Switch to Basson in Band?, and a happy ending

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I am a high school band member and would like to ask you a question.

This is rather private. I have been playing the Bb clarinet for two years, first chair. And I really really love the instrument, and have spent a lot of time in it. I also ordered a instrument from Mr. Rendiours few days ago.

However, recently, our band director wanted me to shift to bassoon section (as our band doesnʼt have bassoon section yet), his reason for that is because I have the so call bassoon embouchure. He would get a private tutor for me.

What I am thinking is that as my sight reading, rhythm is very bad, this bassoon tutor may help me in conquering these problems, so my clarinet playing skill may become better.

So I now face a conflict, should I play it? As I am afraid that this may affect my clarinet skill, or, just the opposite? Would playing bassoon affect my clarinet playing?

I am now extremely frustrated over this thing.

As I really admire and respect you, I would like to get some advice from you.

Thank you very much for spent your precious time; any form of help is greatly appreciated.



Dear W
Thank you for your very interesting letter.

The first question I would have is, will you be giving up the first chair clarinet position in your band, and would that bother you?
The bassoon embouchure business is conjecture at best. He thinks that you have the intelligence to play the bassoon, and/or he has someone who wants first chair badly. I do not know which.

The bassoon will make you read better because you will be learning to play in the bass and then the tenor clef, both foreign to you at present, so that too is a consideration. Will it make you a better sight-reader,? probably not, as far as the clarinet is concerned.

Do you plan on a carreer is music? Bassoon , like the band , is more desired out in the music world, and there are many fewer bassoonist than clarinetists.

Do you love the clarinet more than you love music? Does it matter to you that much?

You will have more opportunities to play bassoon for as long as you play it, and there are always needs in symphony orchestras for bassoonists, and many many more clarinetists around than those who play bassoon.

Where are you located? Will the private tutor be a bassoon player or will he be just a student somewhere or a music education major?
Initially however, I would advise you to play both, and suggest that it will only serve to improve your clarinet playing.

Best wishes, and thank you for going to my site.Do not hesitate to write to me.

Stay well,
Well, there is a happy ending to the story. I received this note this morning:

Dear Mr. Friedland,

I thought it would be better to give a continuation of the story. After the audition for bassoon, our band conductor has changed his mind and decided that I shall stick with clarinet as I made some horrible sound on the bassoon. And for me, I couldnʼt be happier; I would continue playing the clarinet and visit your site daily, to learn new things.




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