I was captivated by the bassoon from the moment I got my hands on one in high school. The instrument I started on had no brand name; the only identifying piece of information I remember was the word “Czechoslovakia” engraved on the body. I used to have to hold on to the bottom joint tightly while playing, or it would fall off.

Jackie Newcomb. Photo supplied

I knew I wanted to be a professional bassoonist when I joined the Sydney Youth Orchestra on a tour of Denmark in Year 12. The experience encapsulated my greatest joys in life: playing music, travelling and meeting new people. A few years later, I knew I wanted to be a contrabassoonist after playing it at my first National Music Camp in 2004. I remember finding out that playing the contrabassoon could be a job and thinking, how can I make this happen? I started taking serious bassoon lessons during my first year at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music with John Cran. I remember being in awe of the way he played, as if he and his instrument were one.

In my job as Principal Contrabassoon with the...

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