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Getting into a Music College...Difficulty?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tadp0le, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. Tadp0le


    Aug 20, 2007
    So basically...I'm going to be a sophomore in High School, and I love bass. I started playing about 6 months ago, and I feel that I am getting fairly skilled at this point...being able to play many Red Hot Chili Peppers songs, and learning Victor Wooten's double thumping technique etcetera. Basically...I am considering my options of what I would like to go to college for, and bass is one of these things. How much would I need to practice over the course of three years to get into a good music college (Juilliard, although it is EXTREMELY difficult, I know, etc)? What should I practice? Is improvisation a good way to learn? What songs are good to learn? Anything else that would make me able to increase my skill level as fast as possible would be very appreciated.

    However, the main question is how much time I put into it. If it truly is not possible, I understand, there are other things I love too and I can live with it as a hobby.
  2. soong


    May 10, 2007
    umm, to my knowledge, most college and music institutes require AT LEAST IMEB (international grading) grade 3 to 5, taking a couple years the quickest.

    although if you think you're a good player, put your effort in and you can always apply the year after. Know improv, as well as scales, arpeggios, intervals, cadences, etc.
  3. Essentially you will not get in if your self taught. You NEED to lessons, you NEED them to be jazz orientated and you NEED to start NOW. Not in 6 months, not when you feel like it. NOW! Get someone who knows about the college system and can teach you double as well.
  4. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006
    With most progressive music trade schools that actually offer the electric bass as a principal instrument (berklee/mcnally-smith), getting in is the easy part. These schools are businesses that are willing to offer their services to any student who is able to pay the tuition, regardless of skill, ability, or talent.
    They will happily audition you and stick you in the worst ensembles at the school if you cut a 16,000$ check.
    That is why the retention rate at these schools is so awful. Everyone gets in, 3 out of 4 don't stay in.

    As far as julliard and the conservatory scene, they won't even take you if you don't play classical double bass as your principal instrument (as far as I know). And yes, those schools are extremely selective, not to mention, extremely expensive.

    The best thing to do prior to your 1st year in college is take lessons from someone who REALLY KNOWS THEORY and knows how to teach you to play bass like an accompanist...not a solo bass act. Master the fundamentals 1st, develop a great feel and sense of time, and learn to READ MUSIC.
    Don't waste your time working on double thumping techniques which won't get you gigs, until you can walk a bass line over a jazz blues in all 12 keys.
    Your teachers are going to think, "What good is this guy to a band with his double thumping/taping, if he can't even read eight note rhythms!?"

    I assure you that if you go into that freshman year audition and muck your way though "Classical Thump" and then play some tapping, you are going to get stuck in some crappy, entry levels groups.

    It's better to show them you can play the bass tastefully and authentically in a bunch of different styles (salsa,bossa,jazz,balad,funk,rock,blues). And that you know your role 1st and foremost, before you try to wow them with some fancy crap.

    The good thing is you are young and have 3-4 years to really really shed hard and get some real world experience playing with groups. Don't sit around thumping by yourself, the bass is an accompaniment (social) instrument. You gotta get out and play with real life people, and experience what it is to play bass in a band with a drummer who rushes, or a vocalist who misses her intro, a guitarist who thinks you're crap, a club owner who stiffs you...etc..etc. These are the things that even a music college won't teach you how to handle.

    good luck!
  5. Ed Goode

    Ed Goode Jersey to Georgia Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Acworth, GA
    Endorsing Artist: FBB Bass Works
    You don't mention whether your reading/theory/notation skills are up to speed for your age ..... if they aren't well above average, don't waste any more time thinking about Juilliard. As someone mentioned above, Juilliard is a classically driven institution and DB is the only accepted major (not EBG under any circumstances. So serious skills on DB is a must, along with hard core theory, etc.

