How I count


When I was a teenager I started to count bars rest using the keys of the left thumb on my bassoon. At that time I had an instrument with 8 keys for my thumb, and I counted 1 on the Bb key, 2 on the B key and continued anticlockwise around all the keys (see diagram). I still use the same method even though I have some more hardware for the thumb on my present instrument!

I have noticed two advantages using this method:

  1. Your thumb finds the keys quicker when playing, due to familiarity.
  2. Lots of music has 8 bar phrases – one complete circuit.

The two disadvantages are:

  1. You can get 8 bars out by forgetting how many times round your thumb has been.
  2. You wear the plating off your keys quicker.