse.

Some of the best ORCHESTRAL music is in the bassoon repitore. Brahms, STRAVINSKY, Alban Berg, Zappa and Stockhausen. THINK ABOUT IT,LIKE I SAID EARLIER....Do it for the music.

If you need bassoon info check here ; I've played bassoon professionally sinse high school. And- I play jazz on it, but that's another topic.

Check this;
Bassoon Topics Of Study ;
http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/bassoonpractice.html

BASSOON REED INSIGHTS
http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/bassoonreeds.html

RECORDINGS OF INTEREST FOR BASSOON;
http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/bassoonrecordings.html

Some of the cane reeds you can buy on Ebay cheap are great.
Don't use that plastic garbage, you'll just waste money.
AND- UNLESS SOMEONE OWNS A BASSOON / AND PLAYS IT, Don't study with them. Find a guy who doubles and owns a bassoon or a bassoonist. Lifes to short to mess with a ham & egg'r. Deal with someone with an education on it-and insight.

Hope this helps- If you got any questions- Email me through my site.
I got lots of things I can share and I LOVE THE BASSOON.

DO IT FOR THE MUSIC.
 

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Unfortunately, I do not double on bassoon, but I am a lover of the instrument. During my college days in an orchestra, I usually sat next to the basson, and l always thought the sound was "other worldly" if that's a term! Here's a great basson quote from Frank Zappa:

"The bassoon is one of my favorite instruments. It has the medieval aroma, like the days when everything used to sound like that. Some people crave baseball . . . . I find this unfathomable, but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing the bassoon." Frank Zappa
 
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