    When I went to Juilliard about a million years ago (actually in the late '60's ;) ) the school was demanding, grinding, and people were dropping out constantly due to the pressure. Unless you are a serious DB classical person, look elsewhere ........ :cool:
  6. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    If you want to get into a music school, stop playing rock and bass solos. Work on your groove. Start playing with jazz groups. Join your school's jazz band if it has one. Take AP Music theory. Start listening to as much jazz as possible.

    If you don't like jazz, it's not gonna happen. Most programs will make you do both DB and BG. I was lucky enough to find a school that was only electric bass. Now I'm selling my DB for liquo... I meen book money. I'm in a studio bass major at a smaller liberal arts school in a great gigging area with an amazing bass teacher. NO ONE knows about it, haha. But what matters more than the name of your school (at least for a performance degree) is your teacher. My curriculum is barely a traditional jazz one... yes we do it, but we do everything else too. It's a very eclectic program.

    Anyway, as someone who just went through auditions, let me tell you now. Some will be heartbreakers. A Tenured teacher can do whatever the hell he wants and get away with it. One of my auditions said to play two pieces of varying styles so I prepared a funk tune and a latin tune. When I walked in, the teacher said not to pull them out, we were just improvising swing. Kind of a curve ball but whatever... haha.

    Get your reading up. That'll help you immensely.
  7. Tadp0le


    Aug 20, 2007
    Tanks for the quick responses. Anyways, to clear up some questions...i DO take lessons, and have been for those six months. I played for another 4 without lessons, but I usually don't count that because I wasn't progressing nearly as much. I was in the school jazz band for my bass, but I found it to be ridiculously easy. I can read music on several instruments (saxophone, bass clarinet), and am working on simply learning the notes for bass and then I will be fine with that. My theory is probably around where it should be, and I am trying to get into music theory for next year as a course. I do play bass with my friends, as I have many that plays drums/bass/guitar, etcetera. As I said before, I play orchestral instruments and have been since 5th grade, so my musical talent is somewhat advanced for my age.

    Referring to the Juilliard concept...I just used that as an example. What about the other great music schools? Are they all classical double bass as well?

    And those of you talking about jazz...what jazz should I get into? Is it difficult? Where can I find the music/tabs?
  8. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Next time you are on the internet, like now.... look up the schools websites and find the name of the bass teacher. Get in touch with them (every school that looks good to you and that you hear about). Lynn Seaton at North Texas State is a great teacher, check him and that school. There are many others.

    Also, define and refine your personal goals. Go into music because you know what the life will be like and you want to live that way, NOT because it is the first thing that you are good at, or enjoy. The fact of the matter is that a life in professional music is not easy and you have to have a lot of ducks in order to be successful. Another fact to consider is that if you are smart enough and driven enough to be successful at music, there are a lot of other fields where you would be successful that would offer better job security and higher pay. I'm not putting down music, that's where I am... but you have time on your side and you should put it to work for you.
  9. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    First thing to do when getting into jazz is to learn to play walking bass over some simple chord progressions and move to more advanced one as you get better. The ii-V-I chord progression is probably the most important. It's used in virtually all jazz you can find (I think :)). In lots of other music as well.

    Get a real book. There are a number of different ones, containing mainly jazz standards but also pop/rock/soul/fusion classics. In those you have all standards you might ever need.

    Find some Jamey Aebersold play along CD's and instruction material. They're great for practicing jazz.

    Get a book on how to play jazz. There's quite a few available, do a search here and you will find lots of recommendations.

    To your question is 'jazz hard?', my answer would be yes because I suck at it. :( ;) However, I'm really interested in it and it's my favorite music so I know at least something about it. I've never studied music professionally either, I guess I'd been better if I had done that.

    If you want to go pro, you can't avoid jazz. And once you start exploring jazz, you don't want to get out of it either.... I believe. :)
  10. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    With this background, you have a good chance. I assume you're going into 10th grade, which means you have 3 yrs to work on this stuff. If you have a good teacher (one that has been to college for music) and you're willing to work hard, you should be fine. Like others have said, forget the Wooten stuff, and the Chilli Peppers for now (listen to it if you want but don't work on fancy parlor tricks). Start working on your groove. Listen to Motown and other R&B/Soul stuff. Work on blues progressions. Start listening to jazz if you don't already. Work hard, practice much and LISTEN.

