Lesson #2--Introduction to the Bassoon by StuartSpruce


									LESSON #2: Introduction to the Bassoon

Students will:
• Identify the bassoon, name    Introduction
   its instrument family, and   1. Distribute the Bassoon activity sheet (see Resources
   describe its physical            Materials) to your students.
   characteristics              2. Introduce the bassoon by having a student (or two) read
• Listen to examples of the        the description of the bassoon from the sheet.
   bassoon and describe the
   sounds they hear             3. Reinforce that the bassoon is a member of the woodwind
• Create their own double          family, and using the illustration, explain there are six parts
   reed instrument using a         to the bassoon, including the reed.
   straw                        4. First, the musician attaches the reed to the mouthpiece
                                   (or bocal/crook Once the musician begins playing, the
LESSON MATERIALS                   air travels through the reed and the bocal into the wing
• Bassoon activity sheet           joint down into the boot where it makes a U-turn, and
• Sound recordings of the                                                      bell.
                                   then up through the long joint and out the bell
• CD/mp3 playback device
• Plastic straws
• Scissors

Students can:
• Name the four instrument
   families of the orchestra

National Standards
(Music K-4):
• 6C, 6D
                                5. At the videoconference, this is the instrument that
Pennsylvania Standards:
                                   Philadelphia Orchestra musician Daniel Matsukawa will be
• 9.1.3: A, C
• 9.3.3: C
                                6. “Being such a big instrument, the bassoon is usually
                                   played seated, with a strap the player sits on to support
                                   the boot. Sometimes a musician, like Danny, will play the
                                   bassoon while standing up and using a neck strap to
                                   support the instrument.”
INDICATORS OF                 Development
SUCCESS                       7. “Let’s listen to what the bassoon sounds like!”
Students will:                8. “The bassoon can play a huge range of notes, from very
• Identify the bassoon as a      low notes (think tuba!) all the way to high signing notes
   double reed instrument        (think flute!).”
   and a member of the
   orchestra’s woodwind       9. Play several of the recommended examples below and
   family                        have students describe the sounds they hear. What words
• Accurately name the six        do they use? Do they reflect the composer’s use of the
   parts of the bassoon          instrument as summarized below?
• Distinguish the sound of
   the bassoon from other        •   Tchaikovsky: “Chinese Dance (Tea)” from The
   instruments                       Nutcracker, Op. 71. The bassoon acts like a “joker”
• Correctly explain what             and plays very low and very short notes.
   happens to sound when a       •   Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf. The composer uses the
   tube is lengthened or             bassoon to represent the stern grandfather.
   shortened                     •   Grieg: “In the Hall of the Mountain King” from Peer
                                     Gynt. Hear the bassoon in its low register play the
                                     theme along with the double basses.
                                 •   Ravel: Bolero. At about 1:45 into this famous piece,
                                     you can hear the bassoon play the solo melody in its
                                     beautiful upper register, which sounds most like the
                                     human voice.
                                 •   Wonder: “Tears of a Clown.” Listen for the bassoon in
                                     this background of this Smokey Robinson hit from
                                     1967, with music composed by Stevie Wonder.
                              10. “Now it’s time for us to create our very own double reed
                              11. Distribute plastic straws to the students and scissors, if
                                  necessary. For younger students, you may want to cut the
                                  straws in advance according to the instructions below.
                              12. Instruct students to squeeze one end of the straw flat.
                              13. Cut the flatten end into a point as the dotted line shows

                              14. Have the students place the cut end of the straw (the
                                  “reed”) on their lower lip and close their mouths gently—
                                  not too tightly—around the round part of the straw. Teeth
                                  should not touch the straw!
15. Have the students blow hard. With a little trial and error, they will be able to make a
    sound—just like someone who plays the bassoon!
Extension for Older Students
16. Have students cut a hole halfway down, in the top of the straw as shown by the dotted line
    below. Fold the straw double and snip a corner of the fold.

17. Have students cover the hole with their fingers and blow. While they blow, have them lift
    their fingers to open the hole. “What happens to the sound that you make?”
18. “What happens to the sound if you were to add another straw into the open end of your
    straw to make it longer?”
19. “What happens to the sound if you cut your straw to make it shorter?”

Reflection and Conclusion
20. Review the basic facts of the bassoon with the students and have them write the names of
    the six parts on their activity sheet.
21. To end the lesson, play the recording of Ravel’s Bolero from the beginning and see if the
    students can identify the point the bassoon enters with the melody.

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