Wells Cathedral School Double Reed Extravaganza

8 October 2023

‘Duck to Diva’ – A new approach!

Liz Fyfe writes:

“For a long time, and like so many other teachers, I have been seriously concerned by falling numbers of children taking up the oboe and bassoon, or even knowing of their existence at all. I felt that the next double reed event held at Wells Cathedral School should take a different approach to encourage and truly support double reed students at every stage of their musical journey, even those who have not yet started!

“I have been working with composer Teresa Barlow on a new concept, in which we include Primary School children from local schools who have no musical experience at all to come to the day, learn how to squeak reeds and essentially have their first lesson on the bassoon and/or oboe. These complete beginners will squeak morse code for “oboe” and “bassoon” (yes, it fits quite nicely into 3/4!) as part of the piece, and rattle keys. The piece, entitled Duck to Diva, is very carefully crafted to show off students of all abilities, each level of student having their moment in the sun, and finishes with a virtuosic cadenza for our “guests” on the day who are some of Wells’ great past students now working in the profession.

“The idea of the concept is to show in one piece every learning stage of the oboe/bassoon journey. I hope the piece will be used as a new tool by music hubs/teachers/music schools everywhere to introduce the oboe and bassoon in a truly fun way. As the piece is modular, we will work in stage-appropriate groups on the day to give each group confidence before bringing it all together to rehearse and then perform. We will be joined on 8th October by students from the RWCMD as well as our own (and former) students at Wells, all working on the day and gaining experience in outreach and community music. The piece will be part of the concert at the end of the day, which also features the guests and RWCMD students.

“The day will also include workshops, masterclasses and chamber music opportunities along with advice sessions for those considering Music College entrance. It promises to be lots of fun and innovative. All details and booking can be found here.

“We look forward to welcoming you to Wells on 8th October!”

Liz Fyfe