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Role for Women?

Discussion in 'Ask the Berklee Bass Department' started by edencab, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    Hi.....my daughter is in grade 11 and a keen bass player...(I play tenor, but have taken up the bass as well)....I showed her this page and the 1st thing she said "Why is it all guys!"...

    well fellows?......I know there a few famous/semi famous female bassists, but why do you think there are so few?.....how does a female get noticed or become successful?

  2. Lee Moses

    Lee Moses

    Apr 2, 2013
    I'm not in the Berklee bass department, but I'll take a stab at it . . .

    Could it have something to do with the fact that for every 100 guys who take up bass, only one or two girls do?
    Paula Warren likes this.
  3. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    The same way a man does. hard work practice and continually paying dues. This is no secret. It's like this any where that talent and or ability matter.
    briezie likes this.
  4. emjazz

    emjazz Supporting Member

    Feb 23, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Berklee is doing a great job enrolling more and more women at the school. I had a bass student of mine just graduate and she did a great job. Got recognized in the bass department with an award. Honestly, my best students have been women. They always seem to get it faster than the guys. I'm sure there will be more and more women in music in the coming years. I saw some super gifted women at the school while I was there....my wife was a full scholarship drummer at the school.....they're there....look out!
  5. Steve Bailey

    Steve Bailey

    Feb 15, 2013
    This semester we have 34 female bassists, from all over the world, at Berklee! Just to put that in perspective; There are only a handful schools in the world that have that many bassists, total!
    emjazz thanks for the Berklee kudos and a well handled response. sb

    BTW, heard Linda Oh tonight with Dave Douglas! She was killin' it!
  6. edencab


    Aug 14, 2013
    Toronto, On
    thanks Guys.......Steve, great piece of info, very encouraging !!!...wee Jane Doe is thrilled about that

  7. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    And Berklee has long been home to many great female bass players: Aimee Mann, Juliana Hatfield, Esperanza Spalding spring to mind, but I don't see any gender divide in bass land at all.
    briezie likes this.
  8. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    As far as I'm concerned, there are only musicians and civilians. We've busted enough myths about women musicians (mostly spread by Gene Simmons ;) ) to know that women, just as men, get out of music what they put into it.

    As for the faculty being all men, I'm sure Steve would have no problems hiring any qualified woman who wanted the job. But they do have to want the job.
    DanAleks likes this.
  9. Steve Bailey

    Steve Bailey

    Feb 15, 2013
    You bet I would.
    As we have well over 20 bass faculty (as opposed to the "large" schools like UM who have 3) and the most diverse curriculum, from The Music of Paul Chambers to Jaco Pastorius Lab to Metal Bass Lab... I hire specialists to teach and inspire our students.
    It is an amazingly thorough process, and finding the "right" person is the ultimate goal.
    Providing a diverse learning environment is Job #1 for me. Having said that, I have reached out to some amazing folks, and many of them are just plain too busy touring, or just not at a place in their lives to make this happen. That includes all genders.

    Like most things, Timing is EVERYTHING!
  10. Dave Buda

    Dave Buda Berklee Bass Department

    Dec 22, 2007
    Boston bass and berklee professor
    The reason is that historically there hasn't been many role models for Women. That has all changed now. There are numerous phenomenal Women in the ranks now. We are seeing a huge increase everywhere. I've yet to hear one story of discrimination towards a female bass player. In Music we often will seek out external causes for perhaps not getting a gig. Of course there has to be stories out there that I'm not aware of. I can.. reasonably assure you that being a Women will not be a detriment. Like the rest of us, she has to dedicate her entire life to this. The goal is to be " too good to be ignored." Been at Berklee for 15 years and never heard a story of discrimination. However Some Women have told me of their peers being FEELING threatened because of being a Women. Musicians are a insecure lot! Not me of course :rolleyes:
  11. Anthony Vitti

