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Colleges

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by alack, Nov 20, 2000.


  1. alack

    alack

    Nov 20, 2000
    Florida
    I recently visited a college that claims to have one of the top Jazz Studies programs in the country. During a faculty presentation two representatives made it quite clear that they would only consider applicants who played upright bass. This was contrary to the University’s literature that provided a detailed list of audition requirements for bassists with one addition for acoustic players who must also demonstrate skill with a bow. My 18-year-old son, who has been studying the electric bass since he was in 3rd grade, found this offensive. As a college student 20 years ago I encountered the same type of musical snobbery, which ultimately led me to Berklee.

    So where are the colleges and universities that offer a four-year jazz studies program and welcome electric bassists? Who is on the faculties of these schools? What is the curriculum? What is the estimated cost for one academic year?

    I have seen articles on schools including The Players School, the Bass Collective and BIT. It sure would be nice if this could be expanded to include information on public and private institutions that welcome electric bassists. If you have any information please email me directly at alack@pittsfield.net
     
  2. Gard

    Gard Commercial User

    Mar 31, 2000
    Greensboro, NC, USA
    General Manager, Roscoe Guitars
    Do a web search on Belmont College. It's a small private school in Nashville, TN that has a very good reputation. I know for a fact that they do have a program for electric bass, and at one time the person in charge of the program was Roy Vogt. It's been a good while since I had any contact with anyone going there, but a good friend of mine was a guitar major there 5-6 years back and he had nothing but glowingly positive things to say about the school and the over-all experience. Hope that helps.
     
  3. pierce

    pierce freethinker

    May 25, 2000
    San Francisco, Ca
    well, if you went to berklee, then why not look into berklee?

    and if they advertised e-bass, then demand that they follow thru.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I suppose this raises an interesting point about whether colleges like this are being "old-fashioned" or simply "realistic". It still seems to be the case that in Jazz, the upright players get the majority of the work - whether on recordings or live - and upright players always seem to bein demand - ask Ed Fugua! So maybe they just see that they are doing their best to prepare students for what it will be like if they are looking to build a career as a Jazz bassist? :rolleyes:
     
  5. alack

    alack

    Nov 20, 2000
    Florida
    Thank you to all that replied. Yes we are looking into Berklee, which is certainly at the top of the short list. As for forcing an institution to alter their policies, no parent I know would wish to place their son or daughter in such an adversarial environment. That is no way to star a career. To the point of a university simply preparing students for a career in jazz, most schools offer either a classical or jazz track. If you plan a career working in contemporary music (jazz, rock, blues, R&B) the Jazz track would seem the logical choice. If your goal is to be a well-rounded bassist prepared to work the choice of acoustic, electric or double is a personal one. I'm sure a community of bassist will acknowledge the fact that electric bassist can play jazz. In the past 20 years we all saw Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, and Miles Davis perform with electric bassists.
     
  6. alack

    alack

    Nov 20, 2000
    Florida
    Thank you to all that replied. Yes we are looking into Berklee, which is certainly at the top of the short list. As for forcing an institution to alter their policies, no parent I know would wish to place their son or daughter in such an adversarial environment. That is no way to start a career. To the point of a university simply preparing students for a career in jazz, most schools offer either a classical or jazz track. If you plan a career working in contemporary music (jazz, rock, blues, R&B) the Jazz track would seem the logical choice. If your goal is to be a well-rounded bassist prepared to work the choice of acoustic, electric or double is a personal one. I'm sure a community of bassist will acknowledge the fact that electric bassist can play jazz. In the past 20 years we all saw Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Chick Corea, and Miles Davis perform with electric bassists.
     
  7. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    If that was genuinely the out-look of the college then I'd avoid it at all costs!! Is music education about preparing people to get most of the work, or to have the skills on their instrument to make music full stop? I'd hate to have studied at a college that went on and on about 'being prepared for the real world' at the expense of a well rounded musical education. I reckon that the colleges should be training students in the 'fundementals' of technique and theory (which for a pop/rock/jazz player is going to work best in a jazz context), teaching them about the history of music, the breadth of music out there and encouraging them to go out and change the world. You don't need to go to college if you want to play wedding gigs, function gigs, or even most mainstream jazz gigs. Surely college is about devoting 24/7 to your art, and coming out with higher aspirations that just being a working pro. You want to be a working pro? get practising, and start playing live, anywhere, that's what's needed.

    However, if you want to time and space to develop your own voice, to get deep into the history of music, to study other composers and performers and find out what makes them tick in order to find your voice as a performer, composer and musical soul, then go to college and find one that will let you grow and flourish.

    In the UK, a student of mine recently completed a degree at York University, with solo bass as his primary medium. His final performance was a combination of loop-based tunes, groove explorations with a drummer and a few other small group performances. All pretty original in conception, and highly entertaining! Seemed like a really good course...

    cheers

    Steve
    http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I was being a bit "tongue in cheek" - but I do wonder how colleges justify insisting on double bass and "bowing techniques"? I was going to say that a college that had such a policy might not be the best place to study but I don't know enough about it really.

