The bassoon is one of the woodwind instruments belonging to the double reed family. The instrument can be traced back to 1650, when it became available in many different sizes, from soprano to the great bass. The modern form of the bassoon appeared in the 19th century and became a prominent figure in orchestras, concert band, and chamber music. In New Zealand, the New Zealand Double Reed Society offers a platform for amateur and/or professional bassoon players to learn more and share their talents. For kids who'd love to play the bass voice, the bassoon is the perfect instrument!
- Category: Performing Arts
- Approximate age to start playing the bassoon: 12 years old
- Approximate price: Depends on bassoon teach fee private lessons can start at $50/lesson
- Gear/equipment needed and approximate price range: Bassoon ($1000 and up)
- This activity comprises of: Performing, competing
- Best period of the year: Year-Round
- School holiday programs available: YES
A video of Bassoon for kids
Information on Bassoon for kids
Is playing the bassoon for your kids?
If you’re looking for activities for kids that will benefit your children in the long-term, try letting your kids learn how to play the bassoon. The bassoon (or fagotto in Italy) is one of the lowest sounding instruments in the woodwind family. It is made from maple wood and is often used to play classical music. It is also a non-transposing instrument, which means it is notated on the same key on paper that they sound when they are performed. Other non-transposing instruments that are played in the bass clef include the cello, trombone, and the tuba.
Why should your kids play bassoon?
- Players are in demand
Due to the low number of bassoon players, orchestras are hard-pressed to find the talent they need. Therefore, if your child starts playing the bassoon, he or she has a higher likelihood to win scholarships or grants because of less competition.
- Be the crucial bass voice
Bassoon acts as the crucial bass voice in the woodwind section of an orchestra. The bassoon low buzzing tone may not be the ultimate star of the show, but it’s the foundation that ties the entire sound of a music group together.
- Perfect for kids who love to laugh
If your children have a strong funny bone, then the bassoon may be the perfect instrument for them! Bassoons are normally used to create musical scores that portray comical characters or moods.
The bassoon nasal tenor sound can be heard at the instrument’s core range, and its buzzing tone can be heard at the low range. More specifically, the range of a bassoon begins at Bb (La flat) and extends upward three octaves, to the G (sol) above the treble staff. In order to take full advantage of this range, it’s good to find bassoon music that push children how to exercise bassoon extended techniques and to master their bassoon fingering. Purchasing bassoon sheet music for your kids will also help them play the instrument, in case they are not yet capable of playing by ear. Remember, buying sheet music ensures its accuracy versus downloading sheet music from the Internet.
If you’re looking for kids activities that will help cultivate your children’s passion for classical music, and more importantly, the bassoon, you can take your kids to shows in various opera houses, or look out for Chamber Music Tours. Furthermore, the International Double Reed Society (IDRS) and the New Zealand Double Reed Society host competitions for young artists who play the bassoon. Letting your kids watch or join these events may help push them to excel in learning how to play the instrument.
Get your kids to start playing the bassoon!
When starting to play the bassoon for kids, toddlers can practice with a mini bassoon, which is a smaller version of the bassoon, designed for younger players. To play the regular-sized bassoon, kids must be at least 12 years old to have hands big enough to reach the keys. Furthermore, kids have to exert pressure with their front teeth to control the vibration of bassoon reeds, which isn’t practical for kids who have not yet grown permanent teeth.
Bassoon techniques that your kids can learn:
- Bassoon flicking
Flicking involves the left hand thumb quickly pressing the high A, C, and D keys at the beginning of certain notes to eliminate cracking brief bassoon multiphonics (in which several notes are produced at once).
- Bassoon tuning
Some people actually find ways to learn advanced skills when playing an instrument without mastering the art of tuning. Tuning a bassoon requires a special ear or tools like an electric tuner or a tuning fork, and it is a skill that your kids must learn early on.
- Bassoon extended techniques
On a higher level, your kids can learn bassoon extended techniques, which include multiphonics and harmonics.
In order to ensure that your kids progress well with the instrument, they need a practice bassoon. They are usually available for rent at local music stores. It’s more practical to rent first before looking for bassoons for sale, since an instrument can be costly and may be a waste of money if your kids decide to stop learning how to play. Instruments can also be bought second hand, but always get an experienced player to check the quality first before purchasing a second hand instrument. The bassoon also has a larger and lower sounding cousin, the contrabassoon, which is also known as the double bassoon, which may appeal to kids who love low booming sounds. Check the ActiveActivities website for all these
In New Zealand, bassoon lessons for kids vary costs starting from $50 an hour. If you’re looking for bassoon teachers, do your research and find one that provides basic to advanced lessons, since kids may find it easier to adjust if they do not have to switch teachers once they progress to a more advanced level. You can also find teachers near you that can show certifications for their skills. In case your child may not be inclined to learn the bassoon, he or she can take oboe lessons or clarinet lessons instead. The oboe and the clarinet are also wind instruments that belong to the double reed family, similar to the bassoon.
Kids with music teachers have a guide to help you ensure and track their progress. Furthermore, kids under experienced teachers can learn many bassoon facts, properly control bassoon vibration while minimizing poor habits, avoid razzing, and learn varied styles of bassoon finger movement. To learn more about music teachers, check out our ActiveActivities directory for more information.
Get your kids to play this low but booming instrument today!