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Material for a 12 year old

Discussion in 'Music [DB]' started by musicman5string, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    I have a student who's a 12 year old girl. She's been taking lessons with me for a little more than a year. She plays a half size bass. She also plays the alto sax.
    I'm running into trouble regarding material to cover during our lessons. We first went through the String Builder book, which she did very well with and moved rapidly, and then we worked on the pieces she had to play in her school orchestra. Again, she did well and was moving along. I decided to introduce Simandl around this time in conjunction with the scales, arpeggios, and etudes I had her start doing. I could tell right away she didn't like Simandl, (some students just don't) but I went really easy on her with it and just tried to get her through major scales (the easier ones like C, G, D, F). At some point I even began writing out arrangements of tunes she liked, such as Christmas carols, movie themes, etc. Easy melodies she could handle and be happy playing.
    Problem is that at this point she needs to progress. She needs to start tackling other scales, progressively harder pieces for her age, etc. She doesn't want to do it. I've had a few talks with her father about it, because she definitely shows talent and alot of promise for her age. I don't want to turn her off the bass, but I don't want to baby her either. I mean, we have to do SOMETHING during the lessons other than repeat what we already know....
    I know there's a ton of literature at Lemur, but I was hoping for a few suggestions from you guys who might know what would be good.
    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
  2. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    2 books I'd suggest getting for this sort of situation:

    Bach for the Young Bass Player
    The Melodious Bass

    both have piano accompaniments, and have some great material for this stage. The second even gets to a lot of the important excerpts (the Elephant, a bit of the Dragonetti, Mahler 1, Beethoven 9, etc.) towards the end.

    edit: I'll add though, that there's really no substitute for Simandl and other methods (Bille is nice if you want a more musical approach). There's no reason you can't make that stuff work. Once I got in the right mindset, some of those exercises in Simandl started sounding really beautiful (but yes, some are downright ugly sounding).
  3. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006

    Thanks Jeff, I'll check both of those out.
    Yeah, I mean, even with Simandl I play piano with her as I make up my out accompanying parts for those. The A minor etude is actually pretty nice.
    Do you think I should come down a little stricter?

    BTW: I tried to get her to do "The Elephant"...it was like pulling teeth.
  4. Jeff Moote

    Jeff Moote Supporting Member

    Oct 11, 2001
    Beamsville, ON, Canada
    Because the music was too hard, or she didn't like it? Maybe too young to get the humour? Certainly you'd have to know Berlioz to get the "joke" of the middle section, but still...

    I'm not a teacher, but a student, so keep that in mind when reading my opinions. I think that students need to follow their teacher in whatever they say (as long as they are indeed a good teacher). I didn't start music until a couple years after I was 12, so it's hard to put myself in that place, but I can tell you that at my age now, when my teacher is harsh and tells me I'm doing something wrong, I appreciate it!
  5. musicman5string

    musicman5string Banned

    Jan 17, 2006
    Because it was "too hard", which in reality, it isn't too bad, even for her age; sure it's definitely a challenge, but I was trying to make it a long term project over several months, doing just 4 measures a week.

    Well, we're all still students.
    As far as taking you teacher's word for what it is: yes and no. I know I'm doing the "right" thing, but then again the right thing doesn't work for everyone.
    Thanks for the input though.
  6. I am not a bass teacher but I am a teacher having spent years teaching high school and university history courses. I also spent two years in an adult education program working with at-risk students (mainly teenagers but also adults up to 65+ years old).

    As a teacher I believe you must teach the student what they NEED to know--not what they WANT to know. I ran into this attitude every day in the adult ed program. Most adult students were there because they wanted to be there. The teenagers were there because they were required to be--most having been expelled from "regular" school for discipline or drug related reasons. The majority of them were very capable but resistant to the unknown. For example, someone might be good at multiplication and division but clueless on percent problems. Consequently, they were usually resistant when we began moving into what was difficult for them. I certainly attempted to accomodate their personalities, strengths, and limitations when planning things but I also knew that there were things they must accomplish. It might have been hard, it might have been boring, it might have seemed pointless to them, but it was necessary and I would cover it.

    It also sounds like you have a maturity issue here. At some point she has to face the fact that world does not cater to her every whim. If she can't deal with that concept yet, maybe she needs time away from the bass. With a well-laid foundation, she would probably advance pretty quickly when she returns in a few months or years.
  7. bejoyous


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, Ontario
    Yorke Publishing has an excellent books called something like Studies in 1/2 and 1st Position. It has lots of short studies and goods tunes that work of different challenges. The tunes are folk songs, sea chanties, orchestral excerpts and so on.

    Since it's all in 1/2 and 1st position there is a high degree of success and being in tune!

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