The Players School

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by west*coast*bass, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA
    Hey, does anyone have first hand knowledge of The Players School in Florida? Any insight would be great.

    Also, please do not use this thread as a forum to bash Jeff Berlin, this is not my intention. I want to know about the school and if anyone here attended and had success. Leave the flaming for another thread.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. brake


    Jun 23, 2003
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    I'd love to be in a position financially to go.

    I'd also love to be able to attend Victor Wooten's bass/nature camp - It'd be such an amazing experience, but the same thing goes - I'm a poor musician :(
  3. west*coast*bass

    west*coast*bass Supporting Member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Agoura Hills, CA

    Well then, I wish you good luck so you can change your situation!
  4. I am also looking for some info on the school. I am afraid it might not be an option financially right now, but if it seems like a good school I can at least set the goal to get enough cash for it. :meh:
  5. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Well Jeff Berlin has a reputation for all the places he has taught and he is very secretive about talking about his playing. People I've talked to that know him say as great as he is he is still insecure and probably why he just won't give anyone his insights. So that would bother me going to a school run by someone like that. No matter where you go Berklee, MI, North Texas State, you name it, will teach you all the basics. You go to certain schools because the teacher(s) you want to mentor you teaches there.

    Also all of these schools are only as good as you are a student. I really get your act together you have to do more than go to class. You have to play in every oportunity they have. You have to hang with the great teachers in their open counseling. You have to discover the hot students and jam and hang. The school create the environment, but you have to take advantage of it and search out the info.

    Last talk to some of the big name instructors and they will tell you, you don't need these expensive schools. Take your money move to New York, or L.A. or any music town. Get a good teacher, practice your ass off, and take every gig you can get your hands on, and search out all the playing situations you can. Submerging yourself in music and playing/jamming to try things out is the real teacher.
  7. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    I went to the University of the Arts in Philly. It was great because there were so many people looking to play 24 hours a day. That is were I learned the most. The teacher's were great, and had alot of good info and knowledge, but knowledge is useless until you apply it. I know people who have bashed music school and say that you can't learn music in a classroom situation. If all you do is go to class and play only what is required, then they're right. But if you approach it eargerly and ask questions outside of class, then it's wonderful.
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well - I don't think in this case, there are any "secrets" that anybody can impart - there are no shortcuts to getting better!!

    So - you just have to listen a lot, transcribe - work out what other people are doing, take the parts you like and try to apply that to what you are doing.

    Theory will help, knowing all the inversions of chord for example - but basically it's just a lot of work and the more you do, the better you get - no secret! ;)

    The other point is that a "one off " is just that - it's never going to be a replacement for day-to-day working on your playing and working with a teacher on a long-term basis ....
  10. mrcircle

    mrcircle peacenik Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Boise, ID
    I attended a one-week intensive at the Players School and found it very helpful. It was over a year and a half ago and I'm still working with some of the things I learned. For me, Jeff made good on his promise of teaching me "what to practice, and what not to practice." I left with a more solid understanding of how to develop as a musician and believe I've improved greatly as a result.

    Mind you, I went as an intermediate player with a lot to learn (and unlearn), so I can't say whether Jeff was willing to share his advanced secrets or not, but I did find him very warm and gracious in the way he interacted with me and the other students. And I benefitted greatly from both the information I was exposed to and the interaction with the teachers and other students. For me, it was money well spent.
  11. mrcircle

    mrcircle peacenik Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2003
    Boise, ID
    +1 to all the above. That pretty much sums up what I learned there!
  12. sedgdog


    Jan 26, 2002
    Pasco, WA
    Ditto - I attended the one-week intensive and had the same experience. Jeff will tell you "THERE ARE NO SECRETS". Just put your head down and practice the right stuff. I've found it to be very true.

    All the best,
  13. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    my teacher keeps on telling me that wherever you go, you will get taught the same basic theory. its up to the student to put in the effort and to improve into a great musician.

    if jeff tells his students that there are 'no secrets' then he has a very good point. jeff's going to show you the same scales and similiar technical excersises that any other school/teacher will show you.
  14. I agree with all the responses so far.

    Personally, i felt sort've mislead after i got down there. The very first day Jeff holds a meeting with all the new attendess and extolls that if you don't study with him for a full year and a half (the 80 week study, yeah right?) your coming down for the 1 week intensive, the 4 week cirriculum, or the 10 week study, is kind've in vain, as these options won't yield the desired effect, with the desired effect being that you have a firm understanding of the innerworkings on not only bass playing, but with music in general. Musicianship first, bass playing second.

    Take into account that if your not a native Floridian you'll understandbly have to pay additional fees for finding a suitable living arrangement (apart from school fees, books you'll have to purchase that should've been included as part of the initial fee, but aren't) you'll be taking time off from work, you'll be apart from family/friends/pets/responsiblities for a stupid amount of time. (My roomate and i, we were paired together through the school, split renting out a beautiful fully furnished condo, with a lake in our back yard, $1500.00 per month. He frequents the boards here too and also came down for the 4 week study, as did i intially.)

    Additionally, for every 4 weeks you spend down there at the Players School, it totals $1500.00. Let's forget finances for a second.

