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The Players School of Music One Week Intensive

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by PiNgtime, Oct 1, 2010.


  1. PiNgtime

    PiNgtime

    Mar 26, 2009
    Hello all. I recently completed the One Week Intensive course at Jeff Berlin's school in Clearwater Florida, and promised myself that I'd write here to give a little review.

    A typical day for me encompassed 1st live ensemble(1hr), ear training(30mins), private lesson (30mins), 2nd live ensemble (1hr), harmony (30mins), 3rd live ensemble (1hr), with some additional slots here and there to fill out the day. Coffee was no stranger.

    In the small group of us there were people who played bass, guitar and one keyboardist. We were all at different levels of proficiency, and everyone left there musically very fulfilled as far as what we were learned, as well as what we have taken away to continue learning on our own.

    Personally it has far surpassed the worth equivalent to what I had to pay to get there, and musically I will only become a better player from here on, as long as I continue practicing....... and as it appears to me, everyone shares this positive sentiment about the school.

    It's no secret that Jeff has a bad rep here on this forum, but I would be remiss to not give my honest opinion of the school and the entire experience. People have a grave misconception about him I fear. In person he is no worse than I would expect from anyone I meet around the world, and FAR BETTER than most. He is a total goof if you give him half a chance. As for the rest of the instructors, you get the opportunity to play alongside some EXTREMELY knowledgeable and proficient musicians who are all great guys.

    If it's one bad thing I HAVE TO say about the school, is that the day ends too quickly and you leave wishing you had just one more hour at least in that class.

    I didn't want to make this too long. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask away. I really tried to do this separating an objective review, from my personal feeling after the fact.

    Chris
     
  2. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    What other experiences with music education have you had? Have you attended any conservatory classes? Have you attended classes at an accredited university with a strong music program? Have you attended other short workshop/symposium/masterclass/camp type music programs?
     
  3. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    Glad you had a great experience.

    I had considered going. Jeff is a phenomenal player and a passionate educator.

    But his antics here, as well as his theatrical "My way is the ONLY way" approach, really burnt the bridge for me. There are a lot of other phenomenal player/educators out there, and other excellent weeklong intensives that provide (IMO) equivalent value. Though Jeff would disagree, and has.
    So - glad you got a lot out of it. Myself, I'll spend my learning dollars elsewhere.
     
  4. PiNgtime

    PiNgtime

    Mar 26, 2009
    No. Where I live there are not really any accessible programs that are comparable to these that you have listed. Being from outside of the U.S. it is difficult to see these opportunities unfortunately. I am nowhere near the level of knowledgeable player that many are here, and I acknowledge that.
     
  5. PiNgtime

    PiNgtime

    Mar 26, 2009

    Thanks for this honest reply. To you and Ed too. You are well within your right.
     
  6. robe43

    robe43

    Aug 28, 2009
    Thanks for the review - I have some family in the area and I am thinking of doing the one week intensive when I go there sometime.

    Good to know that you a had a good experience.
     
  7. PiNgtime

    PiNgtime

    Mar 26, 2009
    Your welcome. And should you have any questions in future don't hesitate to ask.
     
  8. sedgwick1489

    sedgwick1489

    Dec 29, 2009
    The One Week Intensive is awesome - glad you had a great time PiNgtime.
     
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    NYC
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Well within my right to what? You said "if anyone has any questions", right?

    And it's not about whether or not you're a "knowledgeable player", just if you have any other experiences with which to compare this one. Because this kinda sounds sorta like a day at Berklee:

    Harmony and Composition 1 hr
    Repertoire ensemble - 1 hr
    Ear training - 1 hr
    New Music ensemble - 1 hr (concentrating on reading and improvisational approach for more contemporary mainstream jazz)
    Theory & Analysis - 1 hr
    Plus a private lesson on your instrument once a week.
    And then after classes, let the sessions begin!

    The ensembles can change every semester too; I was in an ensemble that played for the film scoring classes- you play the music that the students had written to accompany film scenes, there was a George Garzone ensemble that was kind of like the Repertoire ensemble (learning a bunch of standards) but approaching them with George's kind of inside/outside improvisational concept.

    And there's LOTS of schools that do this. Which is one of my problems with Jeff; he acts like the he's the ONLY cat in the world who approaches musical education with some sort of formal pedagogical approach. He is blissfully ignorant of any of the literally hundreds of other educators and schools out there because it's MUCH easier to have the "Moses coming down from the mountain" vibe if you don't bother to check out what else is happening outside the pages of BASS PLAYER magazine or your target audience is folks whose primary musical education so far has been random youtube videos.

    You pin him down about this attitude and he will grudgingly say well, maybe there are other people doing/saying/teaching this, but I'm the most well known one. Maybe, but only in the demographic that he described here as "not knowing anything beyond a 7th chord".

