Thursday, July 21, 2022

Links for Roma Cafolla - IDRS Recital July 30, 2022

You are hearing Solace Sonata for bassoon and piano (complete) and an excerpt of Cantare No. 4 Salice.

Watch the full interview with Roma Cafolla HERE.

Some of Roma's works are published through Forton Music. The rest of her catalog, you can request directly from her:

Music by Roma Cafolla:


  • Capri  Bassoon and Piano
  • 6 Cantare  Bassoon and Piano
  • Arcanum  Oboe/Bassoon/Piano
  • Eyes  Flute/Oboe/Clarinet/Horn in F/Bassoon
  • Playaround Series  Bassoon and Piano  Bks 1-3
  • Capers  Flute/Oboe/Bassoon
  • Etudes Solo Bassoon
  • Fantasia  1,2,3, Oboe/Bassoon/Piano
  • Bassoon Concerto  Bassoon and String Orch
  • Solace  Sonata for Bassoon and Piano
  • Cardiff Bay  Bassoon and Piano
  • Easy Duos for Fab Players Bassoon and Piano
  • Intermediate Duos for Fab Players
  • Irish Hornpipes  Bassoon and Piano
  • Irish Reels for Bassoon and Piano
  • Irish Set Dances for Bassoon and Piano
  • Just Me! Books 1-4 Bassoon and Piano
  • Tomorrow  Bassoon and Piano



  • Playaround Series Oboe and Piano Bks 1-3
  • Sonority  Flute/Oboe/Clarinet/Piano
  • Etudes  Solo Oboe
  • Cardiff Bay  Oboe and Piano
  • Easy Duos for Fab Players Oboe and Piano
  • Intermediate Duos for Fab Players Oboe and Piano
  • Irish Hornpipes for Oboe and Piano
  • Irish Reels for Oboe and Piano
  • Irish Set Dances for Bassoon and Piano
  • Just Me! Books 1-4 Oboe and Piano
  • Loch Eske  Oboe and Harp or Piano


Quintets for Fl/Ob/Cl/Bass/Hp or Pno

  • Cardiff bay
  • Macushla
  • Sleep Peaceful
  • Sugar and Spice
  • Will O’ the Wisp

Friday, March 18, 2022

Baroque Bassoon Bonanza #2

 Again, this is not really a Bonanza but it is so fun to alliterate!

I had my second lesson with Andrew Burn this week and learned that Switzerland changes Daylight Savings Time two weeks after we do in the United States - I had no idea.  

Working intentionally to practice this past month revealed many things:

  • it's challenging to carve out time for a "new" endeavor
  • it's challenging to motivate myself for an endeavor at which I am not "good"
  • it's challenging to think musically when I'm struggling with fundamentals
  • while the Baroque bassoon is a different instrument from my modern bassoon, and should be treated as such, the approach to learning is the same
  • reeds...
Andrew has been working to help me sort out my reeds.  I have three reeds that were supplied to my by Leslie Ross and a fourth reed which I purchased from a Baroque reedmaker in Canada.  None of these are easy to play on for various reasons, pitch and response being the biggest issues.  Andrew graciously sent me four of his old reeds to get a sense of their potential for matching my instrument.  They worked well and were appropriately pitched which was a huge relief.  My proposal for my sabbatical includes learning Baroque reedmaking but I must admit, I'm so overwhelmed with learning the instrument and the performance practice, it's hard to imagine at this point how I will also manage learning reedmaking.  

Our lesson together went well enough.  Andrew performs and teaches at a level vastly superior to where I am currently playing or even at which I have knowledge.  It's wonderful to hear him play in lessons, the nuance of style, character and rhythm is immediately beautiful.  Unfortunately, I'm still so mired in the logistics of playing, I'm not able to respond and make quick adjustments in my lesson.

This is a crucial illustration of an ongoing challenge I have with my own students.  One of my single greatest frustrations with my teaching is feeling vastly underutilized by most of my studio.  I want to to talk about making beautiful music.  In reality, I spend most lessons with students reminding them to flick, half-hole, fix fingerings, adjust reeds, model practicing; living in the world of fundamentals.  But in this process I'm reminded that they are struggling with those fundamentals and therefore cannot jump ahead to the communication of beautiful music.  

