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Jazz or Classical Degree?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by mingus_dew, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. As of right now, I'm a junior in high school looking at music schools. I have a handful of schools that I wouldn't mind going to, but I'm not sure if I should focus more on jazz or classical training. I've heard great things about both, and enjoy playing both. Also, does it matter what you studied once you get out of school?

    Any opinions or responses will be much appreciated.
  2. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    If I could rewind, I'd go for the classical training in a second. The jazz will find its way to the surface either way, in my experience, and people have actually debated whether or not jazz can even be taught (I dunno, and I don't wanna restart that debate). I personally would love to have the advantage of good classical double bass technique. Just my .02, YMMV.
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'd go to a school that offers both. If you are studying classical, the chances are good that you'll be able to play in a jazz ensemble or combo at some point. The same cannot as often be said in reverse. But the real question is, which one speaks to you the most? Which one grabs you by the front of the shirt and says,
    "do this"? Answer that question, and your decision is made already.
  4. mcbosler


    May 12, 2000
    Plano, TX
    If neither "grabs you," as Chris put it, I'd suggest the classical training. I share Marcus's feeling that the jazz will still be there either way, but there's just something about bow studies that seems to really help tame the (double)beast.
  5. Thanks to all of you. Both grab at me, but at different ways. If I'm playing in an orchestra and it's a song I like, there's nothing like it. On the other hand, playing with a jazz band (I've only performed with my high school jazz band, but mess around with other musicians on a weekly basis) is a lot more...engergetic? (for lack of a better term) . I think what I'll end up doing is studying classical, but playing in jazz ensembles. Maybe even finding a local jazz player to give me lessons...
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If you'll fill out your profile and let us know where you are, it may be that someone could suggest schools in your area that offer both. Also, if you would include what your "travel radius" is in terms of how far from home you are willing/able to travel for school, that might be useful.
  7. Sorry about that. I'm in Winston- Salem North Carolina. In state I'm looking at N.C. School of the Arts and UNC-Greensboro (with Steve Haines). My travel radius is pretty much anywhere east of the Midwest/Texas area.
  8. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well, no and yes. It's going to be hard to network jazz gigs at a legit school and legit gigs at a jazz school. If you are a stone happening jazz player right now, first call for all the gigs in your local area, playing in the rhythm section for major artists who come through town, then moving to a major metropolitan area that has a thriving jazz scene AND a legit school you can maintain and develop your jazz network by doing gigs and sessions while you develop and maintain a legit network while going to school. I've run into quite a number of bassists from Juilliard (pre jazz program), Mannes etc that are on the legit track at school but do jazz gigs because that's what they were doing before they started studying legit.

    Bottom line is, if you are absolutely burning in either genre/field, people will listen. But you have to be more than just competent, there's LOTS of good bassists in either field out in the world.