***What to Expect From Your First Lesson*** Hi, my name is Christopher and I want to give you some information about what you can expect from a lesson, including your very first one. We first put the instrument together and talk about how to take care of this wonderful and also expensive musical instrument. I want to learn about you, if you are playing in any ensembles, what year are you in school, and what made you curious about the bassoon. We will play together some warm-ups and work our way into music. We will discuss the tradition of music for this instrument, learn selected studies while also working towards personalized goals, ensemble music, and learning favorite songs. I also like to include improvisation and music making projects that you can do at home with just a smart phone and free apps. I am also a student of the Alexander Technique and Body Mapping, which are two practices that help to coordinate natural movement. I may occasionally introduce a movement awareness practice or assign pages from the Human Anatomy Coloring Book as another way of learning to support our lessons. ***What to Bring to a Lesson*** Please bring your instrument, your REEDS, music you have been assigned in your lessons, your observations and questions, a notebook, and essential tools like a seat strap, metronome, and pencil. Sometimes we might work on creative projects through phone apps or computer software, read music on iPads if available, or I may recommend a metronome or tuner app on a phone. Please also bring any technology that we have agreed to work with! If I travel to you for a lesson, please have a music stand and two armless chairs available for the lesson. ***Online Lesson Set-up*** In addition to what you will need for a normal lesson, online lessons will involve a bit more set-up. In an ideal world, I will be able to see your hands on the video with a wide frame, and there are some specific options on Zoom that will help improv audio quality. I will send out information for how to set up with your computer for an online lesson when booked. ***Studio Policy*** Engaging with your music, finding songs you love, listening to other musicians, and building successful study habits will reward you with satisfying progress. A little active learning on your instrument each day will take you to your goals and beyond. Rest also helps our brains process information and store it better, and sometimes life also gets busy and we may have to miss a lesson. When this happens, please notify me by the day before your lesson and we will set up a different time or refund the lesson. As a general rule, if you cancel within 24 hours of your lesson time, your lesson will be charged as usual with no make-up lesson offered. ***How to Practice*** A major focus of lessons will often be discussing practice strategies and how to train to coordinate a new musical skill during your practice. Sometimes practice tools like a metronome or recording device such as a phone or computer will be needed. We will talk about how to vary your practice approach according to the needs of the music and your current goals. Students should expect to practice often! ***Bassoon Reeds*** Reeds play a major role in how fun or challenging it can be to play the bassoon. Playing a double reed instrument, like the bassoon, means making or purchasing reeds. I can help with the process of sourcing and selecting reeds, maintaining them, and making them when the time is right. This will be built into our normal lesson times. For beginning students, we always need at least three reeds to play on, because they can break and change over time, eventually losing their ability to play. For my advanced students we will set up a reed program, aiming to always have three practice reeds, three performance reeds, and three new reeds. ***Studio Resources*** I teach from my home studio in a large Bushwick loft space. It is one block from the Jefferson L stop and there is street parking available. There is waiting space available for parents, nearby cafes and a park at the end of the block. I am happy to make you a cup of coffee or tea. I have music stands, a digital piano, a reedmaking table, reed equipment, and supplies, as well as additional bassoon necessities such as reeds for sale, seat strap, recording equipment, and more. *Please note, there are two cats in in my apartment! Their names are Fern and Jade and they are a friendly Tuxedo and Tabby pair. ***About Me*** Christopher Foss is a freelance musician and teaching artist, living in Brooklyn, NY. He can be found playing bassoon and shakuhachi in various performance situations from contemporary classical chamber music, traditional Kinko-ryu honkyoku music of the shakuhachi flute, orchestral contrabassoon, and experimental music projects covering text scores to sound-based electroacoustic improvisation. Christopher is most interested in the co-creative experience of music making, inclusive of relation to both people and space cohabited, while engaging with new work as performer, improviser, or composer. Performance credits include groups such as: Relâche Ensemble, WildUp, SEM Ensemble, Wordless Music, Tri-Centric Foundation, Brooklyn Raga Massive, Curiosity Cabinet, Southland Ensemble, Dog Star Orchestra, Long Beach Chamber Orchestra, American Youth Symphony, Portland Symphony Orchestra, and festivals across the US, Canada, and Italy. He is former contrabassoonist with the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and has performed with GRAMMY-winning artists Kathleen Battle and Lynn Harrell, singer-songwriter Joanna Newsom, and multidisciplinary artists Helga Davis and Carole Kim. While living in Los Angeles, he worked under film composers David Newman, Danny Elfman, and Alan Silvestri. He was winner of the 2012 Concerto Competition at the University of New Hampshire and has performed as a soloist with the New Millennium Chamber Orchestra and Divertimento String Orchestra. Venues performed at include Walt Disney Concert Hall, il Duomo of Milan, REDCAT, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, National Sawdust, LaMaMa Experimental Theatre, various warehouses, and Roulette, where he is on staff as an assistant audio engineer. He completed his MFA in bassoon performance at California Institute of the Arts, BM at the University of New Hampshire, and additional studies at Lynn Conservatory and L’Istituto Superiore Di Studi Musicali Gaetano Donizetti in Bergamo, Italy, for which he was the recipient of an international research grant in 2012. His teachers include bassoonists Janet Polk, Julie Feves, Giorgio Versiglia, and Eric Varner and improvisers Vinny Golia and Susie Allen. He studies Kinko-ryu shakuhachi with Ralph Samuelson and Elizabeth Brown. Christopher is on faculty at the Southern Maine Music Academy, SoMMA, and enjoys teaching students at his home studio in North Brooklyn. He has taught at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Special Music High School, and coached with Harmony Project, Face the Music, The Little Orchestra Society, Education Through Music, and Community Arts Partnership, among others. He has also presented guest lectures at California State University Northridge, North Hollywood Institute of the Arts, University of New Hampshire, and California Institute of the Arts.
Teaches all skill levels
Teaching since 2010
MFA, Instrumental Arts
Teaches ages 5+
Has background check
Chris is a wonderful teacher! I had a couple of lessons with him to prepare for my Grad School auditions. and he provided me with the feedback I needed in a supportive style. Even though I was only able to have a couple of lessons they were quite meaningful and I would definitely recommend him. He has great energy and is quite knowledgeable.
Chris loves teaching woodwinds and it shows! He is amazing at bassoon as well as clarinet, flute, and shakuhachi. He’s great with breath control, musicality, and tailoring lessons to students strengths and individual needs. Highly recommend!!
Chris has an infectious love for music and woodwind instruments, and he shares this enthusiasm with his students. As a performer and teacher, he is well-versed in many styles of playing. He is patient, kind and intuitive about the needs of his students. I highly recommend Chris as a teacher!