    As everyone says, it is a GREAT and positive thing that you've started, taking steps to get deeper into music. There's SO much more than you can get into with only a week's worth of work, so dig around and I'm absolutely sure you will find others who can help you on this journey.
     
  10. sedgwick1489

    sedgwick1489

    Dec 29, 2009
    Ed - I think he was just thanking you for your reply. That's the way I read it anyway.
     
  11. PiNgtime

    PiNgtime

    Mar 26, 2009
    Thanks Sedgwick.

    Ed, I'm not disputing those points you made. And btw thanks for your personal account as well.

    I agree that there are probably other options. Being where I am from, I chose his school because of a matter of practicality, and cost. Quite a few reasons which won't really hold credence to you or anyone else... but they were determining factors to me.

    I was telling Kesslari he was well within his right to spend his dollars elsewhere.
     
  12. I know nothing about Jeff Berlin...though I keep seeing his name popping up on this board. All playing aside...

    I looked at his website to see his background and really came up empty as to his education. I see that he "attended Berklee". Did he receive a DEGREE from Berklee?

    Also, I get the impression you didn't play with any LIVE drummers during the week. Is that correct? If so, that's just plain WRONG.
     
  13. PiNgtime

    PiNgtime

    Mar 26, 2009
    Yes you do play with live and only, live drummers in his school. So no you are not correct.
     
  14. THAT'S good. I got the wrong impression by what you wrote...
     
  15. sedgwick1489

    sedgwick1489

    Dec 29, 2009
    If you're not familiar with Jeff, he is worth investigating. Even those who don't like Jeff the person respect Jeff the player.

    All the best
     
  16. he studied classical violin from an early age before switching to bass.....i suggest a look-see at some of his stuff on you tube.....

    he is a world class player,and despite being reviled in some quarters is passionate in his teaching methodology......i don't know if he got a degree or not,but i believe it was not from a lack of capability,but the demands for his skills in performance situations..........
     
  17. rms2

    rms2

    May 27, 2008
    VA
    Jeff's playing speaks for itself. I've always loved his work with Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth. If you haven't heard "Feels Good To Me" and "One Of A Kind" then absolutely have a listen, some of the best fusion recordings ever. Also check out his latest recordings, they are great.

    I also don't always agree with the way Jeff presents his views but the point I take from him is that to learn a skill, you need to study the rudiments. To paraphrase Jeff; If you're going to be a doctor, lawyer, or electrician then you need to go through the training and do a residency, internship or apprencticeship. Because I believe that is true, I am studying with a New England Conservatory faculty member and learning a tremendous amount. He charges $50 an hour for the lessons which I consider an absolute bargain.

    I really believe Jeff means well and just wants everyone that desires to be a "musician" to get a real education instead of wasting time. And I would love to spend a year or two at Berklee, NECM, NT, or Players School. I can only imagine what it would be like for my assignment everyday to be to learn and play as much music as possible, surrounded by other great musicians and teachers.
     
  18. Yes, and then you get certification by the state, held to a set code of professional conduct and standards, and are subject to having that certification withdrawn. This includes the profession of TEACHER.

    When someone like Wooten or Sheehan present a clinic, that's one thing. But to run the fulltime, organized school in question, let me ask some question that might be of help to potential…clients:

    1. Does ANYONE associated with this school hold Florida Permanent Certification in Education and/or Administration?

    2. Can ANYONE cough up the $150 and get accepted? (WOW!)

    3. Very important: Does the school carry full Liability Insurance?
    I don’t mean for a fall in the parking lot.

    I'm looking forward to checking out some of Mr. Berlin's playing. Teaching is not playing, and requires a set course of study, and yes, an Apprenticeship under professional supervision. That’s not to say that all the faculty at Juilliard are certified educators, but they are ALL subject to the supervision of Juilliard itself.

    On the subject of Liability Insurance: Accredited Institutions like Juilliard, NE Con, and Berklee are required to have it. It is EXTREEEMLY expensive for the institution… I know. I’m a player and a Certified Educator. I’ve been running my own program for 25 years and carry the insurance.

    I’m glad that students are happy with their experiences. This is just food for thought.
     
  19. sedgwick1489

    sedgwick1489

    Dec 29, 2009
    The answer to #2 is "yes", (although tuition in >$150.00). There are no auditions at Jeff's school. If you have the desire to learn and are willing to work hard, then you are accepted. Jeff would tell you that a student should be auditioning the teacher not the other way around.

    Please do report back after you check out Mr. Berlin with what you find.
     
  20. Please don’t think that I am impugning any person or school. I have simply put forth three questions that a prospective student-or their parents- might want answered when considering ANY such coarse of study.

    Thanks for answering question number two. It gives me a clearer picture of this particular school.
     

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