Interview from WFIU – The Soul Of The Orchestra: Bassoonist Kathleen McLean

Associate professor of bassoon at the IU Jacobs School of Music, Kathleen McLean says, “People have always said the bassoon sounds like the human soul.”Listen Now: The Soul Of The Orchestra: Bassoonist Kathleen McLean-4:44

Read the full article here:

Exercise Based on “Tchaikovsky 6”

This is a technical exercise for bassoon that emphasizes the lower register.

It’s a really great exercise to develop 2nd bassoon playing in an orchestra. There is a lot of left thumb work and this pattern can go all the way up to the highest register as well. You are executing this pattern using all of the keys.

The order of notes can also be shuffled around within a small intervalic space similar to the Hanon Piano exercises (a wonderful resource for developing technique). Simon Kovar’s Bassoon book is also an excellent resource.

Download the exercise here

“The Split” in the three registers of the bassoon

This is a standard warm up for a lot of instruments. I’ve found it really helps build awareness of air flow as intervals increase and expand ascending and descending.

This is a good warm up for legato and sound production and how to negotiate the spin of the air stream.

This piece can also be played along with a drone and also on any starting note.

Forging A Path to the Future with Bassoon and Electro Music

For the last three months, I’ve been working on an experimental collaboration and a series of recording projects with composer Chiel Meijering in the electronic dance music (EDM) / electro-pop genre.

For the last three months, I’ve been working on an experimental collaboration and a series of recording projects with composer Chiel Meijering in the electronic dance music (EDM) / electro-pop genre.

His original tracks are enhanced by the bassoon and it removes the stereotype of a bassoon (which has been more of an orchestral instrument) and takes it into a world of pop / electronic music.

In some of the tracks Meijering mixes excerpts from Gabrielli, Bach, and other old composers. He adds layers of electronic soundscapes and driving rhythms and melds the old and the new together into a fascinating musical graffiti.

This concept of having the ability to take the electro tracks and go out into the world and play along with them is an incredible opportunity for future musicians because this allows them to take a “cyber ensemble” into any venue at any time. This is a great avenue for some young musicians to start up their musical careers in an entrepreneurial way. It’s possible that in the future you will be able to play with cyber orchestras!

New Premiere Performance at the 2019 International Double Reed Society Conference in Tampa, Florida

I am pleased to announce that my proposal for a new concerto premiere for Bassoon & Strings will be performed in the evening on July 15th at the International Double Reed Society Conference. Visit the IDRS 2019 Conference website for more information!

IDRS 2019 ~ July 14-18, 2019, Tampa Florida at the School of Music of South Florida

SHIMMY SHIMMY, Meijering McLean – January 2020

SHIMMY SHIMMY – Meijering McLean

The 2nd of two electronic tracks featuring bassoonist Kathleen Mclean. It’s a collection of interesting tracks that are a mixture of folk, rock, classical contemporary jazz. It’s an eclectic mix of electro pop.

2019 Tour with the International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico

After two weeks spent in Puerto Rico, The International Chamber Orchestra of Puerto Rico (ICOPR) completed 8 concerts, several master classes, and reached out to many students, young children, and adults with disabilities.

The local community we visited appeared fascinated because they had never seen classical music instruments before. At rehearsal breaks the children would be paraded around the orchestra to look at our instruments. It was funny and it was almost as if we were, “animals in a zoo”. They were delighted and in many cases the students came up and touched the instruments. It was sweet!

We also had a chance to see the developments after Hurricane Maria. The people were so kind and warm. We heard stories of people without phone and electricity for seven months! Some people had to sleep in their cars at night. The only thing they had was a car and gas. No phone and no computer for that long! (Maybe that would be good?) The gift of music to the Puerto Rico community was really appreciated.

Throughout the weeks the principal players of the orchestra were giving master classes to the young aspiring musicians of Puerto Rico at each city we performed in.

On the odd off day, we visited beaches throughout the territory of Puerto Rico. There was a gorgeous surfing resort town called Rincón where we saw some super interesting waves. Some of us rented paddle boards, enjoyed the beach, and enjoyed the local dives. The visit inspired me to think I may want to move here for part of the year.

Here are some photos from the trip:

2019 National Youth Orchestra of Canada

The NYO Canada residency will begin on June 18th and will finish in mid-July. As in previous years, our Summer Institute will take place at Wilfrid Laurier University.


For more than fifty years, NYO Canada has enjoyed an iconic reputation as Canada’s orchestral finishing school, providing the most comprehensive and in-depth training program available to our country’s best young classical musicians.

Here’s a YouTube clip of last year’s performance: