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What do you think of my Berklee College of Music audition piece?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by tjnkoo, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. tjnkoo


    Apr 19, 2011
    Metro Atlanta
    Forgive the terrible quality sound and picture, as I can't find the charger for the camera I usually use, so here is a tolerable quality recording from my Droid cell phone. I have my audition for Berklee College of Music in nearly a week, so needless to say I'm a little nervous! This is by no means the most difficult song out there, but it has some cool false harmonics, bends, and a solid groove. Its also by one of my favorite bassists, Tony Levin off of his album Resonator. I'm playing my Dingwall ABZ5 (an absolutely brilliant instrument) through my Phil Jones Briefcase amp, although with the audio quality of my phone I can guarantee the actual tone won't be displayed too well.

    Also, I know at the slap section its off in parts as well as the beginning 20 seconds or so. That video is almost a week old and I've spent a long while the past few days fixing that up. Its much more in the pocket, and I've had my teachers and such listen to make sure. Please let me know what you think!

    The piece:

    Any advice on the rest of the audition would also be more than appreciated. I've been working on my blues stuff, my reading/playing chord changes, and will begin refreshing my ear for the ear training part of my audition. If anyone has any advice please share! And yes I have used the search function in regards to audition advice, just wondering if any more recent bits of advice may pop out on this thread. Any wisdom on the school/audition/piece/etc is greatly appreciated! :bassist:

    *I popped this in the wrong forum once and it only got 7 responses, so I apologize if this seems like a repeat, just have my audition this Sunday and really looking for some wisdom!
  2. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    Honest feedback?

    You're majoring on the minors. You've got all of the flashy techniques but your foundation (time/groove) is very loose.

    Work MUCH more on playing simpler tunes in time with a strong sense of groove.

    All said in a spirit of constructive criticism bro.
  3. tjnkoo


    Apr 19, 2011
    Metro Atlanta
    I meant to pop that in there about the timing. I know at the slap section its off in parts as well as the beginning 20 seconds or so. That video is almost a week old and I've spent a long while the past few days fixing that up. Its much more in the pocket, and I've had my teachers and such listen to make sure. But thank you!
  4. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    Might want to shoot David Overthrow this question in his forum on here. He attended Berklee so he should have a good idea of what their audition process is like.
  5. Jon Moody

    Jon Moody Commercial User

    Sep 9, 2007
    Kalamazoo, MI
    Manager of Digital Brand Development and Product Development at GHS Strings
    I have to agree with all of this. I didn't feel that you were grooving at all with the drum machine; you were playing on top of it. The technique is good and you've got some chops, but that groove is really what's going to shine through after .5 seconds of your audition and you want that to really hammer it home.
  6. Toptube

    Toptube Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    I know this was just a quick vid, but I could barely get a sense of the track you are playing with. Because of that, I can't really give a full critique. It was clear to me though, that you were a little late, pretty often. It could be just nerves, but it felt like you were fighting to get certain runs out, rather than the whole thing just flowing together.
  7. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards

    It feels like you are trying to get the drum machine to follow you rather than the other way around. More emphasis on timing and feeling the groove.
  8. TripleDouble

    TripleDouble Guest

    Aug 5, 2008
    You sound pretty good man, and you've got good chops and are headed in a great direction. Agreed though, you just need to really stick that groove a bit more and you'll do great. Try pretending you ARE the drums while you play that part, if that makes any sense.

    As far as the rest of the audition; I went to and graduated from Berklee in the 90s, rocked my audition, got scholarships blah blah...though for guitar. The audition was just what you anticipate - read a few notes, comp some changes (in bass' case, its play some walking lines and/or just groove on some chord changes, from what I've heard), play some prepared stuff. If you are going to be flashy, make sure it's musical and not just chops. The thing they look for most in entering student auditions is overall musicality and potential.

