Music students make bassoon more accessible

May 22, 2014
Dr. Jacqueline Wilson

PLATTEVILLE, Wis.­­­ — Students involved in the bassoon studio at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville took on a project to assist local students in gaining greater access to their instrument of choice, the bassoon.

The bassoon is a woodwind instrument, which requires a double reed in order to be played which can be economically restricting for students seeking to play the instrument. Single reeds for instruments like the clarinet or saxophone cost around $3, while double reeds for the bassoon can cost $15-35 typically. “Bassoon tends to be one of the most expensive instruments for students to access,” said Dr. Jacqueline Wilson, assistant professor of music at UW-Platteville. “Our bassoon students at UW-Platteville endeavored to remove the economic factor of playing the bassoon. Bassoons play a unique role in a standard chamber ensemble experience. It is a flexible instrument and can be used as a bass, alto or a tenor.”

Double reeds can be purchased but are considered incomplete as the band instructor or student must finish constructing the reed for use. Utilizing Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement grant funds, necessary tools were purchased in order to shape double reeds. These tools are beneficial as a way to create appropriate reeds to demonstrate to local students how proper double reeds are produced and to make reeds for students on campus. Prototype reeds are created and information is distributed on the manufacture of high quality reeds without students or local band programs incurring any costs. At the present time, Lancaster Middle and High Schools as well as Platteville High School are participating in the project with a total of nine young bassoonists benefiting from the actions of students at UW-Platteville.

“Students want to learn the bassoon and many bands do not have one due to cost,” said Wilson. “This project helps make the bassoon more accessible to students. It is also a good opportunity to showcase UW-Platteville to students pursuing a future in music.” Plans are in the works to continue the project in the future and expand this service to other schools in the tri-state area. As part of the PACCE project, two musicians in the studio with education majors had time to work with local band directors to prepare for their future careers.

Written by: Ethan Giebel, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,


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