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My Semester at Berklee

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Andrew Jones, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Well here it is! the my semester at berklee thread.

    I will try to talk about all of my expieriences that are truly music/school related hope you guys enjoy this. I'll try to make frequent entries.

  2. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    First day of classes today.

    First thing on the plate Ear training 3 at 10:00 and guess what? the teacher wasnt there!(in his defence I didnt check the cancellation line).Still this is not a good first impresion.

    Next up is Arranging with with talk basses own Jim Stinnet. This is the first time I've had Jim as a teacher(I introduced Myself to him on the street last week).Great first impression! Funny mofo. This is a simple required of all class and its going to be cool. He had a transcription of stings line to " If I ever lose my Face" and was talking up the simplicity of beautiful bass playing(or is that the beauty of simple bass playing). After class I approached Jim about help critiqueing the charts and arrangements I'm going to do for my personal progect The Ala' Tousaint Orchestra (a tribute to the great Alan Tousaint). He indicated that he would find time to help!Nice!

    thats it for now gotta go to bed

  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's great - he sounded like a nice guy when he posted around here - but I suppose he's busy teaching now?

    Question - are you lugging round loads of gear - bass etc between classes or what do you do if it's a practical session - or is it all theory at the moment?
  4. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Jim's been there for 19 years!by addmitance he's more of a educator than a player now but he's put in the hours.

    They give me a locker(big enough for a double bass) I'll be posting pics and I'll deffinetly be some of my little home away from home.

    so yesterday

    I had a break from 1230-300 so I tried to get some practice in. I had forgot a converter for my headphones so I had to use my ID to get one wich meant no little practice room for me. So I set up in my little spot(a staircase nobody seems to go to)and got in a little time reading Anthoiny Vitti's book "reading funk rhthms" (I also played though Stinnet's sting chart)

    Next, the fun starts! Slap Lab with Vitti. Anthony starts of with his own hystory on the style and how he fell in love with it. We then listen and feebly attempt Luis Johnson's "I'll be good to you,thunder thumbs and lightning licks ,get the funk out of my face. The piont is to go home and shed and have it together for next week. Vitt's Amazing, very down to earth and cool and a great player.He's become one of my main guys to go to at school. Mabye its just species reconition with the funk players :)

    Allright its 4:00 and its time for the big ensemble of my semester the Bob marley Ensemble(see other thread) I walk in the door and theres like 25 people in the room! hmmm... well it turns out that this is the final auditions for alot of intruments (not bass though I got that chair;) ) so here it comes, tag team funk, good ole p funk style! we played kinky reagae for 45 min and every intrument trades off but me. Same thing with waiting in vain then we blast though a quick rebel music and thats it! day over.

    Mondays are my big day alot of the weeks cycle witll evolve around monday and tuesday.
  5. Gsxtasy99


    Jul 10, 2003
    Boston, MA
    What semester are you? i'm a first semester student there, just started classes yesterday. Who is your private teacher?
  6. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    I am third semester,whitt brown. I may have taken you picture for your ID last week. I'm the old guy;) My locker is M111 if you see me say hi. I'll be posting pics soon enough and If I slip my own mug in there you'll know who I am.

  7. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Please don't take the class so many Berkies here have taken - "Prickology 101".

    You're a good guy. More power to you.
  8. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I fixed the thread title for you.;)

    Great thread, keep it coming!:)
  9. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Little known Anthony Vitti fact: briefly the bass player for Twisted Sister. Oh yeah. Great teacher, too.

    Make sure you spend some time in Rich Appleman's office, he's a font of useful information.
  10. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Day 2

    Im a couple of minutes Late for Harmony 3 with Dan Smith I walk in and some crazy, turn the culdren, freeish, stuff is playing on the stereo. Tenor with a huge tone is pushin it. Good morning Sounds great...... Its Dan's show from a couple of monthes before.He's on Sax. Oh and he loves his bicycles, allways a good thing.

    He runs the silibus down, giving us a couple of no brianers to see who partied how hard in the summer. warns us about the perilous paths cord scales that lies ahead. Sets us loose.

    I have 1 and 1/2 hours untill my private With Whitt Brown.Whitts a character. great guy expects you to work hard(really hard)I'm about to get my but kicked so I shed for a hour just walking lines and walk in there.

    I lay down a little Autum leaves and whits checking it out and then say's "all right get out of there" and precedes to show me how its done on his early seventy's rosewood jazz with a flat 55 g though 115 E! nobody.NOBODY! makes the electric sound as down and funky walkin the old school the Ray brown school as Whit Brown . Hes primarily a Gut string on his double bass guys and he plays the electric with double bass technique.Tone for days

    Any way he says I should work on playing more ontop the beat pushing it more. we talk for a while on line contour and shape and such. Oh and be able to just start laying down burps and triplets whay over the top so itrs right there when I want them.

    we take a minute and talk a bit about the technique test at the end of the semester. this ones hard enough that I have to be looking at the stuff allready. basically its the arps that I'm conserned with.

    as a example I have to play.


