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Reporting from Brisbane on the 2017 ADRS Masterclasses

By Miriam Butler Handsworth

Following the 2017 ADRS Oboe & Bassoon competition there was a lunch break, which was an opportunity to meander through the trade stands set up in the AMEB foyer. We thank all who participated including Richard Craig Woodwind, Bassoon Factory, Musson Bassoon Reeds, Ozwinds, Oboe Central, Yamaha and Buffet. It is always a good opportunity to play different or new models of instruments, check out new accessories or simply get some reed making tips from an expert.


After lunch Mark Gaydon and Anne Gilby each gave a masterclass. Students were able to get feedback from the pieces they just had performed extending the competition experience in to the afternoon.

There were three participants who enjoyed Mark’s expertise and knowledge about many aspects of bassoon playing including some very interesting ideas on breathing. Mark is able to simplify the issue by discussing air pressure and how to breathe deeply. Sasha Walker played Water Spirit Song by Ross Edwards, Fionn Vickers a Minuet and Trio by Boccherini and Jamie Dodd the first movement of the Hummel Concerto.

Mark discussed the position of the bassoon and getting it at just the right height. He also spoke of the three contact points, left hand, right hand and hip and forming a stable base and balanced approach from these three points. He had some devices to help with the efficiency of breathing. There are various exercises you can do with these devices, which then make it easier to play the bassoon. There were many pearls of wisdom from an experienced player.

In Anne Gilby’s masterclass An Nguyen presented Romance 1 for oboe and piano and Serena Chen the Mvt 2 of the Sonatina for oboe and piano by Margaret Sutherland. As well as providing an opportunity to look at ways to understand and then perform effective phrasing, the performances sparked a lively discussion with An, Serena and audience around fundamentals of oboe playing and how to effectively develop technique, tone and tuning using a series of simple, easy to implement exercises. Anne’s expertise as a foremost performer and teacher of oboists of all levels was freely shared and much appreciated.

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