One-of-a-Kind Auction

I live in the country in the last house built by my father. I love it here. Fresh air and good neighbours and figuring out new ways to work as I continue with playing my bassoon and making art and working on new books. Rather than curate an ever-expanding museum of my rather long career, I am releasing some of the beautiful clothes, hoping some new people will use them to create visions of their own. . . don’t worry, I still have other magical things for the concerts ahead, but I am totally ready to say goodbye to the tiny laced corsets and high heels! I’m also releasing some cherished art of my own and some very special works by other artists. I plan to live forever and keep making art and music . . this auction will help give me some room! I have linked lots of the things below, and you can pre-register with my good friends at Rapid-Sell in Guelph. The auction opens May 7 and closes May 11. While they say that they don’t ship, if you pay for shipping, it CAN be done. Just let them know. And by the way, the bassoon-related stuff is all going to benefit the education charity, Council of Canadian Bassoonists. If you have ANY questions about the auction, please drop me a line.

Here is a link to the newsletter with all the easy links to the free sign-up to the auction and pre-bid on anything you love. This IS your chance to own a one-of-a-kind, twelve-foot, double-sided purple dragon mobile!


Purple flying dragon

Zarka the Dragon

Talent Drills for Orchestral Excerpts

Talent Drills and Rhythmic Displacement (with transpositions!)

Ravel Piano Concerto in G, third movement

Marriage of Figaro

Beethoven Symphony no. 4

Beethoven 4_B Major

We bassoonists spend thousands of hours refining and drilling orchestral passages for auditions and concerts. And we need different ways to train ourselves otherwise the mind wanders, the spirit grows weary.

The concept of rhythmic displacement helps to expose well-worn spots and tendencies for unevenness.  In each rhythmic permutation, eighth notes, triplets, sixteenths etc., we successively move the passage over by one unit. In the Figaro excerpt, I add the challenge of different articulations. 

This has the effect of giving us new perspectives, new challenges and often making the original rhythmic pattern seem so much more accessible once you return. It is more about exercising the mind which in turn, frees the power of the body to play the passage in the best way possible. Increasing stressors in systematic ways also increase the information yield and abilities of the performer.

Use your metronome, start slow, stay steady and over time, build each increment to concert tempo.

You can also enhance the challenge by utilizing different articulations. And in some low register excerpts, leave the whisper key off to encourage steady and connected air supply.

Take a look at the exercises and give it a whirl!


Other ways of challenging yourself include transposition, and you can see some examples from Christopher Millard at

Milde #1

Orchestral Excerpts

And Shawn Seguin applies the transposition concept to passages from the Hummel Concerto




Stemless Exercises from Solitary Refinement

Chromatic Up-Down (Stemless)

Chromatic UpUp-DownDown (Stemless)

If you have studied with me or own my book, Solitary Refinement, then you are familiar with my chromatic patterns that I call Up/Down and UpUp/DownDown. I find it very useful to create custom groupings to match challenges that I am encountering in the repertoire, or even, in my own imagination. Having these exercises in a stemless version allows you to create as many different groupings as you need.

You’re welcome.