It Is My Firm Belief

That anyone considering a career as a soloist be required, as part of their musical training, to spend, at minimum, a full year accompanying others. The whole range - from young beginners playing their first "Twinkle" recital to the most picky and demanding diva.

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A Mantra for Teachers

This, approximately quoted from Gene Medler, founder and artistic director of the North Carolina Youth Tap Ensemble:

How I teach:

1.) Teach them everything you know.

2.) Open every door you possibly can for them.

3.) Get out of their way.

Congratulations to Gene and NCYTE on your 30th anniversary!

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Buxtehude's Membra Jesu Nostri

It's been posted elsewhere but just had to share this video of the amazing piece we did at Duke Chapel a week ago. Music doesn't start until about 20 minutes in. If you like to watch musicians milling about and tuning and talking watch from the beginning. There's a very delicious ensemble of 5 bass viols about an hour and 2 minutes in. I'm playing my new (almost finished) violone and a Pringle bass viol. Some wonderful singing and playing here. Click the "Read More" link if the video does not appear here.

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World's First All Bass Radio Station!

Brian Bromberg has set up an Internet radio station that plays all music by bassists from all genres. Bass on the Broadband has an excellent web based player but you can also stream through your favorite player on your computer. Upcoming shows will include Classical Showcase on Sundays. This weekly internet radio broadcast solely for the classical double bass will reach all corners of the world featuring the leading artists of our time, legends, young stars, competition winners and many more. In collaboration with the Bradetich Foundation.

Bass On the Broadband is the brain-child of Brian Bromberg, Grammy award winning electric bassist. His radio broadcasts currently run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week focusing primarily on electric bass and jazz upright styles. The Bradetich Foundation Classical Showcase will integrate classical bass into the programming and will air on Sundays from 9-12 Eastern time. The shows will also be podcast so that they can be replayed at any time. The podcasts, playlists for future broadcasts and information on how to submit CD's for possible broadcast will be available from www.bradetichfoundation.org.

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Vibrato You Could Drive a Truck Through

I often have to remind students to use vibrato sparingly and intentionally. Depending on their age I have various ways of communicating this. Recently I saw the following on Facebook:

Vibrato on every note is like putting ketchup all over the music.

I tried that on a young student yesterday but then his dad informed me that the student puts ketchup on EVERYthing.

But then someone pointed me to these excerpts from Leopold Auer's classic book on violin teaching:

The purpose of the vibrato, the wavering effect of tone secured by rapid oscillation of a finger on the string which it stops, is to lend more expressive quality to a musical phrase, and even to a single note of a phrase. Like the portamento, the vibrato is primarily a means used to heighten effect, to embellish and beautify a singing passageor tone. Unfortunately, both singers and players of string instruments frequently abuse this effect just as they do the portamento, and by doing so they have called into being a plague of the most inartistic nature, one to which ninety out of every hundred vocal and instrumental soloists fall victim.

Some of the performers who habitually make use of the vibrato are under the impression that they are making their playing more effective, and some of them find the vibrato a very convenient device for hiding bad intonation or bad tone production. But such an artifice is worse than useless. That student is wise who listens intelligently to his own playing, admits to himself that his intonation or tone production is bad, and then undertakes to improve it. Resorting to the vibrato in an ostrich-like endeavour to conceal bad tone production and intonation from oneself and from others not only halts progress in the improvement of one's fault, but is out and out dishonest artistically.

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The Closet Soloist (Diva Wannabe)

As a bassist I spend most of my musical life as an accompanist. It's a special skill and one I quite enjoy - doing everything I can to make other musicians sound good. In a jazz setting I frequently get to "solo" - to improvise melodies while others accompany me - but most of the time it's laying down the harmonic foundation and playing with the right nuance and subtlety to allow the "real" soloists (vocalists, violinists, saxophonists, etc.) to shine through. It has been said that every bassist is a closet cellist - that instrument that imitates the sound and range of the human voice more than any other. And it is true, I have....

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Remember This

He is a poor pupil who does not surpass his master.

- Leonardo

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