This is an example of what it looks like to apply the Alexander Technique to the act of sitting:
|This is the ideal bassoon playing position.....now all that remains is adding the bassoon and then placing the arms in playing position.|
The above sitting posture should be absolutely unaffected by the introduction of the bassoon and the insertion of the reed into the mouth. Obviously the arms must be moved in order to accommodate the instrument, and the positioning of the arms should be as natural and relaxed as possible.
|the posture should NOT be affected by the bassoon|
I'm no expert on Alexander Technique, but I've had a few lessons and found them to be immensely beneficial. I've spent a lot of time working with students on playing position since I'm convinced that it makes a difference. I begin by asking the student to sit comfortably in the chair with good posture as indicated by the photo at the top of this post. Then the bassoon is brought into that playing position. It's challenging to talk students into not moving the body to accommodate the bassoon! The goal is to adjust the bassoon, not the player. The seat strap may be manipulated up and down as well as backward and forward in the chair to place the bassoon in the right position.
Additionally, I advise my students to position the bassoon high enough so that when the reed is inserted into the mouth, all of the pressure on the reed is applied from above. The jaw should be dropped and prevented from pushing up on the reed. If the bassoon is positioned too low, the jaw will automatically push up on the reed, constricting the sound and raising the pitch. The lower lip supports and surrounds the reed, but the pressure on the reed is felt in the top lip and the top front teeth.
This is the playing position and embouchure which I think enables a desirable bassoon sound. The abdomen is free to expand for breathing and vibrato and the reed is allowed to vibrate while being dampened on top for a robust yet round sound. The lack of tension in the playing position will most likely prevent any performance-related injuries.