One benefit to being part of a talented music studio is sharing and learning from one another! Here at Eastman, and likely common to most studio settings, we bassoonists jibber jabber constantly about the latest stories, newest tools, and best website finds. There are so many sites, but very few offer current, quality and relevant info and articles.
One site that our studio utilizes quite frequently is Barrick Stees' personal website. Stees is the Assistant Principal Bassoonist of the Cleveland Orchestra and teaches at the Cleveland of Institute for Music & the University of Akron. He’s an encyclopedia of bassoon information!
His site not only provides information about his background and career as a professional bassoonist and educator, but his pages also offer a wealth of information on Reed Making, Reed Products, a section specifically For Students, and a terrific Barry Blog. Based on his own teaching style, focus, and experience, this site is incredibly useful as it provides an insider’s perspective of the profession.
A quintessential aspect to being a good bassoonist is understanding and mastering reed-making. The site’s Reed Making page details Stees’ own reed measurements, provides suggestions on making reeds last longer, and even offers insights on how to select the best commercially made reeds. For those interested in experimenting with new tools, there is even an entire section on Stees Products, tools that he has developed and offers for purchase!
On his For Students page he offers a variety of documents to assist bassoonists in an array of areas. There are technical exercises, bibliographic records for the bassoon, tips on preparing for auditions, recommendations on becoming the best player you can be and, my personal favorite, an article on "Getting the Most Out of School."
Lastly, Barry Blogs provides details on his current whereabouts and performances and offers frequently updated and a CATEGORIZED source of his stories and experiences on all things bassoon. For instance, there are 58 entries about the Cleveland Orchestra ranging in topics from his description of tackling recent excerpts to their audition process (from an auditioner’s standpoint)!
So, if you’re looking for new, relevant and easy-to-digest bassoon material to explore, take a moment to delve into the mind and thoughts of Barrick Stees!