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Event To Create ‘Bassoon Community’ For Young Musicians

Sept. 13, 2012
SHSU Media Contact: Kim Mathie

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The Sam Houston State University School of Music will bring together young musicians on Oct. 14 for the inaugural Bassoon Day, from 1-5 p.m. in the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center.

Bassoon Day, for youth bassoon players in sixth through 12th grades, is designed to establish a community for bassoon players to learn from each other, improve their skills and share resources.

Nathan Koch

“There are probably only a few bassoon players in each school, so it’s important to me to create a community for them,” said Nathan Koch, assistant professor of bassoon and the day’s host.

The event will consist of master classes, skill-building workshops and demonstrations led by Koch and his undergraduate and graduate bassoon students.

“It’s a great tool for my students as well, many of whom are going into music education,” said Koch. “It helps them become better teachers.”

The day will begin with a concert performed by Koch and his bassoon students. Following the concert, students will attend master classes and demonstrations of the contrabassoon and reed making. While there will be a lot of work, Koch also wants to keep the fun in fundamentals.

“There’s a lot of pressure on students to perform well for all-state,” said Koch. “They’ll spend from August through December playing and perfecting three different etudes. Bassoon Day is one way to take some of that pressure off and to remember why we chose the bassoon in the first place.”

Students will be separated into groups according to their grade level.

“Sixth graders may be just learning their instruments, so they’re going to be in their own group learning real basic fundamentals of the bassoon like posture and hand positioning,” Koch said.

Those in seventh and eighth grades will continue to build on those fundamentals and students in ninth grade and above will focus on their all-state etudes, pieces of music that teach a specific skill-set, like technique or playing style.

Koch, who recently joined the School of Music faculty, knows first-hand what it’s like being a bassoon community of one.

“I didn’t have regular formal bassoon instruction until I was a freshman in college,” said Koch. “I want to build a relationship between our bassoon studio and the outlying community.

“Having a day of instruction like this is important for bassoon students, particularly those without private instruction,” he said. “Not many band directors specialize in the bassoon so while they may have high standards for their bassoon players, they may not know how to address the unique challenges of playing the bassoon.”

Bassoon Day also provides students with important resources and more importantly a community, as in the rare opportunity to participate in a large bassoon ensemble at sessions end.

“Chances are they’ve never played in a group of 30-40 bassoons before,” said Koch. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

While Bassoon Day is free, students must register in advance to assist with planning. The registration deadline is Oct. 7. Parents are welcome at the opening and closing concerts but should make other plans while students attend the workshops and demonstrations.

For more information about Bassoon Day, or to register, visit www.shsubassoonday.weebly.com.



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