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Levinson's "School of Agility"

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Mike Goodbar, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Wondering if there are any teachers here using Levinson's book, or if there is anyone here who has studied under Mr. Levinson using this method?

    Doesn't seem to me like the kind of book you would start a student on page one and go through to the last (seems like it would take years!). Or, perhaps that was Levinson's intent.

    I've been using it more as a "scale thesaurus," using it to find solutions to fingering problems that occur in solo and orchestral repertoire. Sound right?
  2. lgjbass


    Aug 29, 2008
  3. PETES45


    Mar 21, 2009
    From what I have heard, the the true intentions of his method are very closely related to the message sent through this video.

  4. Mike Goodbar

    Mike Goodbar Supporting Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Charlotte, NC
    Uhhhhhh......... Thanks?
  5. joshxlambert

    joshxlambert Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2009
    your basically right. My first teacher was one of levisons students, its has quite a few good concepts. But it doesn't take into account that unless you have a professionally level bass like and old english or italian, your sacrifice alot of sound playing low strings in thumb position.
  6. Peter Ferretti

    Peter Ferretti

    Jun 7, 2005
  7. I haven't used the book, but this doesn't sound right to me - playing on the low strings in thumb position is a skill that all bassists should learn. There shouldn't be much of any sacrifice of sound once you've really learned to play there (something I'm still working on, btw).
  8. MDEbass


    Dec 15, 2008
    Yeah I agree. And isn't the point of the book to help you become familiar with the fingerings all over the fingerboard?
  9. ADissen


    Oct 5, 2008
    Baltimore MD
    I've used the book and really the only thing that might throw anyone off I think would be that in the fingerings, there are a lot of third finger stretches in the lower positions that might not be comfortable for people w/o monster hands or who just dont use their third finger in any place other than thumb position. But the threes can always be manipulated to any finger that works for the player, which I think is one of the main purposes of books like these, to get the player to formulate their own fingerings that work for them.
  10. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    ??? Come on! I don't think even Mr. Levinson would claim to be able to make the second D on the A string sound as good as the same note on the G, on a Kay or a Gagliano. When you play with a shorter active string length and on a thicker string then of course you lose tone, but sometimes doing so facilitates a passage that would be impractical in a lower position, so you make the compromise.
  11. LetterK


    Dec 29, 2008
    Longer string length = better sound. Science!
  12. That's not really what I meant,
    but I'm not interested in getting into an argument on Talkbass.

    I think we all understand that we can get a lot out of this book.
  13. I think the best thing about the book is that it gives you choices.
    After you play the different versions of the scale runs, you can apply them to your playing situation as needed. Honestly, you will very rarely, if ever play a straight two or three octave scale run as part of a piece, but on the other hand, everything you play that is two or more notes in succession is part of a scale or an arpeggio.
  14. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA

    Different to be sure, not necessarily better. Of course, we could have an entire thread quantifying "better". :)
  15. robobass


    Aug 1, 2005
    Cologne, Germany
    Private Inventor - Bass Capos
    That was exactly the first thing my first bass teacher told me on my first lesson! There are times when you might play something on a lower string to get a softer or darker tone, but I think almost everybody would agree that the statement is generally true.
  16. I think there is some serious merit to this, but no necessarily that longer string length = better sound, but that appropriate string length=better sound. Look at a grand piano, as the pitches of the strings get higher they get shorter, as they get lower the get longer. It also depends on the girth of the string, too, at least I would guess.
  17. LetterK


    Dec 29, 2008
    True, sometimes one craves the the dark, juicy area of the middle register D and A strings. One of the best registers on bass!

    But then again, Mozart 35 last movement sounds better on the higher strings with the harder shifts instead of all in one position in thumb position!
  18. derob


    Feb 27, 2009
    Lametown, MN
    Yes, but its so easy in one position! And who has time to practice orchestra music when there is so many of notes in zigunerwisen.
  19. G-force


    Jul 1, 2004
    oslo Norway
    + 1:spit:
  20. Hi all, very interesting thoughts. I can only speak for myself that I like to try different concepts so that I can see what works and what doesn’t for me and also it's great to have a broad concept for teaching purposes as well as seeing how people think and practice. Every book is useful. You can’t know what works and what doesn’t without trying it out 1st without any preconceived notions. Like for example what if you have a concert of new music where the composer asks for everything to be played in thumb position on the E str. etc. Sure we think that some concepts are wacky but the idea of strings on a wooden box with holes was a far fetched idea at one point.

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