Intermediate Lessons

Warming Up

Ms. Jensen and Brian Easthope, a sixth grader who has been playing 6 months, address warming up to establish a rich tone and good intonation. In their quest, they discuss seat strap placement, embouchure, and finger-technique. Brian is able to hear the positive changes in his tone.


Ms. Jensen works with Dwight, Fan a sixth grader, on coordinating the tongue, the airstream and the embouchure to produce clean articulation on low G.


Seventh grader Reese Martin explains why and how to flick A2, Bb3, B3 and C3. He then plays “Flicking”, #2 from Unit 20. Ms. Jensen addresses stabilizing the tone and pitch of the low A by keeping the embouchure loose enough so that the thumb can leave the whisper key early to get to the flick key at the beginning of the A2.

Half-Holes and Intonation

Ms. Jensen and Reese Martin, seventh grader, address half-hole technique on G2 and Ab2 through “Octave Slurs”, #2 from Unit 25. Reese’s half hole technique is quite efficient, but his intonation needs to be addressed. Ms. Jensen plays along with him, holding out the Ab to see if he will adjust naturally. When he does not, she asks if his pitch is higher or lower than hers. He is able to tell it is higher, and knows to loosen his embouchure (or, rather, not tighten it quite as much) to bring the pitch in tune.

Low Range

Ms. Jensen works with Reese Martin, a seventh grader, on producing low notes. They explore the amount of reed in the mouth, and the pouting position of the embouchure that aid the response and tone in the low range. Sometimes Reese’s fingers do not completely cover the holes, and that causes the note to not speak. Reese discovered that using a gentle articulation and less force behind the air actually helped the response since he had been over-blowing. Closing the reed at the first wire helped the low notes respond too.

More Fundamentals

Ms. Jensen and Brian Easthope, a sixth grader, set out to address keeping the fingers close to the instrument and relaxed while playing through playing, “Smooth Fingers”, #5 from Unit 10. Along the way, they discover some posture and seat strap adjustments that help Brian’s tone quality. Ms. Jensen brings to Brian’s attention the abrupt quality of note endings when stopped with the tongue. She addresses tapering the ends of notes by slowing the air stream and slightly firming the lips, right at the end of the note.

Pinkie on G2 and Half-Hole Size

Lilly Morrison, a sixth grader who has been playing bassoon a few months has her first lesson with Ms. Jensen. They address using the Eb resonance key on G2, and establishing an appropriate half-hole size. Ms. Jensen asks Lilly to practice as if she were alone in the practice room. This is a good tactic for observing students’ problem solving skills, and coaching them through the process of listening keenly and tackling problems in the practice room. Lilly proceeds with a few drills, and Ms.