My textbook, An Introduction to Double Playing is available as a multimedia book on iTunes for the iPad here.
With my simple arrangement of Pomp & Circumstance, your string orchestra will be ready in no time AND sound great!
Several years ago I was hired to do an Easter church service gig in a very affluent suburb of Chicago. I was excited as it was great music, close to where I lived, and decent pay. There rehearsal was at 9am and the service at 11. The chamber orchestra comprised local gigging musicians and hired guns. The chorus consisted of volunteers from the church – mostly elderly women. Both ensembles sounded lovely.
I arrived early to setup – as all musicians do! I was the only bassist and was in back just in front of the choir which was behind a wooden railing. We were going through the music and all was good when one of the singers just behind me dropped her music.
I stopped playing, picked up her music,handed it to her and continued playing. She said a pleasant thank you and continued singing. I thought nothing of it. Picking up her music was the right thing to do, right? Apparently not!
The conductor stopped and sternly asked me what the problem was and why I had stopped playing. I explained the situation and reassured him that I knew the music and the performance would be fine. He was not happy about the situation! So here was a church director and I had tried to do the right thing by being helpful. My mistake! I was never hired back in that church!!
What are your thoughts on what does or doesn’t count as practice?
We spend a lot of time with our instrument but what really moves our playing ahead?
Leave your comment below!
from the String Emporium:
My name is Steve Koscica and I own and operate a web site dedicated to the upright bass. While we do sell cellos and cello strings (and cases), our specialty and dedication to the upright bass is unrivaled. We’re one of the biggest bass dealers in the world! Personally, I have been a professional orchestral bassist for more than 25 years.
We offer everything from smaller fractional upright (student) basses, plus basses in every possible price range, all the way up and past the $100k range. We sell our bass strings at the lowest prices in the world as well as just about every possible accessory. On our website, there are tons of informative articles about choosing the right kind of bass strings (can be confusing for a lot of people) and there are other informative articles about the different types and makes of basses.
Also check out their sites for all orchestra strings:
Hmmm.. An anachronism? A modern bow hand?
I recently had a student ask me if he was good enough for a specific ensemble he saw on television. I said no and he was sort of crushed. So I explained my response.
“It’s not that you couldn’t do it, but on your current path you’re not going to make it. However, you can always change
that path – that’s the great part! You can always hop on a new road. But that new road will require more practice, lessons, etc.”
That really helped to change the tone of, “No, you can’t do it.”
This past weekend I was practicing and working on some rather fast sixteenth note passages. I wanted to get the down bows and up to be exactly the same length – and very short. Hmmm. I could be out stickers on my bow like I do for students. Nah, not accurate enough. So I thought about putting White-Out on the hair so I could see the distribution. No White-Out in my desk. A-ha! But I have lot’s of paperclips!! Below are pictures of what I did. It worked well and provided I nice tactile stop and aural click at the ends of the stroke.
“Sharpening the Saw” is one of Dr. Stephen Covey’s ‘habits’ in is 7 Steps for Highly Effective People.
It came to mind yesterday when I was practicing. I’m getting back into ‘shape’ and practicing after traveling for the holidays – I’m also getting back into my gym routine as well. I noticed my mind and focus wandering a bit both in musical practice and in the gym.
A while ago I ranted about Shar’s Hoffmann bass and their awful customer service. I also praised the Shen line of basses. See that rant here. My school has a 1/8 size of each. I stand by that rant now more than ever. The Hoffmann fingerboard has warped unbelievably so. The Shen is a rock. We bought our Shen from Classic Contrabass and Michelle does her own bridges.
Anyway.. I took some snapshots today of each bass. Take a look. Continue reading
Disappointed that your students aren’t going to music school? Perhaps you should be disappointed that they are. What? Did I just say that? Continue reading
It happens to all of us. We practice. We have our routine (which is good!). We have our allotted practice time and organized it into a balance diet of exercises and music for an efficient route to progress.
And then after a few months, stagnation sets in. We’re zoning out, tuning out, and feeling generally flat.
What can you do to get you out of this artistic rut?
Descending Tri-Tone – YYZ – Rush
Secondary Dominant – She Hates Me – Puddle of Mudd
Take On Me (at 3:05) – covered byMxPx
iv – I – Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
I – IV – V – I Love Rock n Roll – Joan Jett
I – IV – V with Arpeggiated Bass – Stir it Up – Bob Marley & The Wailers
I – IV – V – IV – Undone (The Sweater Song) – Weezer
V – IV – I – Sweet Home Alabama
I – IV – I – Beverly Hills – Weezer
I – IV – I ( With Descending Bass) – Car Carrier Blues – Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon
Major to Minor – Stealin’ – Uriah Heep
Rage Against The Machine
Tri-Tone – Purple Haze or YYZ
Descending 4th – Under Pressure / Ice Ice Baby
Ascending Octave – Simple – Phish
Descending M3 – Simple – Phish (toward end of riff with with 10th (Mi) to 8ve (Do)
We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
Sunshine of Your Love – Cream
5 to 7 Schism- Tool
YMCA – The Village People
Quarter Note Triplets – Seven Nation Army – The White Stripes
Bass Line Movement
I – b7 – Fields of Joy – Lenny Kravitz
I’m currently weeding out my bookmarks that I’ve saved for YEARS. Many don’t work, but I’ve also rediscovered some gems.
Here are a few good reads:
…and this last one is a bit self-indulgent – it’s Bill Merchant’s page on C-Extensions. He built mine and I think they’re just great.
Ugh. I just finished a lesson with a wonderfully nice student with an upcoming audition. Apparently, the local high school is having Russlan and Ludmilla as their excerpt of choice for current 8th graders / incoming freshman. Russlan? Really? Come on!!!
This infuriates me and is so discouraging to the students. Why not just ask them to quit and cut corners in their development?
Here’s an older post over at Double Bass Blog about getting back into playing shape after a break. It’s short and simple but what is really prophetic is (once again) a seasoned professional emphasizing fundamentals.
I’m a big fan of David Allen, author of Getting Things Done and other productivity books. I subscribe to his email newsletter (which are far and few in between but full of great content) and this post is an an excerpt from one.
I think teachers, and especially those that teach beginners, should keep these concepts in mind.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
For years I have woven the martial arts metaphor in and through my writing, training and coaching about Getting Things Done®. I had the good fortune to be able to study karate for several years in my twenties, and my familiarity with that field gave me a rich context of images and concepts to draw from.
MostlyBass BlastFromThePast Post
Here’s a tool I’ve recently developed to help my middle school students learn their solos for our upcoming solo festival. Check it out and let me know what you think!
MostlyBass BlastFromThePast Post
Below is a newsletter / article from speaker and best-selling author, Jon Gordon. This one talks about practice and the performance.
“You don’t love me. You don’t care. You’re not taking this seriously,” my wife said to me with tears streaming down her face as we left Lamaze class. We were expecting the birth of our first child. I was only 27. My brain wasn’t fully developed yet so I turned to my wife and said, “Its ok. I’m good on Game Day. I’ve always been good on Game Day.”
“Game Day. Game Day. Are you kidding me? This is not some sports event. This is the birth of our child. We need to practice.” She was right. Practice makes a difference.