On this page, you'll find everything that hasn't found a place anywhere else on this site.

Audition Preparation
I have temporarily removed this section since auditions are being held for the position at the Royal Opera House that I am vacating in the Summer and I would hate to give anyone an unfair advantage.

Archived 'Sayings of the Month' that I used to have on my 'Home Page' until I ran out of ideas:
March 09: ''Le hasard ne favorise que les esprits prepares'. ('Chance favours the prepared mind').(Louis Pasteur (1822-1895)).
April 09: 'Western music is fast because it's not in tune', (Terry Riley (1935-), the seminal minimalist composer).
May 09: When Abraham Lincoln was asked how long a man's legs must be, he replied: 'Long enough to reach the ground'. So when a student asks how much practice they should do ...!
June 09: 'Keep calm and carry on'. (British Government's Ministry of Information 1939).
July 09: 'Patience is bitter but its fruit is sweet'. (Variously attributed to Aristotle, Jean-Jacques Rousseau or an Afghan proverb).
August 09: 'It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming  naked'. (Warren Buffett).
September 09: 'I believe he has received eleven different kinds of canes in the last three weeks'. (Mark Twain referring to US President Andrew Johnson).
October 09: 'I beseech your Lordships to be merciful to a broken reed'. (Francis Bacon (1621)).
November 09: 'When you practise slowly, you learn fast'. (Alexander Dumas).
December 09: 'If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'. (Albert Einstein).
January '10: 'Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results'. (Albert Einstein).
February '10: 'Never mistake activity for achievement'. (John Wooden the renowned basketball coach).
March '10: One who has been bitten by a snake startles at a reed'. (Sahili proverb).
April '10: 'I can't wait for the contras to march into the town and liberate it'. (David Horowitz, American right wing activist, 19 Jan 2009).
May '10: 'The little reed, bending to the force of the wind, soon stood upright again when the storm had passed over'. (Aesop).
June/July '10:
'There once was a brainy baboon
who always breathed down a bassoon
for he said, ''It appears
that in billions of years
I shall certainly hit on a tune.'' '
Ezra Pound (1885-1972).
August '10: 'Learn to listen; Listen to learn.' (Balan Gothandaraman).
Sept '10: 'There is spirit in a reed.' (Steve Lacey. Soprano sax player. 1934-2004).
Oct '10: 'A very slim reed to hang your whole life on.' (Woody Allen). 
Nov '10: 'Music is too important not to give it my full attention.' (David Attenborough).
Dec '10: 'Music with dinner is an insult both to the cook and the violinist.' (G.K. Chesterton).
Jan '11: 'Poot-pooooot! went a blown nose, like a bassoon in a tunnel'. (Diana Wynne Jones).
Feb '11: 'The bassoon is one of my favourite instruments. It has the medieval aroma, like the days of old when everything used to sound like that'. (Frank Zappa).
March '11: 'Some people crave baseball - I find this unfathomable but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing a bassoon'. (Frank Zappa (1940-1993)).
April '11: 'The wild emotions that agitate a reed' (Mary Wollstonecraft 1792 (A vindication of the Rights of Woman)).
May '11: 'A reed over which every passing breeze has power' (Mary Wollstonecraft 1792 (A vindication of the Rights of Woman)).
June '11: 'A reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison' (Khalil Gibran (1883-1931) (Lebanese Poet))
July '11: 'Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature, but he is a thinking reed.'
(Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)).
August '11: 'No matter how desperate the predicament is, I am always very much in earnest about clutching my cane.' (Charlie Chaplin)
Sept '11: 'Music is the shorthand of emotion.' Leo Tolstoy (1828 - 1910).
Oct '11: 'What hath God wrought?' Samuel Morse (1791-1872).
Nov '11: 'Sharper than a serpent's tooth'. Shakespeare (King Lear)
Dec '11: 'Men's evil manners live in brass.' Shakespeare (Henry VIII)
Jan '12: 'Blow, wind, and crack your cheeks.' Shakespeare (King Lear)
Feb '12: 'We should never confuse enthusiasm with capability.' General Peter Schoomaker US Army Chief of Staff (b. 1946).
March '12: 'When eating an elephant take one bite at a time.' Creighton Abrams (1914 - 1974), US Army General.

April '12: ''Winter with its bitin', whinin' wind.'   Roy Bean (1825-1903) (eccentric US judge).
May '12: 'I might even find a husband - a nice bassoonist or something.'  Josie Lawrence, British television comedian.

June - July '12: 'We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.' Geoge Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950).

August '12: 'Practice makes permanent.' Bobby Robson (Football Manager) (1933 - 2009).
Sept '12: 'The sound of silence is music to the heart.' Dr P.D.Larson and Dr D.C.Galletly
Oct '12:  'We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act, but a habit.' Aristotle
Nov/Dec '12: 'What is it about this business of scaring yourself half to death that seems to be fun?' Bill Mason (1929 - 1988) (Canoeist, author and film-maker).

Jan '13: 'Music is not a privilege, it is an everyday necessity.' Sir Antonio Pappano (Music Director Royal Opera House) .
Feb '13: 'I'd like to thank all parents who have supported and encouraged their children to respect and observe the Reed Dance and for believing in me as their King' : Zulu King, King Zwelithini kaBhekizuluin . 
March / April '13: 'What profit hath he that hath laboured for the wind?' Ecclesiastes V:xvi.
May/June '13: 'For drink, there was beer which was very strong when not mingled with water, but was agreeable to those who were used to it. They drank this with a reed, out of the vessel that held the beer.' Xenophon (c. 430 - 354 BC).
July/Aug '13: 'Very few bassoonists seem to phrase rhythmically enough to blend in with clarinets.' Nelson Riddle (American composer, arranger and ... trombonist!!!) (1921 - 1985).
Sept/Oct '13: 'The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing.' Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).
Nov/Dec '13: My most influential teacher was my bassoon teacher, Herbert Tauscher, who taught me that the only way to do something right is to practice and listen and practice and listen, hours, and hours, and hours.' Tom Südhof, Nobel Prize-winner for Medicine.

Jan '14: 'There is a thing, Harry,
which thou hast often heard of and it is known to
many in our land by the name of pitch: this pitch,
as ancient writers do report, doth defile.' Shakespeare, Henry the Fourth Part One.
Feb '14: 'As for the four bassoons, they are almost the rule in all French scores, and I need them like my daily bread.' Richard Strauss in a letter to Ludwig Thuille, 13 Feb 1893.
March '14: 'I'm inclined to think that the bassoons are a little overburdened.' Richard Strauss. 

April / May '14: 'The passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire', Jeremiah 51:32.
June/July '14: 'I don't care what you play as long as it's loud'. Georg Solti in a rehearsal of Frau ohne Schatten at the Royal Opera House'.

Aug/Sept '14: 'The Wedding-Guest here beat his breast, For he heard the loud bassoon'. The Rime of the Ancient Marriner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

Please click here to see various Gadgets that might be useful to 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 piont ONE musical instrument in its case, if it cannot be carried within a bag with the dimensions above.
Note that:
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

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 Pachiderm' (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.

Lost and Stolen Instruments
When my colleague had her oboe stolen 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: http://www.allianzmusicalinsurance.co.uk/stolen_list.asp .This is the insurance company that the majority of professional musicians use to insure their instruments. They only list high (monetary) value instruments that they have insured. 
http://www.idrs.org/publications/journal2/JNL26/Stolen.pdf The International Double Reed Society: Oboes and bassoons only, mostly American.
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 £15) 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. 

Harry S Truman, the 33rd US President once said: 'It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit'. A useful motto for sub-principal wind players, I thought.

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: