On this page, I’ve put everything that didn’t find a place elsewhere. There is still work in progress – in particular, many of the links won’t be working. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Please use the drop-down menu to find various other things.
Thinking of learning the bassoon?
This website: http://www.paythepiper.co.uk/bassoon.asp gives advice on starting to learn to play various instruments. They recommend a CD of Daniel Smith playing Scott Joplin, Largo al Factotum, Smoke gets in your eyes, Yankee Doodle etc. I would rather recommend Laurence Perkins ‘The Playful Pachyderm’ (Hyperion CDA67453) which includes lots of ‘lollipops’ such as Senaille: Allegro Spiritoso, Lucy Long, Funeral March Of A Marionette, The Carnival, The Old Grumbler, The Bassoon Song etc. There is some very fine playing here to inspire budding bassoonists.
Musical Instruments on Aeroplanes
In 2006, there were very strict regulations in force regarding cabin luggage on aeroplanes in and out of Britain. The Musicians Union in the UK reached an agreement with the Department for Transport which took effect on 22 September 2006. The changes mean that:
Passengers will still be allowed just one item of hand baggage. However, the size of the bag is being increased to 56cm by 45cm by 25cm.
If your instrument can be carried in a bag with these dimensions it should be.
In addition, each passenger is allowed to carry through the airport security search point ONE musical instrument in its case, if it cannot be carried within a bag with the dimensions above.
no items other than the instrument and its accessories may be carried in this case;
no liquids, such as valve oil and slide ceam, can be placed in cabin luggage;
and musical instruments will need to be screened, as usual.
So, well done to the MU!
But, don’t forget: no knives, blades, pliers, screwdrivers, spare reed wire etc. Also, if you keep a small bottle or 35mm film cannister for water for reeds, empty it or put in your hold luggage.
Also see http://www.shortbassoon.com/blog/2015/5/4/7-tips-for-flying-with-an-instrument .
Lost and Stolen Instruments
I know from personal experience that if ever you are unfortunate enough to lose you instrument or have it stolen, it is the most sickening feeling (non-musicians simply won’t understand).
When my colleague had her oboe stolen back in 2006, I was very surprised to find that there seems to be no central web site that anyone can use to notify the public of the loss of a musical instrument.
There are some web sites, however, that may be of some use. I have found these:
The International Double Reed Society used to keep a registry of stolen oboes and bassoons, mostly American. But these days I believe they use a Facebook group.
http://www.bassoon.org/stolen.htm Bassoons only, Mostly American.
http://www.heckelbassoons.info/bassoons.html A list of Heckel serial numbers which highlights those that have been reported as stolen.
http://www.musictag.co.uk/about.php? A UK service (costing £6 per instrument) Where you register your instrument, you get a tag with a code to attach to your instrument case and anyone finding it can contact them.
http://www.cornetconnection.com/lost.htm American site for brass instruments.
http://www.flutenet.com/stolen.htm Flutes only, mostly American.
Please let me know if this list can be added to.
Keep your bassoon in a safe
For my colleagues who are worried about a visit from the burglars when they are away from home, I would like to recommend installing a gun safe. These are advertised in shooting magazines such as Shooting Times. Or a Google search comes up with sites like http://www.thesafeshop.co.uk/Categories/shotgun-cabinets/1.html. One big enough to hold 6 shot guns is probably the right size for a bassoon case, but do check. It would also provide a useful space for other valuables. They are bolted to a secure wall and are very difficult to break into.
Using a leg Rest
Of all the methods of supporting a bassoon, the one I am happiest with and have been using now for many, many years is the leg rest. It is a method much used in Holland which is why it is sometimes called a Dutch Crutch. It takes all the weight off the hands, is well balanced and allows the player some mobility when playing.
There are, however, three draw-backs.
First, another solution has to be found for standing up to play.
Second, fixing them can be a real problem; strapping them to the butt joint with something not unlike a ‘jubilee’ clip will compress the bore at that point distorting tone and/or intonation. A good repairman should usually be able to find an alternative solution.
The third problem is this: recently, a freelance player in the UK developed a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) while using one. Apparently, the chair she was using was pressing on her thigh right opposite where the leg rest was. Her doctors have now given her the all clear, but she had to be on warfarin (to thin the blood) for six months. DVT is potentially an extremely serious condition, so I would urge all leg rest users to ensure that they are very careful only to use chairs that minimise this risk and to rest the instrument on the floor when not actually playing.
Don’t carry your Bassoon by the Bell
I’ve thought about giving this advice before but thought it was a bit obvious. I was carrying my bassoon by the bell when it was only one week old. The bell came apart from the rest of the instrument which then landed on a stone floor. All the keys down the front of the instrument were bent and some of the varnish was damaged. Now I hear that one of my fellow second bassoons in a major London orchestra has done the same. On a concert platform this time; the tenon on the wing joint got broken off. I’m pleased to report that all is now mended though. So, please, never hold your bassoon (or anyone else’s!) by the bell joint. You never know how tightly that tenon fits.
Bassoon in Star Wars?
40minutes into Episode 4 of Star Wars (A New Hope), There is a band playing in a bar with a member playing what for all the world looks like a space age bassoon. It is in fact a character called Figrin D’an playing the ‘kloo horn’. See: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/File:DodaBodonawieedoBarquinDan-ROTJ.png