    This was in September 2004. (Height of the hurricane season down there. That whole part of Florida was in a real pandemic, with all the evacuations, possible floodings, school closings, gas shortages, etc. If your not familiar with all that, it's a real eye opener, trust me, try trying to study in the midst of the news media playing up that this hurricane can put the state of florida under)

    Jeff is very personalble and does'nt play favourites. (black/white) Let's just get that out the way, up front. I always joked with Jeff in our private lessons like that, as he's Jewish (i'm black) and his nationality have been perscuted as harshly as any other.

    A few things i did'nt agree with that's a creed of Jeff's, but might be trivial to you'll (never practice with a metronome, try not to use an electronic tuner to tune up your instrument but trusting your own ears through using harmonics, a few others tenants that i've forgotten, all trivial)

    For me, i wasn't getting it down there. My intentions of going down there was to understand my role as a bassist but more importantly to come out being able to groove the heck outta my bass. I do realize that with my time down there my ears were soo closed. I didn't understand the basics and at The Players School you study jazz, JAZZ, although they do start out teaching you from scratch. (triads, inversions, ear training, basic chord changes)

    I sort've wished that Jeff would've taken more notice of me because it wasn't like it was 75 students in our class but about 10-12 of us and we were then divided up with about 8 in one class and 4 in the other. (I was in the class with the 4) Jeff rarely frequented our ensemble class (us with the 4 in it) as the instructor (Matt Bokulic) worked with us firsthand. We had ensemble 5 days a week and after playing each time it was ALWAYS 'good job bro!' The other guys that were more musical than i was, he would really critque them. I could'nt figure it out and still don't.

    We all had 2 weekly private lessons with Jeff, where Jeff was to point out our weakness to help us get better. My private lessons with Jeff consisted of reading basic trombone sheet music and playing that in front of him. I stopped going to my private lessons. He didn't seem to care or notice, i didn't either. I wasn't learning no way, i decided to bounced and drove back 17 hours to Washington DC.

    Trying to learn music in an academic way yields for a mechanical sounding player. Yes, you play all the proper notes over the chords but theres nothing else there. Music is an aural experience.
  15. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    Bruce Lindfield was the one to start using the term "Secrets". People aren't talking about Secrets, they are talking about getting Insights from people who have gone through what they are going through. The same reason people take Master level classes. But people go to schools like the players school to learn the fundamentals and move on to advanced topics in a timely manner. The hope that experinced teacher guides them with their insight to avoid wasting time on somethings and point out other things to be sure to learn. To critic students playing and offer ideas to improve next time.

    So right there are no Secrets, hard work is the answer, but a good teacher should help guide the student down best path for that student. A great player/teacher should also help the student naviagate the path more efficiently and get from point A to B faster than learning things one by one at home.
  16. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    thats my point, ANY good teacher will be able to provide valuable insight. i wasn't trying to say that a teacher isn't as good as a student putting in a lot of effort.

    what i was trying to say was any good teacher will give you very similiar ground work, and so the original poster may not have to travel to another state just to undertake lessons.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually it was you who first started talking about being "secretive" - not me - here's the evidence above!

    ...then it was "sedgdog" who said :

    "Ditto - I attended the one-week intensive and had the same experience. Jeff will tell you "THERE ARE NO SECRETS". Just put your head down and practice the right stuff. I've found it to be very true.

    All the best,

    So it wasn't a case of

    "Bruce Lindfield was the one to start using the term "Secrets" ..."

    And I resent this!! :rollno:

    But I do agree completely with ras1983 and sedgdog - if you're looking for some kind of inside advantage - then there are none...:meh:
  18. steveb98

    steveb98 [acct disabled - multiple aliases]

    Mar 15, 2006
    Venice, CA
    My bad, I stand corrected, I just seached for word secret. I should of used the word insights from the beginning.
  19. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    ROGER THE BRUCE - you still can't seem to see the forest for those big round things with rough looking brown stuff on them and green frilly tops.

    LEFT COAST BASS - I think you're going to be disappointed with ANY school if you're going to attend with the idea that there's that ONE BIG IDEA that will substantially change your playing. I have to admire Jeff for having the testicular fortitude to stand up in front of a bunch of potential customers and say that if they thought that they were going to be able to get a deep and encompassing understanding of musical fundamentals in 1, 4 or even 10 weeks of study. Also if you go in with the idea that somebody in a school is going to do something that will suddenly make your playing such that you won't "get roasted" or "will be able to groove the heck out of my bass". The idea that ANYONE can do that without a good foundation in the fundamentals of music is ludicrous in the extreme.

    Hvaing said that, I am more and more of the opinion that the study of music in a classroom setting is pretty much the worse way to develop a musical personality. Even if there' sjust one other person in a class, the teacher STILL has to move along at the AVERAGE speed of comprehension. So they really have no choice except to move slower than some people need and faster than some people can keep up. And then almost everything they deal with HAS to be presented in a module that breaks dwon easily into a quarter or semester format. It doesn't matter if you need more work, you either are passed along to the next level or kept back in this one. And presented the same material in the exact same way again. And there are no guarantees if you're passed along. I mean if you get a C- in Ear Training, what's that? You either HEAR the material with clarity or you don't. There's no half stepping.

    What is your ultimate goal? What are you hoping to get out of a school? What career path do you want to pursue? Are there any other options that would get you to the place that you want to be?
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well I agree 100% with this and 'twas was exactly what I was trying to say...;)
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    Primary TB Assistant

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