Howarth of London are proud to be the UK’s Exclusive Distributor for Heyday’s Fagonello! Below is Heyday’s write up on this fantastic child friendly bassoon! To find them on ourwebsite click hereor call 020 7935 2407 to try the instrument out!
It is a lovely challenge to get children the really right instrument. They may already be playing something at school, or even earlier – how to inspire them into the fun of making music together with others ? And “bass enthusiasts” soon face another question, about “which one for me ?”.
Due to its size and weight the bassoon is always bound to be a relatively late ” beginner’s thing ” – below a certain body size it is simply unplayable. In addition the bassoon lacks by its nature a certain intuitive usability – it’s pretty impossible to pick up the instrument and play it readily. To start with, correct assembly and disassembly is a bit complicated, and not just for small children; in a worst scenario the efforts may be followed by quite expensive repair bills for parents. This may be one reason why it is far behind the recorder, clarinet, guitar or piano in schoolroom popularity. Even in youth orchestras the bassoon is often missed out. Yet children appreciate that the recorder has no proper “Fondamento” – many have a distinct preference for “a real bass”.
This is all a quite familiar problem ground for the small number of young bassoonists arriving at conservatories and music academies. At these places there is often an expectation of quite advanced and competitive performance from young people who are actually still at a typical “bassoon beginner’s stage”.
In attempts at ergonomic adaptations of the “real bassoon” (like reduction of keys, partial use of other materials) the main obstacles re size and weight are still present: the basic construction concept as well as essential parameters such as tube dimension and absolute keyhole positions remain unchanged.
A compromise for instrument handling and sound is offered by quart- and quintbassoons. In regard to sound and register these are first half-way houses to the bassoon, but involve the problem of transposing. Later, at the point of switching to the “real” bassoon, the student has to unlearn what he/she heard with standard fingerings. This is naturally a problem for anyone with a lively sound memory.
For some years now the HEYDAY’S company located in Dresden (Germany) has put innovative ideas into practice around making musical instruments and products (www.heyday-s.com) – and kept an eye on the evolution of children’s bassoons. This is no surprise as Johannes Wahrig (CEO of product development with HEYDAY’S) is a former professional musician, teacher and instrument maker. After a passionate 30 years’ engagement with the instrument, a fundamental new approach to the demand for a bassoon that was child-friendly became close to his heart, and a “must do”.
The self-set target was to develop an intuitively usable instrument, most of all one that works and sounds like a “real” large bassoon. In short: fit in all ways for the needs and actual daily life of small kids.
HEYDAY’S has made major innovations in construction materials, already used in top-level instruments (e.g. bassoon “Gebr. Moennig 214 Diamant Del Sol”, oboes by L. Frank/Berlin etc.). It was therefore possible to pursue a radically different design concept toward achieving the hoped for target.
The Fagonello (or Bassoonello; Fagott = German for bassoon) conforms exactly to the “real” bassoon in regard to register, pitch, finger positions, blowing pressure, reeds used, and feel-for-playing. In addition to all that it makes for intuitive usability, because complicated assembly is totally eliminated by its one-piece design. Just pull the instrument out of its bag, put the bocal on plus reed, and start playing, whenever you want. Even a guitar needs a tune first !
The Fagonello is made of selected local wood, which is artificially “aged” using special technology. The wood, modified in this manner, acquires outstanding acoustic qualities and has a great appearance. It is very light in weight and resistant to moisture. The whole instrument weighs a little above 1 kg (and is thus 2 to 3 times lighter than a bassoon). And it hangs perfectly balanced in the correct position in front of the body, in contrast to the top-heavy bassoon. All parameters for the ideal ergonomic position of wrist joints, fingers, embouchure etc. are there – incorporated into a new and child-friendly instrument for the ages of ca. 5 – 10 years.
Made of high quality materials in the best instrument makers’ tradition, the Fagonello is a 100% German product. Of course aesthetic appreciation is also learned by children in time – the Fagonello is not a low-budget toy but a handcrafted instrument. And affordable because of modern production technologies. Finally: it’s intended as a good “engine” for the bassoonists of the future.
Quite simply, the Fagonello/Bassoonello enables children, as never before, to play the bassoon with pleasure and fun in the truest and most positive sense of the word “play”. Outstanding overall ergonomics and many small sophisticated details turn a fine concept into the ideal real thing. With the right sound in the ears and the right feeling in the fingers, the player’s future is set for a straightforward and seamless changeover to the large bassoon.
To Listen to the Fagonello listen to these Youtube Videos!