Potential Student?

Discussion in 'Ask the Berklee Bass Department' started by Endureth, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Endureth


    Nov 22, 2010
    Hi, I live in Maine and have been teaching myself bass for about 20 years. I know a limited amount of music theory, can't read music and will give almost anyone a blank look when they start listing off chords to me (most of the time).

    I can play though, I've put up lots of online collaborations with people overseas on soundcloud so given enough time, I *can* compose proper bass lines. Trouble is, I don't exactly understand why I pick the notes I do (besides it sounds right or it's in the same mode) and I certainly don't instinctively see all the notes I could choose from at any given time.

    My timing and groove are great (as far as I know). I'm 40 years old, disabled/retired military, meaning the actual funding to go to a college is already earned.

    Would I be someone who would even have a chance at passing an audition to attend Berklee or do I have too many holes in my basic knowledge? Mostly when I read what goes on at auditions I think to myself I don't know any of that stuff they're going to audition me for and it's a little confusing because that's what I want to go to school to learn in the first place.

    I would post examples of my playing but I don't want to appear like I'm looking for comments on my songs or anything like that.
  2. Steve Bailey

    Steve Bailey

    Feb 15, 2013
    Hey Endureth,

    Only sounds to me like you admitted that you don't know everything, and really want to learn something. That is a big factor in getting in. Also, strong groove and good ear are the big ones for me. Reading and Theory are truly the "easy" things to teach and learn. And they open so many doors, in so many directions.

    I would offer this… "you never know till you try". I will say this; I have seen amazing progress from former military students. You know MUCH more about discipline, dedication, respect, and perseverance than most. Those are the key factors in success… at anything.

    So, apply.. and feel free to contact me if you have more Q's.

    Steve Bailey bass@berklee.edu
  3. Rev J

    Rev J

    Jun 14, 2012
    Berkeley, Ca.
    Also if need be check out the Jazz and Contemporary Music program at The University of Maine at Augusta. I went there for 3 years and got quite a bit out of it. Then try Berklee.

    Rev J
  4. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    As a Berklee alumnus, let me put in my 2 cents, if it's worth that much.

    Personally, I would want to be able to read music and have at least a beginning grasp of theory before enrolling at Berklee. Berklee provides instruction as good as anywhere in the world, and can help you become an excellent musician. But going to Berklee to learn how to read music and to have your first introduction to theory is like being granted the privilege of studying English composition with Ernest Hemingway . . . and having to spend the first 6 months of your time with him having him teach you how to read. Pretty much any music store bass teacher (or piano teacher, or whatever) can teach you how to read music and give you some basic theory (rhythms, scales, modes, key signatures, etc.). I think you'd be better served to spend at least a little time with a local private instructor learning those things, so when you get to Berklee you can hit the ground running.
  5. Endureth


    Nov 22, 2010
    This is all good advice and much appreciated. Thanks for your replies. Wish me luck!
  6. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    Done! I hope all goes well.