    If you don't play double bass, then your choices of music schools are reduced. Also, start learning to play the piano at least a little bit b/c you're going to have to play it for classes and many schools will have a piano proficiency exam that you'll need to pass.

  11. id say try and go for something music related, but not performance. im not knocking your skills or knowledge, but genereally the level of skill needed to get into any school for music is very high. you will need a very good understanding of theory, proper technique, and will probably either have to be well versed in either classical or jazz. oh yeah, and learn double bass.

    id try and find a school that you can go to for say music business, musiv industry, audio production, something like that. a school that has a good music program. this will allow you to take lessons and be involved musically without having to pass the auditions and exams required to be a music major. plus you will probably have a much more substantial chance finding work after you complete college.
  12. John123z


    Jul 7, 2006
    Hershey, PA
    Actually every school we checked for our daughter required you to audition and be accepted into the music department for all the programs you suggested. These majors are music department majors and require all the same theory and music classes that any music performance or education majors would require. Along with preparing juried pieces each semester. Basically you are majoring in music with a minor in the areas you mentioned.

  13. i know what your talking about, i checked out SUNY purchase in NY, and they had an audition required for Audio Production. This is not true for all schools though. You can major in music industry with no audition at the school i am going to(SUNY Oneonta). SUNY Potsdam you can major in business with a minor in music with no audition. many community colleges have some sort of sound recording technologies degree. there are many many options.
  14. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Yeah but if you're doing a music program that doesn't require musical auditions, I'd seriously evaluate the strength of the program...
  15. CamMcIntyre


    Jun 6, 2000
    I'm currently in my 3rd year [ok-my 3rd year starts in about 2 weeks] at a music conservatory in Chicago as a jazz major.

    From the past 2 years-i feel there's a few questions i/we should ask up front.

    Why do you want to major in music/electric bass?

    Do you want to study jazz?

    Do you play double bass also or just bass guitar?

    Depending on what your answers are to those questions i have some comments.

    If you don't want to learn DB and don't want to study jazz-i say don't major in music unless if you go to a music trade school [Musicians Institute, Berklee, Players School of Music, etc]. It sounds odd, but hear me out. I feel that your money would be better suited being spent on taking lessons w/a killer teacher in a great area while studying something else [while taking theory classes preferably] if you want to focus on bass guitar. I think it would be much cheaper to spend maybe $200-300 monthly on lessons once a week with someone who is an amazing teacher-preferably in the style that you wish to play than to pay the $30k+ a year tuition to study at a school where you more than likely wouldn't be playing much bass guitar.

    Here's why i am saying that-the past 2 years for me have been spent playing about 99% double bass in a jazz context. When i came into the school i was primarily a bass guitar player who played anything that was thrown at me. I am glad i made the choice i did despite the financial constraints [i'm in a massive amount of loan debt].

    take it easy.
  16. im not talking about a music program though. im talking about a major that lets you study the laws of copyrights, the technologies of recording, the marketing of music, the promotion.

    It is a very strong program indeed. my major is Music Industry, and i am going to minor in Audio Production, hopefully to eventually land a job engineering in a studio or doing live sound or something, not really sure yet, but i have time. in addition to the classes required for my major, minor, and Gen Ed. classes, i am able to take bass lessons for class credit, as well as participate in any of the wide array of ensembles that are open to non-music majors.
  17. Visirale


    Mar 23, 2003
    Ooooh jazz in Chicago... that must be fun.

    I'm doing my best to make myself marketable. I'm in a program where I'll get my BA in music (bass performance) and an MBA in 5 years. Then I'm gonna go get another masters in music production. Then I'll move to a big city and try and find a job in the music biz, ahah.

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