Concert at Cubertou


Following campaigning bassoonist Laurence Perkins’ 2015 national tour of bassoon workshops, he met with the committee of BDRS earlier this year to discuss collaboration on various follow-up plans. As a result, with BDRS encouragement, he is launching a new series of informal workshops at the Royal Northern College of Music for all players, all levels.


Bassoonists of all ages and all playing levels will be welcomed at a new series of Sunday-afternoon sessions in December 2016, and in March and June 2017, led by me at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) in Manchester. ‘Bear-faced Bassoonery’ began in October 2015 with my two-month project (starting with ‘International Bassoon Day’ on 11th October) promoting the bassoon to young musicians around the UK. Now, the ‘bear’ is encouraging bassoonists to explore their unique musical activity in greater depth with three Sunday-afternoon sessions, looking at aspects of bassoon technique that can lead to more enjoyable and satisfying playing.

As well as being one of the bassoon tutors at RNCM, I am also passionate about working with amateur players, as my long track record of events for bassoonists and wind chamber ensembles testifies. The aim, in these three-hour Sunday afternoon sessions, is to offer technical help which players can take away and incorporate into their orchestral, chamber ensemble and solo playing: each  session focuses on a different aspect. Alongside this is some enjoyable bassoon ensemble playing, a chance to enjoy the unique and wonderful sound of bassoons playing together!

The first session is on Sunday 4th December 2016, entitled Festive Bassoons and Reeds! Firstly, we take a look at those reeds; getting away from viewing them as the perpetual ‘enemy’ and developing simple clear techniques for adjustment and finding the best

response and sound possible from each individual reed. Players should bring along new reeds (not old ones!), a good-quality reed knife, bassoon-reed plaque, and a small pair of wide-nosed pliers would be very useful. Alongside this, there will be some fun playing ensemble music celebrating the Winter season, including Sleigh Rides by Mozarts (Leopold and Wolfgang) and Vivaldi’s Winter from The Four Seasons.

On Sunday 19th March 2017, you will be invited to Spring into Playing! This is an opportunity to polish up your sound and tuning through aspects of fundamental tone production linked to breathing. This will also be a chance to explore a brand new ensemble piece; this is a specially written work by an RNCM composition student (details to be confirmed) adding to the rich and ever-growing repertoire of bassoon ensemble music from around the world.

Concert at Cubertou
Laurence Perkins leads a workshop performance in Cubertou, France

The final session of the present series will be Summer Serenades on Sunday 4th June 2017. The art of practice and preparation will be on the agenda, looking at ways in which you can prepare for your summer school and other vacation music events effectively, helping you to tackle those tricky passages and pieces effectively so that you can really enjoy your playing sessions to the maximum! There will also be ensemble music with a rather special emphasis, inspired by one of the greatest of all pop groups who were in their heyday 50 years ago.

The course fee is £20 (£10 for over-60s) per session, or £50 (£25 for over-60s) for all three if booked in advance. The sessions are FREE to under-18s, also to students in full-time education. Space is limited, so best to book in advance: on-line booking at

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