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If you really want to evolve as a bassoonist, remember these two words well:

GRADATION and CONSISTENCY.

To make great progress on the bassoon, it’s necessary to be consistent.

It’s not enough to want to reach the final lesson of a method or play Mozart’s concerto overnight, and play it any way you like.

Someone who plays Mozart’s concerto well didn’t get there by chance. They gradually evolved with consistency.

Don’t rush. You should find what you can play easily and study based on what you can play well today.

Gradation:

The first step is to define what to practice according to your current level.

Choose a study or piece and see what you can play well.

Can you play it from start to finish without getting confused with the notes?

  • If the answer is No: you should continue studying that piece or study, or choose something easier.
  • If the answer is Yes: then congratulations, it’s time to move forward!

Use a metronome to measure the tempo and progress gradually.

But beware: you can’t jump from 80 bpm on the metronome and expect to play at 160bpm overnight. Advance very gradually!

So, when it’s the right time to move on?

  • When something difficult becomes easy for you, that’s the moment to move on and proceed to the next level.

 

Consistency:

Gradation is very important, but without consistency, it will be very difficult for you to make progress. It’s necessary to practice systematically to advance.

You can’t make progress if you go six days a week without touching your instrument and expect to develop by playing for hours only on Sundays.

Not only will you not progress due to lack of contact with the instrument, but you will also miss out on your day of rest.

👉🏻An excellent practice routine is to practice daily, between 2 to 4 hours, 6 days a week.

One day should be reserved for rest. Rest is also crucial.

This kind of routine leads to significant advances in a relatively short period of time.

⚠️If you have difficulty concentrating and practicing, start with 30 minutes a day.

Don’t have 30 minutes? Then start with 15 minutes. Can’t do it every day? Practice every other day.

As you develop the habit of studying, increase the study time by 10 minutes per month until you reach 60 minutes.

The minimum for noticeable progress is to study at least 4 times a week, for at least 30 minutes.

Of course, the practice time can vary according to each person’s schedule.

In my case, for example, during an intense week of rehearsals in the orchestra, I have very little time to practice, so I have to optimize my time to the maximum. So, when I have no time, I focus only on the basics (long tones and scales), and then I’m ready to rehearse all day.

💡Curiosity: Did you know that the legendary saxophonist Charlie Parker practiced for 12 to 15 hours a day for 3 years?

What to practice?

The practice should be diversified. Let’s use food as an example.

For good health, it’s known that you need to nourish yourself with variety. Eat salad, rice and beans, good meat…

For us musicians:

  • the salad would be: doing long tone exercises, scales, and arpeggios.
  • The rice and beans: technical methods and interpretation studies.
  • And the main course: repertoire, meaning concertos, sonatas, and orchestral excerpts.

This should be our daily routine, to become strong and “well-nourished” on the bassoon.

Now it’s up to you. No method will work if you don’t take action.

Find time in your schedule and happy practice!