    F,a,c,e,g,b,d assending and desending
    thats root position with the availible tensions

    Then First inversion A.C.E.F.G.B,d

    Secound C.E.f.A.B.D.G

    Third E.f.A.c.E.D.G.b.

    I have 14 different cords in twelve keys to have down in 3 monthes. Hello how are ya?

    I bring up and promise to transcribe 2 coruses of Ray playing on leaves and I'm done.

    next up keybord skills this is a intro 101 style level class. the teacher is Makoto Takenaka and ,Oh boy, right from the start I little thrown by him. Barking out exersise numbers and cunducting us very intimidatingly (but hes actually joking)way.its a culteral thing i think. I was all so very near him and he was yelling loudly.

    Im going to see if theres another section I can swich to. If not? I'll deal and get through it:meh:

    That's it. came home and shedded untill now.

    Ice cream....


  11. Note to self: Don't even think of Berklee. Try...local bass instructor at the chop shop.

  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Sounds good - the thing about pushing the beat more in Jazz walking lines is a topic that was much-discussed in the "Ray Brown Jazz Leading rusher" thread on the DB side.

    So - I go to Jazz Sumerschool each year and it sounds a lot like you describe here - but the one thing that all the tutors say to me as a bassist is to try and push the beat, give it forward momentum etc. As somebody who likes funk/r&b - there is always a tendency to lay back - but in Jazz you have to push it and keep the band driving forward.

    Anyway - a week or two of this kind of thing each year exhausts me - I can't imagine how tired I would be after a whole term!! ;)

    Keep it going!!
  13. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Yup, thats me, just behind the beat. Im waiking up to Ray playing with Basie and luis bellson. sure enough just ahead;) gotta make it happen.

    Hopefully the eartraing teacher's showing:rolleyes:

    Thats the only class today.Its a good day to practice

  14. Awesome stuff. I went to a summer bass weekend at berklee 2 summers ago and i had a blast. I chose to focus in the latin bass style while i was there and i got lessons from oscar stagnaro among others like Rich Appleman and theory lessons with Bruce Gertz (very tough but awesome teacher) who are all great guys and players. I loved every minute of the camp and i learned soo much in that short amount of time. I hope to do it again very soon.
  15. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    Whit Brown is a complete beast of a bass player. He used to intimidate the hell out of me when I was a student there (back in the 30s. You should have seen Mass. Ave before they paved it, it was beautiful). I took his walking lines lab twice just because the first time scared me to death. he used to play these crazy tone clusters on the piano and freak me out (no idea what to play under them). The second time I took it, I sat next to the piano and he used to give me a wink and play with his elbow. Those would be the 'very advanced' voicings that freaked me out so much the first time. Great guy, amazing player, very strong instructor.

    Here's a tip. If you want to get really in with any of the old school bass teachers, ask them about John Neves. Tell them that you know somebody who went there back in the day and they mentioned John. Amazing old school upright player who used to hang around the department in his waning years- everybody adored him. He used to just sit in the back of my lessons with Rich Appleman and mutter "beautiful....beautiful". Liked a drink or two before lunch.
  16. im going to Northeastern but taking lessons at Berklee. I didn't know how to get there so Appleman gave me the directions and said "then turn left into the bass dept." Even the thought made me smile.
  17. Andrew Jones

    Andrew Jones Banned

    Feb 28, 2001
    Northampton Mass
    Hi guys

    Ok Im guilty of not doing this. Sorry. Im a little shell shocked being back at 16 credits and some pick up gigs on the week ends.

  18. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    That's OK - but I think we all would still be interested to hear any more - if you have time now?
  19. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN

    Bruce Gertz is a monster... Pick up any album that he is on (Discovery Zone, Gonz, On Again, Shut Wide open, Red Handed...there's more, but I'm at work and that is all I have on hand), you will not be disappointed...

    AJ, please write more!

    Homesick bigtime:bawl:!!
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    hey Andrew, do keep us updated.. tis really very interesting. i rarely read EVERY post in a thread, but this one caught my attention.
    good stuff , looking forward to hearing more :)

    14x 13th arpeggios in all 12 keys.. :eek: LOL! kick ar$e!! :D

    Q) I checked your profile, you're in your 30's - did you basically save up the cash to go to Berklee for a term and take extended leave from work? Or are you a pro bassist and doing this in the day time and still working at night?

    Either way, I'm just interested (and impressed) that you managed to get yourself there...
    I'm 29 and the prospect of saving enough cash to take unpaid leave from work and pay the education fees is pretty much incomprehensible right now! Mind you, I do live in a very expensive town I suppose :(