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Teacher recommendations

Discussion in 'Orchestral Technique [DB]' started by MartinT, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. MartinT


    Apr 16, 2003
    San Mateo CA
    As many posters here request information on bass teachers, and relatively little is posted on student experiences with them, I thought to start a thread with a review of my experience with Ken Miller in San Francisco. I realize that the fit between a teacher and student is highly dependent on personal style and student needs. Opinions expressed here are mine only.

    I have been taking weekly lessions with Ken for a year now. I started out with very little left-over experience from playing for a few years in the early eighties, not playing whatsoever for twenty years, and picking back up last year. Learning with Ken has tought me several valuable lessons:

    -Playing the bass is a never ending journey. The views along the way are fabulous
    -It is a truly holistic experience. Technique, physiomechanics, psychoacoustics, the emotional charge of music, state of mind of the player are all intertwined
    -Regardless of the capacities and characteristics of your instrument, the room you play in, the weather conditions etc, there is a 'best possible sound' in there that should be brought out.
    -Use your ears!

    The way Ken teaches is conceptual more than purily technical. He certainly focuses on the physical aspects such as bowing technique, body position, left hand technique where required, but incorporates it all into a musical concept that forces you to think about the music rather than just playing 'correctly'. It seems to work for me, as I couldn't get a decent bowed sound out of any string when I started with him, and now I am playing with a local community orchestra and having the time of my life.

    Ken teaches classical and jazz. He plays with the San Francisco Symphony and chamber ensembles in the SF Bay area as well as many jazz gigs. He has a wealth of musical experiences that he relates to in his lessons in many ways. I feel fortunate to be one of his students.

    If you're interested in finding out more, his email address is kenbasso@aol.com
  2. pedro


    Apr 5, 2000
    Madison, WI.
    Sounds like you found the right guy for you. Speaking of San Francisco teachers, we flew out last spring to visit the San Francisco Conservatory and found the bass professor, Tramontozzi to be a very nice gentleman. He seems very amiable and knowledgeable.

    Anyway, my son studies with Larry Gray in Chicago and he is very similar to your teacher in that he has a wide range of musical experiences to draw (classical w/ CSO and one of the best jazz bass players in Chicago) upon. He is also a true multi instrumentalist and has degrees in cello, guitar and piano and could easily make a living playing those. He is the most musically talented person I've ever met. More importantly he truly seems to enjoy 'teaching'. Not all that can do, can teach. He does both very well.

    If you get a chance check out some of his playing with Ramsey Lewis.