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What to do when no teacher is available?

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Mikey3, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. Mikey3


    Aug 8, 2007
    I have been wanting to learn DB for quite some time now, I contacted the local conservatory, and local symphony to try and find a teacher. The problem is that there are none in our city. There are two bass players, both self taught, and none of which can teach from what I have been told by them. The next closest city is 3 hours away, and we are about 5 hrs drive from anywhere major that would have a bass teacher. So, I want to learn but my options are a little down. I really want lessons to learn properly, but not really sure where I can start. I have picked up simandl book 1, and ray browns bass method to try and help me along the way, as well as trying to look at some videos online. However, I was curious if there was anywhere where I could take some online lessons via a webcam so I could have that 1 on 1 with the teacher or something similar as an alternative to having one?

    Any other suggestions?
  2. wayne holmes

    wayne holmes Banned

    Nov 12, 2008
    Milan, TN
    Proprietor, Holmes Bass Viol Shop
    You should be able to find a teacher who would be willing to give you a long lesson once a month. It is not uncommon to have to go a distance for lessons.
  3. Keep searching for a teacher. I started learning the upright 6 years ago and had/have the same situation with a lack of upright bass teachers in my area. I found Rufus Reid's book and video, "The Evolving Bassist", to be quite helpful. Good luck!
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    What city do you live in? Fill out your profile. Guys here might be able to help.
  5. jallenbass

    jallenbass Supporting Member Commercial User

    May 17, 2005
    Bend, Oregon
    With the advent of Skype you might be able to find a teacher who could teach you via your webcam. I know that there are some violin teachers doing that.
  6. Mikey3


    Aug 8, 2007
    Profile is now filled out, and I was hoping I could probably find something along the webcam line as that might be my best bet, but as of thus far not really sure if anyone is doing it, or how well it would work. I would imagine it wouldnt be too bad with a good connection, a nice mic, and a decent cam.
  7. tonequixote

    tonequixote Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    Todd Coolman offers lessons via webcam last I checked.

    This is an area that I believe is ripe for educators to expand upon. Why it hasn't been developed is beyond me. Perhaps others in the teaching realm will pipe in and let me know why there is such a void not being filled ?
  8. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Hrm... yeah those self taught guys don't sound so good. Evolving Bassist would be a good resource. Youtube is strewn with horrible self-taught guys on DB. Stay away from anything that is part of Expert Village!!!! That stuff is all crap with terrible technique.

    At minimum, even if you can't take regular lessons, I would just make that 3hr trek at least once. It's critical to get started with proper technique. Come with a video camera if you have to for the lesson.

    Once you have an hour or so with a decent teacher, teaching yourself for the other part is going to be alot easier and beneficial.
  9. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Until they develop a technology where someone can reach through the monitor screen and either take the bass out of my hands or put their hands on me (which may have more profitable applications than teaching music) web based "distance" teaching is still at a disadvantage. Maybe not as bad as a book or static video, but it's STILL not a living breathing human in the same room with you.

    If you have no other choices, then you do what you can. If i was stuck in a hut in Antarctica for example. But our Erstwhile Ingenue has other options -travel OR (and my recommendation) it sounds like the local symphony is one of those that hires musicians "per performance" (they do that in Augusta where I'm from, the principals live locally and paid salary, but the section players tend to be folks from outside the community and are paid per performance), so even if those bassists don't LIVE in your area, they are in your area for rehearsals and performances, right. The lightest season I ever heard about was 28 performances, so they should be in your area at least every couple of weeks. You could pick up lessons then.
  10. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    Do you know of anyone teaching using a room on CamFrog? With fast connections the latency is hard to detect.

    I also get negligible latency using Webex & a phone line for business conference calls.
  11. Mikey3


    Aug 8, 2007
    Ed, as far as I am aware, they do no hire any musicians from out of town, there are two local bass players that play with them. Both of which are self taught, none of which are able to give lessons, I tried to go that route, and it unfortunately was a no go.
  12. dar512


    Mar 25, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Get a passport, then check out the following:

    Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra

    Cheboygan, MI is about an hour away. Something there?
  13. Mikey3


    Aug 8, 2007
    dar512, I will look into that, thanks!
  14. If it turns out that there is no way you can get an in-person teacher, and no way you can find one who teaches via webcam or Skype, you might try--

    An unsual book by Dan Pliskow, a Detroit pro and longtime teacher, called "23 Bass Lessons at Home." He tries to make you feel like you're in his home studio taking lessons from him. He uses other books in the process, including Simandl, his own little book of bass lines to standards ("Jazz Bass Lines"), and even an Aebersold play-along. It really does feel like I'm taking lessons from him, despite the fact that I have no real feedback. But he also says that he will talk with you and answer your questions via email or telephone, which he has done with me. So, maybe these days he'd try Skype, too, . . . you could ask.

    For videos, there's Todd Phillips, Ed Friedland, and Rufus Reid. Phillips' two DVDs start with serious fundamentals like position and posture and he does a lot with the left hand. Friedland's DVD is less basic, but he does do a lot of basic stuff with the right hand and gives tips on working with other musicians. Reid's DVD is more philosophical and goes into writing bass lines and working with other musicians also.

    For bass lines, you'll want Ed Fuqua's "Walking Bassics," Todd Coolman's "The Bottom Line," and Mike Downes's "The Jazz Bass Line Book," and there are others.

    Don't know how much music theory and jazz theory you have but there are certainly a lot of books out there on those topics. And if you ever want to know about a particular Aebersold or Leonard play-along, just ask me because I probably own it.

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