UofWA Grad School/Seattle?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by James Gibson, Jan 15, 2014.


  1. James Gibson

    James Gibson

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Hello! I hope this topic isn't better suited for the Bass Ped. forum.

    A friend has recently suggested I move to Seattle with them. A move is insured eventually, but Seattle hasn't been on my short list. I'm looking to begin grad school at some point (undergrad degree from the University of South Carolina, Jazz Studies major), so I checked out the University of Washington website. Does anyone have anything to share regarding the music program at UofWA? Further, any information on the jazz scene, or music scene in general would be greatly appreciated.
  2. So Low Bass

    So Low Bass

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY. USA
    All I know about UofWA Seattle is what I just read on their website. The "jazz studies" instructor neglected to list his academic credentials. The "legit" instructor's credential look VERY impressive. It looks like he has a world of experience to share.

    Most grad students don't truck across the country to pay out of state tuition at a state school for a program they know nothing about. I see no "jazz studies" masters major anyway. Whose playing do you LOVE?? What is her/his reputation AND track record as a teacher? Save a TON of money and take private lessons from this person, even if you flip hamburgers. A Masters will not get you any gigs... your playing and reputation will.
  3. meandering

    meandering

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Location:
    pullman, wa, usa
    Actually, if you want to teach at the university level, a graduate degree is helpful (if not required)
  4. James Gibson

    James Gibson

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC

    Yes, I neglected to mention that I've been teaching db as well as bs gtr lessons since graduation, and I really enjoy it. I could see myself enjoying teaching on a university level in the future. In an attempt to keep my OP succinct, I left out one of the most important parts - my motivation for grad school!
  5. Register to disable this ad
  6. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Seattle is a good jazz town with a good scene and a lot of good players. I'm not sure who is leading the UW program now, but good players come out of there and people I know have been faculty in the past are all fantastic. You might also look at Cornish College of the Arts. I know more about their faculty, all of whom I regard very highly.

    "Best program/market in the country?" No, but it works well for some of us. Better than New York? No. Better than South Carolina, probably.

    If I can help more, feel free to PM me. If your question is about the city, there are several of us who check in her now and again. If it's about the program, there are probably better resources for choosing where to study.
  7. Roy Vogt

    Roy Vogt Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2000
    Location:
    Nashville,TN
    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Accuracy, Carvin, Hotwire, Conklin Basses, DNA, Eden
    That is true. Unless your a bonafide Bass Star (think Steve Bailey here) most Universities and Community Colleges require a minimum of a Masters of Music with most tenure track positions requiring a DMA or Phd.Ed.
    Most everyone who is the exception to the rule is a very well known player (like Adam Nitti here at Belmont). Even so, a lot of those guys are part-time adjuncts. Not fair, but certainly the way Higher Education has gone.
    I was extremely fortunate to get my M.M. in Studio Music and Jazz from The University of Miami back in 1980. It allowed me to first have a part-time and now a full-time teaching position. Grateful I did the work when I did!
  8. Michael Glynn

    Michael Glynn Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle
    I did my undergrad at the UW and I feel that I got a lot out of it, but that was some time ago and there have probably been many changes in the meantime. I don't really know what the grad school opportunities would be.

    As Troy said, there are plenty of good players in the Seattle area, and there is a lot of good music of all kinds. There is also good coffee here.
  9. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle,Wa.
    I agree with Troy and Michael. There is quite a bit going on around Seattle, but the scene may take a bit of getting used to. LOTS of bass players around here too. There are several different sets of things going on (which may make it take a while to find what you want, or it may go quick), UW has a pretty good scene going right now in my opinion. The focus is not really on straight ahead playing as much as it is on a more "open" small group approach. Quite a few good players there though who are writing and performing some good music. A couple of friends who play here are from South Carolina too..... If worse come to worse I can hook you up and you can talk about Barbecue. Same goes for me as did for Troy, pm me and I'd be happy to talk in more detail.
  10. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    So it's OK if I come and hawk your gigs?
  11. svlilioukalani

    svlilioukalani

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2012
    Location:
    Seattle, Wa
    I have found it easier to make money and find gigs while living in other cities. But I live in Seattle cause it such a cool city. It is surprising how many good musicians live in this area. I don't think any music school here is that outstanding. However your quality of life may be much higher here. And not just cause pot is legal. If you do come out this way drop me a line. I'll take you out sailing. Jazz and sailing go well together.
  12. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle,Wa.
    Both of em?
  13. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    :D
  14. James Gibson

    James Gibson

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    You guys, thank you so much for the information. If anyone has anything else to add, please feel free.
  15. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    ...and microbrews...and salmon...and small batch distilleries....and legal weed...and rain...and the FLIBBA FLUBBIN' SEAHAWKS!
  16. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1999
    Media:
    30
    Albums:
    2
    Location:
    NYC
    Disclosures:
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    James, whyncha just move to NYC?
  17. TroyK

    TroyK Moderator Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    It's a fine question. You want scene, market, music programs, it's the place to be. I think they even have coffee there.
  18. James Gibson

    James Gibson

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    Columbia, SC

    NYC is on the short list as well. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intimidated about trying to play gigs in a place like NYC (with it's copious amount of amazing bassists, *cough* Ed and Troy *cough* *cough*).

    Right now, I'm just looking for the next place for myself. As options come up, I'm exploring them. Seattle wasn't on my list before. When my friend suggested it, I realized I knew nothing about the place. I had some idea of the music scene producing some great bands, on both the jazz side and the rock side. I figured I'd ask for some insight.
  19. tcl

    tcl Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2011
    Media:
    3
    Location:
    Torrance, CA
    Based on my experience here in LA, some experience with NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Denver, Austin, San Diego, and San Francisco, I have to say that NYC offers the most opportunity for jazz musical development. That doesn't mean that other cities can't offer significant development, but it's less likely, IMO.

