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Should I even bother?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by powellmacaque, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. I am planning on auditioning for my university's music program next month. I have been playing for five years, and I would consider myself an intermediate player with tons of performance experience. I understand basic theory (I got a B+ in Freshman theory I), but I don't read sheet music. Secondly, I've never really played jazz, and in order to play bass guitar, you have to do jazz studies. Third, the heads of the music department have told me that I would eventually need to switch to upright in the future.

    I intend to try out using Jaco's version of Opus Pocus, and the bass instructor recommended a jazz standard for a second piece, but I couldn't even begin to tell you what I could play for that. Should I just throw in the towel?
  2. If you go for it you might regret it, but if you give up now you'll never know. What's the worst that could happen?
  3. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Let me save you a few thousand dollars: NO. If you can't read standard notation you are wasting your time and money. You will not have time to learn the basics of music while studying music theory, aural skills and music history not to mention all of your other core classes.
  4. It's his money to waste. I say go for it, maybe you can pull it off. You obviously want to do it or you wouldn't ask. If you don't try, you'll probably regret it.
  5. To be clear, I know how to read sheet music a little. I know the concepts of time and key signatures, the values of the notes, the various dynamic symbols and etc. I guess I would equate my reading level to the level of a elementary school child learning to read and write. I just don't have the experience in sight reading to be proficient.

    EDIT: I've also been enrolled at my university for this past year and my general studies courses will be finished by the end of the summer, so that won't be too much of a problem.
  6. I can play come on come over by jaco, but would that be considered a proper piece?
  7. Calebmundy


    Apr 5, 2007
    Firstly, it all depends on what school you are auditioning for when it comes to sight reading. There are still some rare cases (or at least there were 4-5 years ago) of schools that will take people in who don't read well. This is, I think much more likely if you are a vocalist, and it's not a really good and traditionally-rooted school. I went to Belmont and they let in some kids who couldn't read, who then had 3 semesters to pass those tests before they were booted, it was pretty excruciating work for them the whole time, and several bailed out. I know one guy who did really well.

    "Come on Come Over" is not really anything like a jazz standard-it's pretty much a fancy RnB tune. Most Universities want you to have some "contrasting styles" in the audition, so if you already have a Jaco piece, they would be more into something traiditionally jazz or jazz/blues, or a latin tune (although these are often lumped in with rockish stuff), or a classical piece.

    If I were you, I would try and get down with a blues tune, since it is the next most similar style to what you already do. I don't know how well it would translate to bass, but something like "All Blues" or "Freddie the Freeloader" would probably not be too hard. Pretty simple tunes, but it would take some arranging on your own-deciding whether or not to play just the groove, or also the melody, or some kind of solo etc. (Incidentally almost any program will want an expample of you walking a bassline during the audition).

    The very best advice I can give you is to contact the school of music and find out who does the auditions/and or who gives the bass lessons, and set up a lesson with them. They will usually meet you at least once for free. Tell them what you want to do, and get them to listen to you play, and find out what they are looking for in an audition. At the University of Miami, and Belmont I found the head bass person available with appointment, and really nice about sitting down with me-for free-and talking through what went on. It could save you money if you're not right for the program, or it could be very encouraging if you are. Plus, if you do audition after that meeting, you're walking into a room where you know someone-as opposed to a first meeting, and you know what they expect. Good luck!

    P.S. Also there are a lot of good places to get a music education aside from traditional universities that don't have the same requirements, and are worth checking into.

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