    I hope you enjoy Berklee and that it all works out as you'd like. Its an interesting place for sure. I started playing bass in rock and weird noisy jam bands while studying jazz and fusion guitar there as a way to blow off steam. Took a few bass labs while there, but bass has never been my "serious" instrument, which in some ways is better. No pressure to be Mr. Awesome. Berklee can be an overwhelming place if you let yourself get caught up in the competition, and a great place if you use it to hone your craft to be what you want it to be, not what will make you King of 1A. You'll see, kick ass, and best of luck.
  9. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    New York, NY
    This could be a very effective audition piece. It's a nice change from the Jaco and Wooten stuff that kids like to bust out half-assedly.

    Your time needs work. Feel that groove, man. Your technique needs to be so firmly ingrained in your muscle memory that all you need to think about is the time. Seems you're still working out the technique part. But really, time if the most important thing. I've seen some guys play some impressive stuff, but one of the most awesome sounds I've ever heard is Victor Wooten playing quarter notes. Your piece has the ability to be very impressive ONLY if the time is rock solid.
  10. Pretty damn good.
  11. lkbass22


    Apr 21, 2009
    New York City
    I spend a year at Berklee (last year) before transferring and from my experience there and also with their audition process. They really look at how you groove and how your time is. Also a little improvisation won't hurt. The site reading they give you will have a range of examples. The first one will be pretty much straight half notes. The rest range from different styles (country, 12/8 r&b, Swing, Bossa ect..) They'll probably have you play the first one and then choose one or two more depending on how you do. They also have some sort of rhythmic call and response and ear training bits. Neither of those parts should be that difficult.

    Hope this helps.
  12. tjnkoo


    Apr 19, 2011
    Metro Atlanta
    It definitely does, thanks again to all of you guys! I've found quite a bit online as far as practice material and such and have sorted out the rhythm issues that occurred at points, so I'm feeling pretty good about it. I'll let you know how it goes! Any other advise from anyone??
  13. Turxile


    May 1, 2011
    Record yourself over and over until you get every note right on and grooving. If you are struggling with a part, say a certain lick, drop a few notes out of it. Playing less notes to keep the groove going works.
  14. Swipter


    Sep 7, 2009
    I think you are trying too hard. Not too constructive but simple.
  15. tjnkoo


    Apr 19, 2011
    Metro Atlanta
    This video is fairly outdated just as I've spent the hours to make it right since then. I'll have to disagree though that I'm trying to hard. I like the piece, I learned it a while ago, and I decided to relearn it for the audition. I've ironed out the groove issues and have a pre-audition lesson this morning before my audition tomorrow. I've also been working on blues soloing, chart reading, etc. And since I started on upright bass classically I can't imagine the reading will be that bad.
  16. My only advice is this: when you think you've got it right, leave it alone for while; don't keep practising it to death. Best of luck, from what I've heard, Berklee sounds like it will be a blast.
  17. College is not the place to have your first lesson.
    • Are you taking lessons?
    • Do you have letters of reference?
    • Do you read notes and charts?
    • Have you taken theory?
    • Are you or have you been a member of your HS music department?
    • Do you play with other musicians in bands or church?
    • What are you auditioning for… a degree in performance?
    • How are your keyboard skills?
    • Very important: do you have a cosigner for your potential loans?

    Any college/university music school will ask you these questions at an audition because they certainly don’t want a kid to hang around for a year or two, have a great time, accumulate tens of thousands in debt, and then quit…right??
  18. tjnkoo


    Apr 19, 2011
    Metro Atlanta
    I can answer yes to everything on your list with a maybe to performance. I'm considering education. I appreciate the tips though, thank you! Audition in less than 12 hours!!
  19. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Contemporary, riff-based, playing doesn't tell me much about your sense of musicianship, especially when the timing is questionable, and there's so little in the way of dynamics or feeling; I'd rather hear you make one of Bach's Cello Suites come to life than listen to a panoply of techniques, such as string bends, harmonics, and slapping.

    Of course, I'm an old fart. ;)
  20. Coreythebassman

    Coreythebassman Supporting Member

    Dec 5, 2010
    Coming from a current student, you're probably better off with a standard if you're into jazz or a more groove oriented funk tune. Like everyone else said, they are looking for pocket if you're playing contemporary... Also, don't forget about you're sight reading and Improvisation :)....Good luck man