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Dear Mr. Neher: Double Bass post-highscool

Discussion in 'Ask Patrick Neher [Archive]' started by Mordecai___, Dec 19, 2006.

  1. Mordecai___


    Dec 19, 2006
    Hi, I'm new here to the Talk Bass forums, but I often read the threads as they are interesting and I'm always learning new things from them. But I decided to start an account in hopes of having a question that has been on my mind answered. Considering you, Mr. Neher, work with double bass players every day, I thought you would be the right person to ask this question to.
    I am a sophomore in an American highschool in Germany, and I currently play bass in my highschool's Advanced winds band. Also, I recently made the DoDDs Europe Honor's Jazz Seminar, in which I will spend a week in Italy working on my jazz skills and playing concerts. I enjoy both styles of bass playing, but recently I started wondering what the proccess is like when you graduate highschool. Can you earn scholar-ships for playing the double bass? Do schools ever look at accomplishments such as playing at Honors festivals like the one I just mentioned? Do schools also look at other instruments played besides the one I would like to work with after highschool? Is it possible to have an actual career with the double bass, or electric bass for that matter?
    I am sorry for the amount of questions, but I just want to know what the future can be like for a dedicated double bass player like myself after highschool.

    Thank you, any comments would be greatly appreciated.
  2. PNeher


    Mar 31, 2005
    Bellingham, WA

    Hi Mordecai,
    And thanks for the questions and joining the forum.
    As you have seen from reading the threads throughout TalkBass.com, there are a LOT of professional and amateur bassists out there (more than 200 professional double bassists in Chicago alone!). So, yes, if it is what you truly want, a bass career is highly likely for you. Especially in Europe, there are plenty of classical bass jobs, and jazz is found everywhere too. A musician, though, has a burning desire to play, express themselves. A lot of times, THIS is what drives them more so than making money. This is why we are notoriously low paid. And bassists tend to get paid MUCH less than other instrumentalists. This may be something you want to consider when making career goals.
    With that said, there are GREAT paying jobs out there for bassists. Mostly they tend to be in the orchestras. Some professors make good money (I am NOT one of those!), and jazzers that do a lot of touring, concerts, arranging, and teaching make almost what an entry-level scientist would get. There are also studio gigs, and again, for those that get those gigs, the pay is good.
    So, if bass excites you like NOTHING ELSE, then you are ready to seek the musician's lifestyle.
    Yes, almost all schools of music offer bass playing/studying scholarships. Double Bassist Magazine recently did an article on schools that offer music scholarships. In my department, half of my students are on full-tuition-waivers.
    Whatever your goals, there are ways to meet them. A life as a bassist has been for me a good life... challenging, always, and rewarding mostly (98%). I love the bass like no other thing and it motivates me to seek collaborations, meet people, make money, be creative, help others, travel, etc. It can be perfect for some... horrible for others. Look deep into yourself and ask: "Am I willing to put in countless unpaid hours simply to make the most inspiring sounds..." If the answer is YES!, you are a musician! Go for it!
    Happy Holidays and New Year! :hyper:
  3. Mordecai___


    Dec 19, 2006
    thanks so much for the response. I am definately going to look into it, and work hard for it!

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