    LA is cool, but oriented mostly for studio musicians. How well can you read? Denver, Seattle and SF have much smaller markets and correspondingly less development opportunities, but fairly frequent work for competent players.

    Seattle seems to be mostly a folk artists arena, with good opportunities in the folk, blue-grass, etc markets. Jazz has some opportunities but not enough to earn a living even if you traveled between Portland to Vancouver, with Seattle-burbs in between. There are some excellent players, but not enough to book a single $75 gig a week. Two gigs a week with travel, possibly. Add in SF, LA, and LV, then maybe a bit better than once a week. That's $300 a month for those who are counting. Teaching, day jobs or spousal support are requirements unless you're willing to live in abandoned housing.

    It looks like Chicago is mostly a blues and cover-band town. SF has some opportunities for real jazz but not enough to earn a living. And SF is obscenely expensive to live in. Same with Austin. What about New Orleans? I'm not sure but I suspect that it's a small and competitive market. If you're the cream of the crop you work every weekend, if not, you wait for call once or twice a month. Dallas is similar - once or twice a month unless you're relentless at getting jazz gigs.

    It depends a bit on your goals. Do you want to pay the bills playing or develop as a jazz bassist? It doesn't seem like the two goals intersect much at first. For development, NYC is definitely the place to be. There are many brilliant jazz musicians playing in NYC multiple times a week, at the 3 or more clubs that support real jazz, mostly without significant pay, but with the opportunity to develop serious chops with other extremely serious jazz students. The NYC cats are hard-core, IMO. I'd move there if I were willing to make the sacrifice, which I'm not.

    LA is great if your goal is to make money with your technical and reading competence recording your axe regardless of genre. Excellent reading + technical competence = a reasonable living. Alternatively, hook up with a *casual* or party band and play 2 to 4 times a week, playing some jazz, some classic rock and some pop for relatively decent money. Mostly private parties. Not much opportunity to develop as a jazz artist but the bills get paid. Most of my teachers earn $75 to $150 a week on gigs with private and higher-ed student jobs to help pay the $1,100 per month rent. They barely scrape by. One moved to Seattle, the other is training to become a pharmacist assistant. A 3rd lives off of the income from his house that he rents out while he lives in the garage. Doable in LA, in my opinion if you're desperate enough or die-hard enough.

    I'd say that if your goal is to become a significant jazz bassist, move to NYC, suffer for 10 years or so doing day jobs and nightly gigs, and then move to Europe or Japan like John Goldsby did. Tokyo might also work if you're willing to scramble for days jobs for many years.

    Nashville is similar to LA but without charts. Quick, relative ears are a requirement in Nashville but it rewards quick ears and good transposition skills. The downside is that there seems to be even more competition in Nashville than LA and most of that is for pop-rock/pop-country gigs. Go figure.
  20. Chris Symer

    Chris Symer

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2009
    Location:
    Seattle,Wa.
    Hey tcl, I have to say that your take on Seattle is pretty far from my experience here. Moved here 11 years ago from L.A. Yes, L.A. had more work and better money, it also had a strong union and studio work. All in all a lot more going on there. But Seattle has things to offer. I am a freelancer and don't teach, don't have a day job. I play gigs and recordings. Now I am not saying the living is always comfortable and it is definitely not extravagant. But a single $75 gig a week? Are you f'n kidding me? Last weekend I played 5 gigs between Saturday and Sunday. This week is slow- I have 4 total for the week. 98% of my gigs are jazz gigs, 2% of them are classical, no folk gigs at all. Pay ranges from low ($50 weeknight jam sessions) to decent ($120-$200 gigs and home concerts) to pretty good (the few remaining $300-$400 corporate casuals). If I don't average 20 gigs a month I don't make a living. I have made a living here since I arrived. You can do the math. Yea, I work less and get payed less for it than I did in L.A., but the over all level of players here is good and although work is tight, there is work to be had. It ain't L.A. or New York but what other place is?
  21. So Low Bass

    So Low Bass

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY. USA
    I’m glad to see this thread move away from the academic world and into the world of reality.
    The op and many other “jazzers” on this side of talkbass have to be sure to understand what the “legit” players seem to know about academia…
    There are two levels of faculty in the upper institutions: Tenure track and adjunct. The Tenure track person got his/her job through a rigorous application process and more than likely relocated to that school. The job comes with salary, benefits, sick days, retirement, etc. It’s a full time job. An adjunct is a local resident who is paid per piece, as needed. If, for example, a jazz bass adjunct has three students one semester, and six the next, he make double the money. (Now I ask you, would this instructor turn down an applicant based on professional potential?). These adjuncts CAN be excellent, well connected pros in their field… Fred Zimmerman, Roger Scott, John Shaefer. They can be absolutely brilliant at what they do but that doesn’t mean that they can or even want to teach. It COULD mean that they need the money.
    Location, location! Was Ron Carter an adjunct in Kansas or NYC?? My youngest boy attends college in NYC due in part to the adjuncts that he deals with. They work and know people in their field. Most are good teachers; one positively STUNK. They WILL get him real life perspectives and interviews. From there he can either fly or fall on his own face. It worked like a charm with my older boy at Rutgers.
    I still suggest taking private lessons from the best teacher you can possibly afford.

Share This Page