    Anthony Vitti Fender Bass! - Professor Berklee College of Music

    Feb 20, 2013
    Some of my most successful students are women. Annie Clements with Sugarland, Jenn Oberle with Five For Fighting, Jenni Tarma with Christina Perry and that's just a few. Also, the bass department has had a few women teachers. The most notable being Esperanza Spaulding. She was young when she was teaching in the department and her career took off like a rocket. I think someday down the line she will rejoin our faculty. I have been at Berklee for over 25 years and there are more women than ever. I haven't experienced any bias in my classes or lessons. I have some incredible male and female students.
  12. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    When I was at Berklee there weren't many women in the whole school. It was tough!! :D
  13. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef “the brian” Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Women bass players?? Next they'll be letting women vote! ;)
  14. I play a bass as a hobby, so even this average working mom plays too. Omg Gene Simmons gggrrrrrr! Lol dont get me started!
    RSegal9 likes this.
  15. CyberSnyder

    CyberSnyder Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I Endorse Alien Audio Basses
    This is purely anecdotal, but just looking at memories of my many, many trips to Guitar Center there were tons of guys doing the slappity tappity thing and nothing stood out. A few months ago there was the rare female in the bass area that wasn't a bored girlfriend and she was checking out a Jazz bass and rocking it. Super tasty bass lines, very minimal slap and no repetition of the same lines over and over. If I was auditioning a bassist, she would get the job.

    What does all that mean? Not much. Just find your style and rock it. Do something unique as long as you can groove and you'll stand out. Sometimes a guy will get the job just because he's a guy, sometime a chick will get the gig for the same reason. It's still a male dominated instrument, but I'm a 100% for more females in bassland!
  16. foundation


    Jul 24, 2010
    Hi Randy (Edencab). Not long ago there were very few women who were doctors, lawyers, scientists, or professors but that has changed as more and more role models are visible for young women. From personal experience, I have been fortunate to be around some of the best known bassists in the world (Steve Bailey, John Pattituci, Chuck Rainey, Victor Wooten, Anthony Wellington.....) and even though I'm a Hobbyist and on the wrong side of 45 and a woman, I have never felt ANYTHING from them except respect and a sincere and keen desire to help me improve my playing. In fact, I've heard several of them state publicly that they think women make BETTER bass players. I would tell your daughter there are plenty of great women bass players out there and just in case you were hinting at a question about whether there is discrimination in the bass player world, I can honestly say I've never felt it, and specifically, two of the Berklee faculty whom I have met, Professors Bailey and Pattituci, have been genuinely encouraging and supportive. Your daughter's gender will be an issue only if she chooses to make it one.
  17. foundation


    Jul 24, 2010
    I personally observed Steve Bailey going right at a group of male bass players for acting as though they knew more and were more capable than a woman standing beside them. He pointed out that the men were so busy talking loudly and vehemently stating their opinions, they were discounting the woman who was providing an answer to the question he posed.
    I’m glad to see other posts relaying positive experiences. As others have stated, as more and more women take up the instrument, there will be more women who are interested in and qualified to teach others, just as there are now more women scientists and doctors. I hope Randy’s daughter will be encouraged by my personal experience with the bass players whom I have met who not only talk about, but demonstrate by their attitudes and actions that they are looking for opportunities to promote female bass players. I feel that within her lifetime and professional career there will be many more role models and instructors, both male and female, to inspire her. I would encourage her to apply to Berklee, graduate and then return as an instructor!!
    Randy, I wish your daughter all the success in the world.
  18. Telenovela


    Jun 2, 2013
    Brooklyn, NY
    Head of Research, TuneSat LLC
    I want to apologize, I deleted my post earlier this morning because I was frustrated when I wrote it and not expressing myself very well.

    I was really just trying to describe the sexism I've witnessed in jazz education and in the music industry. I think it very often gets whitewashed and I feel that universities in general should put a greater effort into hiring female instructors.

    Sorry for being rude.
  19. foundation


    Jul 24, 2010
  20. Andrew B.

    Andrew B.

    Aug 20, 2010
    If Carol Kaye was willing to at least be a guest lecturer, I think she would be a great asset. She is a wealth of information about music in general, about various rhythms and chords, and how the styles feed into each other and cross musical boundaries.

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