    Those who I have met who have been involved in Music Education in the UK have never tried to persuade me to switch from electric to double bass - even when I've said things like "it's easier to swing on walking lines with double bass, isn't it?" the reply has been that it's just a matter of adapting your technique, rather than changing instrument.

    I've been on a Jazz Suummerschool at the University of Glamorgan several times and have been fortunate to have some really good tutors like John Parricelli and Pete Churchill,who works full-time on music education, amongst many others.
     
  9. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    That's a great summer school - a friend of mine went this year and had a great time...

    Steve
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I might know that person then. I certainly had a great time this year - I only went for the first week, but wished I could have done two. On the Friday night I played some Brazillian funk with John Parricelli's small group and also a Ska set with the big band at the "Jazz Club" in the evening. Each year I've been has been very enjoyable and I can recommend it to anyone.

     
  11. AuroraStar

    AuroraStar

    Apr 15, 2000
    Hi. I'm currently a senior in high school and it is college application time. Right now, I'm just praying that the college I'm going to is accepting e. bass. If not, then I'm gonna attempt to pick up an upright...The college I am looking at is the Jazz and Contemporary Arts division of New School University, where I'll be doing a joint degree at Eugene Lang college, hopefully...I think the only reason I want to go is because they have a Jaco Pastorius class, I don't know..

    smack me for not looking at colleges seriously..
     
  12. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Bruce, her name's Angela Reith - did you meet her?


    I can't imagine they'd have a jaco class if they didn't take elec bass students, but I am interested to know what the hell a jaco class would entail??? I can't imagine having a class in any one person's music, not for more than a few weeks any way...

    Steve
     
  13. AuroraStar

    AuroraStar

    Apr 15, 2000
    The Jaco Ensemble

    The music of Jaco Pastorius combined many styles (R&B, aLatin, SOul, Pop, Classical, and Jazz) into Fusion. Through the study of his compositions- Liberty City, Teentown, Dania, etc.- students will develop a greater understanding of the common elements in his music.

    It's a two credit course, I dunno..there's a class called The Art Of The Rhythm Section, and a Bass Master Class for electric and acoustic bass players.
     
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Possibly.....in these things you tend to identify people more by the instrument they play than names, as you meet so many new people in a short time. I seem to remember an Angela who played piano this year and bass last year, but I'm not sure - what does "your" Angela play?




    PS - I think Franc 'O Shea could teach a good course on Jaco - he knows an awful lot about him and his music and can talk for hours on this. ;)


    [Edited by Bruce Lindfield on 11-24-2000 at 04:14 AM]
     
  15. alack

    alack

    Nov 20, 2000
    Florida
    My son is also applying to The New School. You can stop praying. He called last week to confirm that it was OK to principle on e. bass. The answer was yes. However, the spokesman did inform him that the community of bassists there, both teachers and students, is mostly acoustic.

    P.S. I thought the Bill Evans ensemble sounded inviting.
     
  16. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Angela is a pianist and singer...

    ...i like franc's album - well worth checking out for people who like bassist-fronting-band type albums...

    cheers

    Steve
    http://www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Maybe not then - the singers went off to separate classes, for most of the week, so it was more difficult to get to know them. As there are about 120 people on the course, you can't meet everyone I suppose. I usually end up chatting to bass players a lot of of the time - comparing experiences. Sort of like TalkBass in the flesh ! ;)
     
  18. alack

    alack

    Nov 20, 2000
    Florida
    I agree with almost everything you said with two small exceptions. I said nothing about denying a spot to an acoustic player. The college must retain the control over their acceptance policy. My issue is that both should be considered. Deny entrance to no one based on their instrument. My question is, why assume the upright player is more serious?
     
  19. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It occurs to me that if a student were admitted to a university program as an electric bass player, but most or all other bassists there played upright or both upright and electric, that student who played only electric would be at a distinct disadvantage. I mean by that, I would be quite uncomfortable and self conscious in an environment in which almost everyone except myself played upright bass, even if I really smoked on electric like Vic Wooten or John Patitucci(whoops! He does play upright.) I also mean, I believe there would be subtle and not so subtle discrimination against the electric bassist or at the very least, there would be pressure on the electric bassist to learn to play an upright. The pressure would come not only from the professors, but from the other students who were trained to play upright. I think it is just human nature.

    Thus I think such a student would feel more comfortable in an environment that had no bias favoring upright basses. What school that would be, I don't know. However, let me say this, at one university music school with which I am familiar, for example, all music students must learn to play piano, in addition to their principal instrument. I don't mean they have to become orchestra soloists in concert piano, but what I am saying is that probably most university level music programs are extremely strict about the skills they require a student to have to graduate and those skills require having facility in more than one instrument.

     
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I did actually start an "Open University" course in music. Usually these things are all by corrsepondence, but this one did have saturday mornings occasionally with a local teacher. But they did insist that you played a "lead" instrument and a piano/keyboard.

    I found I didn't have enough time to practice keyboard as well as my dayjob and gave up after the first year. The teacher said that you really had to do the keyboard part to get the sound of chords in your head and that there was no other way to do this. I have noticed that all the tutors on the Jazz courses I have taken since, are also capable piano players, as well as say an alto sax player.