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Performance help

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by Jay445, Jan 10, 2012.

  1. Jay445


    Jan 10, 2012
    First and formost I would like to say Hello as Im new to talkbass. Anyways I am a sophmore in high school and have been playing double bass for about 5 years now but lately it feels as if i havent been improving much. It only hit me after practicing day and night for an audition only to find out I didnt make it. Is there any reason at all why I am not improving as much as when I first started playing or sometimes performing as well as I could be?
  2. Just because you didn't make it doesn't mean your not improving. Auditions are tough and 9 out of 10 times, it's not going to go the way you hoped.... No matter who you are. There is simply always someone better then you.

    But when you practice, make sure you Do everything with a purpose. It is also REALLY helps to record yourself on a daily basis.
    But one of the most important things you can do it LISTEN to as much music as you possibly can. it'll do wonders for your musicality.
    Best of luck!
    ps, I'm only a junior so if anyone more experienced disagrees, feel free to correct me!
  3. Jay445


    Jan 10, 2012
    I agree with you but I already listen to lots of music and I felt as if I wasnt improving long before the audition.
  4. Do things with a purpose, that's the important part.

    Record yourself, so you can listen and really hear if you could do something better.

    Listen to lots of music, but don't just groove to it, really pick it apart to hear how the pros do things, and to improve your listening.

    Play lots of music, so you get familiar with different styles and technical demands.

    If you feel like you're not improving, you probably need a new and different challenge, so pick something else (harder) to play, or join a band or orchestra.
  5. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    As Andrew Said, Record yourself.

    Play in front of classmates, with the attention on you. Play in front of professors/teachers, with the attention on you. Play in front of strangers at music stores.

    Make sure you have every bowstroke and fingering Exactly how you want it on Orchestral audition material. Know when you need to breathe. Play with conviction.

    Playing in front of peers and friends will make you play with your adrenaline pumping more often, giving you experience in that situation so that you are better prepared for an audition. Tape these "performances" and listen/watch them later.

    If you dont feel you are getting better while practicing either your getting more attentive to your mistakes, which is improvement, or you have no idea how to practice, which most people dont.

    Post your practice habits over in the orchestra board and we'll help you there as this is more audition based and we like to keep things Tidy and on Track.
  6. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
    Another thing that could help; Find a better player and talk him/her into playing some duets. It's amazing what you can pick up musically.
    Tom Gale :bassist:
  7. Also, do EVERYTHING your teachers tells you. You would surprised how many people don't do that and it will really help you do better and stand out.
  8. Tom Gale

    Tom Gale

    May 16, 2009
    Unless the teacher is an idiot about bass technique.
  9. If that's the case, get a new teacher.
  10. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    Another suggestion: raise your standards for your own playing. Your previous great is the new good, your previous good is the new passable, and the previous passable is the new... "personally unacceptable". How in tune was that run you just practiced? how can you make it better? while there are some admitted dangers to setting your mind in this direction (frustration just being the least worry), If you put your mind to it, and raise your expectations of yourself you can go far.

    I am currently in university, and am working on this myself. One thing I do is compare myself not to other players of my imagined "caliber", such as other B.Mus students. I look to the Masters students and young professionals in my area and see how I can become like them, and how I can gain their level of dedication, their attention to detail.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is expect more from yourself. Don't be satisfied with "good for a high school student" or "good for a Bass player".

    Hope I don't sound like a dick.

  11. Jay445


    Jan 10, 2012
    Thanks everyone for the suggestions but it seems I may have been overreacting because my teachers, friends, and brother (hes a band director) say I have greatly improved and should do this in college.
  12. Jay445


    Jan 10, 2012
    thanks and no u didnt sound like a d*ck i always constantly push myself even when i do exceptionally well in class, on a audition or in my youth orchestra. Most of the time I put my all into playing.
  13. One more thing! If you know any member(s) of the audition panel then ask them for advice about what they were looking for, how and where your playing lacked strength and some tips for how to improve. Demonstrate that you are keen and willing to learn from the experience.

    If I were on an audition panel (and I have been on many) I would be listening for five, if not six, things in each piece. Intonation, rythm, all the notes, musically and in style. The sixth is to do all these five really well.

    If your audition contained orchestral excerpts I would listen to each with its context in mind. Brahms should sound like Brahms, Beethoven like Beethoven, etc, so that the panel can imagine playing their own parts in the same works. Musically this makes you immediately sound a lot more interesting than someone who is only technically correct or still struggling. If your solo pieces are well known it is better IMO to stick to a conservative interpretation and put the extra effort into musicianship and style, knowing the music so well that you can't fall off the notes on the day. Stick to moderate tempos that allow every note to sound. This is usually more impressive that higher speeds with missed notes or unclear articulation.

    Playing for others and playing duets, etc, as advised above is always really good advice.

    Best wishes,

  14. one thing I did was listen to lots of recordings of famous violinists. (Heifetz, Oistrakh, Millstein, etc) Their phrasing and musicality was superb, and it changed how I thought of phrasing; not limited by shifts, bowings, string crossings, and other technical matters.
  15. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    This. famous cellists too. Jacqueline Du Pre, anyone?
  16. Jay445


    Jan 10, 2012
    thanks everyone for the advice/help i will be sure to use it but it seems i have been overeacting as my teachers, friends and brother (hes a band director) says I sound better than ever before, greatly improved and should study bass in college.
  17. Witjas


    Dec 4, 2010
    Listening to cellists etc. is all well and good, but who knows whether your playing will actually benefit from it.

    Here's a way to make sure it will though:

    Take a wonderful recording made by a bassist you want to sound like. Not a very 'hard' piece, choose something which you'll actually be able to get around. Preferably something beautiful and inspiring. And.. go about copying his playing.

    Find his sound on your own bass, listen and copy his vibrato, his phrasing.. pay attention to details like when and how he changes that sound and that vibrato as he phrases, listen to how he shifts and how much of that is heard and enjoyable to hear, really get into his mind and body to figure out how, on a 'technical' level, he goes about making each phrase beautiful.. and do it yourself! Record yourself to see how different you sound, what you are not yet doing, and what you are possibly doing which you shouldn't be.. and play with the recording also to understand why each note is where it is, not a bit earlier or later. Be patient and stick with it until you've digested all that's in there and can reproduce that.

    It is of course very hard to do this and not everyone can. It takes great ingenuity. If you can do it however, you will learn a lot from it.
  18. I agree with what you said, but it is also very helpful to listen to every instrument.

    I once went to a master class taught by a solo trumpet player and he mentioned how when he was in high school, he would listen closely to ALL instruments and the different noises they can make and then he would reproduce the sound with his trumpet. He said that was the main reason he is so successful as a soloist.
  19. I'd like to add one more tip to the mix- sing in a chorus. In my high school, all orchestra and band members were required to sing in the chorus. Back then, I thought it was a dumb idea, but now I know it is one of the best experiences I've ever had. Unfortunately, it's just not in the cards for anyone studying the bass in a college/conservatory setting today; too bad.
  20. eerbrev


    Dec 6, 2009
    Ottawa, ON, CAN
    I agree with everything here. My only point of divergence is that I think that the level expected from bassists at all levels is lower than that of violinists and cellists. As a result, I listen to bassists first, and then (if it's an arranged piece, especially) I listen to cellists, violinists, and to a lesser extent Violists (though they are so like us). I'm just not happy being "good for a bass player", you know? Idunno, maybe I'm crazy, but I'm just sick of the level of bass players being seen as one of mediocrity (generally deserved, though not always), and want to do something about it.

    sorry, I'll step off my soap box.


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