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German Bow teachers at RAM or RCM

Discussion in 'Bassists [DB]' started by Bass-Dad, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Bass-Dad


    Mar 29, 2015
    My son, who plays German Bow, was accepted into RAM and RCM for Double Bass Performance as well as a few US conservatories with excellent German bow teachers. He would like to go to one of the UK schools, but we auditioned in NY so we didn't get the chance to meet or take lessons with any of the teachers. We are doing our homework and both RAM and RCM have strong bass departments, but it does seems like German bow is in the definite minority. Can anyone offer any recent insight into their experience playing German Bow at either of these schools? Any thoughts - either here or via PM would be greatly appreciated.
  2. MikeCanada


    Aug 30, 2011
    Toronto, ON
    It would be a good idea to get in touch with each of the schools, and possibly their bass faculty directly. For example Paul Ellison is listed as a visiting professor at RCM, Matthew McDonald is listed as the same at RAM and Joel Quarrington is listed as a visiting artist at RAM. All three are world renowned German bow players and teachers, and would be fantastic to have the opportunity to study with. To the best of my knowledge, they all do not live full time in London, and the visiting nature of their status at the school could mean a lot of different things. Whether or not they are taking students with weekly lessons, teaching master classes once in a while, there for short periods of time and then gone again etc. are things that you will need to closely look into.

    Just doing a quick read through of some of the bios, Enno Senft at RCM is German born and studied with Ludwig Streicher leading me to believe he likely knows a few things about German bow. That is a complete shot in the dark though, and although Dominic Seldis studied with Klaus Stoll for a while (a fantastic German bow teacher) I have only ever seen him with a French bow and have no idea if he teaches both. Again, getting in touch with the schools and faculty directly is a very good idea.

    If you are located in North America-as I assume by New York auditions-and you look into what Ellison, Quarrington, and McDonald are doing in the UK, you could potentially work out a lesson on this side of the ocean before making any big decisions. It is very easy to find an email for all of them online and having your son get in touch with them with a simple "I was accepted to RAM/RCM, haven't made up my mind, was wondering how much teaching you do there" type email should result in something.

    A lot of speculation on my part, but hopefully it was a bit helpful.
    Bass-Dad likes this.
  3. Bass-Dad


    Mar 29, 2015
    Hi Mike,

    Thank you for the information and the time you took on this which is much appreciated. It is very helpful! This whole thing has been a detective photo hunt that has been almost comical at times. We have searched and searched the web for videos and photos, and we found one photo showing a profile shot of a RAM player using a German bow grip -- might be Graham Mitchell which would be awesome. But the photo is not clear and not labeled... so no way to be sure. And of course in every other photo the instrument is not being played or a music stand is in the way etc. The visiting professors (and professors) for both schools are fantastic! Given that quality - maybe this is not such a big issue?

  4. oliebrice


    Apr 7, 2003
    Hastings, UK
    Enno Senft is definitely a German bow player
  5. I have seen several Masterclasses now at both the RCM and RAM and seen perhaps 20 students in action from each. Some magnificent solo playing from German bow players and similarly wonderful displays from French bow players. The visiting tutors ( Dan Styffe, Paul Ellison, Joel Quarrington, Matthew McDonald) made no distinction as to who played what - they were interested in the musicality of what was being performed. I think that is the same approach adopted by the full time tutors.

    It not my impression that German players are a minority at either London School but this may be an accident of nature as to who auditions when and who happens to plays what. Both the College and the Academy are interested in developing excellence in musicians and the student base is from a truly international talent pool.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2015
  6. Adam Wynter

    Adam Wynter

    May 9, 2005

    I went to the Royal Academy and had lessons with Graham - he's one of the best players around as far as I've experienced and a really good teacher. Enno is similarly brilliant from what I can tell. Never learned with him per se but I've sat next to him once or twice working and seen him do some pretty mind boggling solo playing too. Don't think you'd go wrong studying with either to be honest. The academy also have Dom Seldis teaching there now (think Rodney Stewart might even be still going in!) and everyone usually learns with all the teachers, there's no conflicting "schools" of playing as overlap with the teachers is encouraged. Or it was when I was there anyway, can't imagine it would have changed that radically in the last 4 years. Also it's worth being at a college where Matthew McDonald goes in to do master classes, which I think are still going on in at least the academy every once in a while. He's quite the musician....

    Hope that's some help

  7. Rodrigo Moro Martin won the Royal College of Music Tagore Gold Medal presented in March 2015 by HRH Prince Charles. Here is a photo ...he plays with a German bow.

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