Légère Artist Feature | Paul Hanson
1. Why did you choose the bassoon over other reed instruments?
I started first on clarinet, then I added saxophone-then in 10th grade-I started bassoon. In conservatory-it really became my voice as I was involved in classical music but I wondered why there were no improvisors on the instrument. I still play clarinet and sax (and use Legere reeds for sax) but bassoon to me is such a unique and wonderful sounding instrument that I chose it as my primary creative voice. But I still gig a lot of saxophone as well.
- What keeps you motivated to practice and play?
All the great young whippersnappers out there that keep raising the bar higher. I remember why I wanted to be a musician when I hear them-and they are plentiful. There’s things going on in music today that I had hoped would happen back when I was in school. Music education has really evolved in ways that have included a lot of different wonderful musical styles and incredible influences.
- What advice would you give to intermediate musicians taking the leap to the advanced/professional tier?
The #1 thing I can say: You never ‘have it made’ in the music business-you have to ‘keep making it”. Don’t rest on your laurels even when you find success-or what you think is success. Making a great YouTube video with a lot of views is nice but-you need to translate that into dollars and/or other career opportunities. The #2 thing that’s just about as important: always try to play with musicians that you feel challenge you, that are a bit better that you currently are maybe
- How has your musical life changed since you started playing Légère reeds?
Légère reeds have given me stability personally-when it comes to just playing music and knowing what to expect when I go to make a sound. I don’t have to worry about a whole lot of stuff concerning weather, humidity, pitch, and of course having to keep the reed wet. Sometimes having a cup of water for the reed onstage makes things difficult. It’s weird enough having a bassoon onstage with a drummer, amps, guitarists, pedals, etc. To have to watch out for a little cup of reed water on the floor is an aggravation that I don’t have with Légère. It’s nice to know that even someone from a very traditional background on the bassoon such as my conservatory teacher Stephen Paulson (another Légère Reed artist) believes in the potential of these great reeds-it’s not just jazz music that does well with Légère.
- What’s next for you in your musical career?
I’m working on a book of bass clef duets for bassoonists, bassists-and I’m strongly considering putting it in treble clef. I’m working on music with a group led by Brooks Drums artist Alan Hall called RATATET-we just recorded our second album. I’m also working with a few different artists around here and continuing to work on my solo bassoon show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQITIQoS2RE) and my trio Electreo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdQy6vl1HM8) . I’m also working on my second electric bassoon concerto for bassoon and orchestra. That and teaching on SKYPE and in the community.