One of my goals for this sabbatical is to ponder this quandary: how can I get my students to master their fundamentals earlier in their studies (though we never abandon fundamentals) so that we can get to music-making.  This is a process addressed each semester but also within the arc of 8 semesters of collegiate study.  Determining when in each lesson, when in each semester, and when in their total studies I stop hearing the minutiae of scales, technique etc and pass that responsibility over to them to manage on their own so that we can spend more of our time together working on the music made possible by robust fundamentals.  As part of that careful process, when and what repertoire to select that challenges and compliments their foundational work without overwhelming.  

This week's lesson with Andrew demonstrated that I have made progress on the instrument, finding more clarity in my tone, improved intonation, and early attempts at ornamentation.  He also encouraged me to do some needed repair work to the instrument to fix the stuck low b-flat key on my own which is pictured below.  Finally, a recording of my current progress.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Baroque Bassoon Bonanza

Today I had my first lesson with bassoonist Andrew Burn.  

It was wonderful...and humbling...and a reminder of so many things I say to my students which are now being said to me:
  • figure out your fingerings (so we can focus on music)
  • "It all sounds the same..."
  • Long tones
  • Kovar studies
But first, I need to back up to explain why I'm studying with a Swiss-based historical bassoonist over Zoom.

In 2019 I ordered a Baroque bassoon from Leslie Ross, bassoon-maker.  Over the years, and because of a few less than positive experiences, it became obvious that I need to learn a lot more about performance practice.  The opportunity presented itself to have a bassoon built and I seized it!  It took about 6 months to receive the bassoon.  You can watch my unboxing and first horrible notes here:

After receiving the instrument with a few reeds from Leslie and a fingering chart, I went to work teaching myself how to play.  It didn't really go anywhere.  In the summer of 2019, I headed up to Bozeman, Montana to attend the Baroque Music Montana Period Performance Workshop.  It was a wonderful experience to be placed in an ensemble and perform with other professional modern players who were novice period performers.  The experience whet my appetite for learning and growing as an informed period performer.  The Baroque world is an entire world unto itself with a unique and distinct set of  performers, teachers, repertoire, ensembles, and instruments different from modern bassoon.  If I have learned anything about period performance it's that you have to leave behind everything you know about music as a modern player and open your mind and ears to something entirely new...or old.  

You can watch my performance (on modern bassoon) here:

Enter global forward to fall 2021.  I achieved CFS status at BYU-Idaho (our version, though nothing like a tenure process) which allowed me to apply for my first faculty leave (sabbatical).  I decided it was time to carve out meaningful Baroque study with master teachers, players, and ensembles.  I submitted my application for leave in Jan - April 2023, traveling in the US and Europe to study Baroque bassoon and performance practice.  My leave was approved and funded - wow!

However exciting it was to receive that news, it was hampered with the reality that in over two years of owning my own instrument, I really had learned very little and had made no meaningful process.

I started researching how I could begin my studies immediately despite being in southeastern Idaho, thousands of miles from any major center of period performance.  Even though I was a year away from my sabbatical, I knew I needed to start preparing now if my leave plans were going to amount to anything productive.  I wanted to function in my leave as a Baroque bassoonists who was well in control of my instrument and some rep, not as a beginner.  I found Andrew Burn and his many resources to include a masterclass he was holding with Dominic Teresi. 

I joined Andrew's Patreon to access more of his resources and masterclasses.  It was obvious I had so much to learn and as much as I desired to expand my knowledge, I wasn't engaged in structured learning.  In fact, I wasn't even sure how to structure my learning of both the instrument and performance practice.  I had a lot of questions but not the confidence to ask.  I increased my Patreon level which included a monthly lesson, and that is where I am at today.  

It's my goal within this process and upcoming sabbatical to use this experience to remind myself of the challenges associated with the learning process of my students.  There are so many challenges a student has to face as they enter a degree program and move swiftly from novice to competent to masterful.  Already, I feel more empathy:
  • lack of confidence
  • humility in learning
  • amassing resources
  • reaching out to master teachers/performers
  • lesson anxiety
  • lesson inability
I'm very excited to embark on this journey and to document my thoughts and experiences.  In the spirit of transparency and to help the reader appreciate how high the mountain is which I must climb, here's a sample of my current playing.   Enjoy...?