So you want to become a professional bassoonist? 

Below are some decisions and sacrifices I made to get where I am today. While I am not proud of everything I've done, I believe this kind of single-mindedness is necessary in a field that is high on supply and very low on demand. 

 

Have you:

 

  • Stopped listening to popular music in your teen years so you could devote your free time learning the great works of classical music?

 

  • Skipped your spring break (your parents offered to take you with them on a Caribbean cruise) so you could stay at school to practice and make a tape for summer music festivals?

 

  • Ate dinner at 4:30 so you could get back to school to get the best practice room while everyone else was at dinner?

 

  • Tried to associate more with those who were more talented or played better than you?

 

  • Asked your teacher for extra lessons and prepared pieces you were not asked to learn in addition to your regular lesson material?

 

  • Read through most of the Righini in one long practice session?

 

  • Practiced before your 8:00 am class?

 

  • Quit an orchestra job to go to a big city, work in a record store and free-lance instead of submitting to the unacceptable pitch level, low pay and low activity of the orchestra?

 

  • While working in the record store, learned more orchestral repertoire by playing it on the store sound system?

 

  • Taken your bassoon with you on vacation?

 

  • Spent your free time reading about composer's lives, lives of other artists, histories of countries, etc.?

 

  • Transcribed and played works for other instruments or voice on the bassoon to learn how to make the bassoon adopt their qualities?

 

  • Used private teaching as a way to self-knowledge?

 

  • Practiced in the building when it was officially closed?

 

  • Spent many hours in the music library listening to unfamiliar works by Haydn, Bach, etc.?

 

  • Bought orchestral scores from used book stores and studied them?

 

  • Limited your time on the computer so your reed making wouldn't suffer?

 

  • Maxed out your (and your parents') credit cards on audition plane fares, hotel fares, etc.?

 

  • Chosen your part-time work based upon whether or not it allows you sufficient daily time for practice or not?

 

  • During that part-time work memorize the opening phrase to every movement of every Beethoven symphony?

 

  • Studied the methods of great athletes to learn how to focus and perform at your highest level?

 

  • Studied their methods for preparing for games, matches, events so you can apply this to concerts, lessons and auditions?