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I thought I could read....

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by thefunkelastic, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. thefunkelastic


    Oct 23, 2007
    So I'm at my first week of college and tonight I auditioned for the Jazz Combos...

    Here's how the story goes, I spend a week working on a Bach Piece as an audition, I have it down, then two days ago I look at see that the website says that you shouldn't have an audition piece, instead there is a given piece that you have to read, plus they'll give you some random reading,

    so I walk in, there's a chill dude with long hair behind a desk, and the conversation goes like this,

    "oh hey dude, you're the bass player"
    "yeah, do you have a copy of the sheet music I have to read, I didn't bring my computer"(the music was online)
    "uhh that stuff, I dunno dude I put that up so long ago just read this"

    now at this point he puts a completely simple bass line in front of me, it's basically a slightly syncopated quarter and half note line in a hip hop style, I should be able to read it but I just freeze and play off time and the wrong notes. I dunno what was wrong,

    luckily after that he comped some chords and had me walk and I would say I nailed about 85 percent of that, then he had a blues in F back track and I just pulled out a killer solo if I say so myself,

    I could tell I pulled him around a little, but the fact that I couldn't read and played about 15 percent the wrong notes when walking really disapointed me, I've been practicing a lot with both those skills and not being able to do it just makes me wonder how much more I have to practice,

    oh well,

    thanks for reading,

  2. May have been mainly due too nervousness...Most people who audition get nervous...but most people doing the auditioning also understand this. I have to actually do a sort of breathing exercise before performing, just to slow the heart down to a manageable rate. Dont be to hard on yourself, and just keep practicing.
  3. Don't worry about it. I remember trying out for a college jazz band. Music was my major. I played the drums and percussion. I was given a piece of drum music by the professor to sight read. The whole score was written by hand and what appeared to be toilet paper. I asked one of the guys "are you sh!tt!n me". That broke the ice. They laughed. (I always thought those jazzers were uptight. My bad...)

    I said l will figure it out as we go.. That was cool with them.. I did pretty good and made some friends.
  4. paganjack


    Dec 25, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    hitting 85% of the notes in a walking bassline is playing a 100% of the notes but grimacing sometimes...IME.
    Yeah auditions...always nerve-wracking.
  5. bnutz


    Mar 27, 2007
    Los Angeles
    I wouldn't sweat it too bad. Auditioning is a skill just like reading, grooving, soloing, etc. It's something that you can work on and I believe, in life we generally learn more from our bad experiences than good ones, so you just got a lesson without having to pay more in tuition.

    And, here's the good news... IMO reading is the easiest skill to develop with hard work. Things like ear, groove and feel are much more elusive and difficult to work on in any tangible manner. Reading, however is very straigtforward- just read EVERY DAY. I like to go through a real book and read heads (even ones that I know) or pick up a book of trombone etudes. The range is similar to the bass, they will generally have some sort of harmonic structure that makes sense and usually go from simple to more complicated as you get farther in the book (I've used Rochut's Melodious Etudes book).

    A composer friend of mine once told me that Dean Parks (studio guitar legend who she'd hired for sessions) still works on sightreading every day.

  6. +1 READ EVERY DAY. Even If I don't have a bass with me I try to read everyday. Be it sight singing some music or clapping the rhythms. If you don't use it- you will eventually lose it.
  7. Hey, it happens. I sat in one night with three or four guys who were in the early stages of putting together a jazz group. We were working from a fake book and I hadn't read out of one for 20 years.

    It took me a couple of numbers before I realized that the music in front of me was for guitar, and I needed to transpose the key notations above the staff and come up with bass notes in that key. Needless to say, those first numbers didn't sound too good. It got better as we progressed, but the mental exercise required to do that on the fly when it had been so many years was about equal to running 5 miles with my bad feet.
  8. McHaven


    Mar 1, 2005
    Hey, at least you had the courage to go and audition.

    When school opened for me, I thought about auditioning for jazz band. Started working on my jazz theory and improvising lines over charts and whatnot. The entire audition was going to be sight reading and they wouldn't tell me the styles beforehand. I decided to not even go and embarrass myself :/
  9. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    It's the solo that will impress them and not the boinkers. Everyone has the jitters when placed under the microscope. Let's say that you were off by 5%, and they didn't notice 1 in 3 of your perceived errors. That means that they may have heard you play 90% correct and a good soloist to boot. You're in!

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