Endangered Instrument Series – Transitioning To Bassoon
Sean Walsh is 14 years old and is in Year 9 at Knox Grammar School. He has been playing the alto saxophone for nearly 6 years. He currently plays the baritone saxophone in the Symphonic Wind Orchestra (SWO) and was recently asked to tour with the Western Sydney Youth Orchestra (WSYO) as 2nd bassoon on their 4 day South Coast Tour.
What used to be your primary instrument and what is it now?
My primary instrument was the Alto Saxophone and the Baritone Saxophone in the SWO. I am transitioning to the bassoon.
Why did you decide to change instruments?
The General Manager, Mia, of the Sydney Youth Orchestras asked, back in May, if I would like to take up playing the bassoon and I gladly accepted because I really love the sound of the bassoon.
Was it hard to transition from one instrument to another?
It is challenging, but after playing a wind instrument for nearly 6 years I have the air control to play but the fingering is difficult. Josh Reynolds (also in Sydney Youth Orchestras) and my teacher Greg Taylor have been crucial in helping me transition and learn this lovely instrument.
What is similar/different between your previous instrument and your current instrument?
The lower fingering is similar to the saxophone but the controlling of air is the most similar.
What are the top 3 reasons you would give to someone thinking about transitioning from one instrument to another?
Being able to play another instrument if the is no part for your first instrument
It opens up more parts to play in different orchestras.
What is your dream performance?
My dream performance would be to play the bassoon with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the Hamburg’s State Opera House (Hamburgische Staatsoper) playing Bolero.
What is it like playing your instrument in an orchestra?
Thrilling!!! When you hear the audience applaud you after a performance it puts you on a high.
Why should someone who plays your instrument join Sydney Youth Orchestras?
Playing with the SYO has been the best experience for me. All of the conductors, tutors and staff are so encouraging. The playing of your instrument excels rapidly, like no other group I know. It is wonderful to get together with an awesome lot of people who just want to produce and perform beautiful music. The people are great the music is fantastic. Heaps of friends to be made.