As 2006 draws to a close I would like to highlight the more significant posts made this year on the Bass Blog. I started this blog a little less than a year ago and for the first six months basically just used it as a student management tool. The content management system that a blog provides is actually a great way to organize student resources, schedules, assignments, and the like, and the site proved to be quite useful for that purpose. At some point I will write a post about some of the lessons learned and useful methods I have found for setting up and maintaining a student resources blog. As time goes on I am sure that even more teachers (both music and non-music) will begin to use a blogging CMS in their classroom or studio.
About six months ago I decided to actually start blogging on my blog. I had no interest in doing this when I set it up a year ago–the CMS simply appealed to me as a way of managing student resources. Writing has always been something I have enjoyed (I had some of my writing published in the past), but professional freelancing had pretty much killed my interest in doing any writing (the pressure to practice supercedes the desire for any other creative endeavor for me).
The combination of massive unemployment, deciding to quit full-time freelancing and teaching, and the offer from Dale Cruse to contribute posts for his great former bass blog BIG BOTTOM got me thinking about doing some real writing. I redesigned my blog in July and started putting out some longer material.
Since that time I have tried to write at least one longer form work (story/essay/advice/how-to) per week. The more I wrote the more I remembered what I used to like about writing. For me it is a creative outlet that playing (or at least the kind of playing I am doing in my freelance life) cannot replicate, and I plan on doing even more writing in the future. An excerpt from my San Jose Symphony audition story is being published in the next issue of the Double Bassist, and I am in the process of submitting some more writing to various publications.
Bloggers talk about “linkers” and “thinkers”, and to me the best blogs combine both of these styles. I try to point people to interesting sites, events, resources, and the like while also maintaining a consistent output of my own original content.
Here is a list of some of my better “thinker” posts for this year:
Crazy Gig Stories
Massive Musical Disaster in the Nutcracker Pit (there is a great comment on this post relating a similar experience)
I Fly Plane!
Grant Park Symphony Audition Story
Symphony on the Swamp
Freelancing + Snow = Pain
Auditioning is a Rotten Pastime (San Jose Symphony Audition story)
Careful What You Bring Into an Audition
You Play Solo… I Dance!
Extreme Gigging – All Night Drives
Double Bass Advice and Essays
Double Bass Orchestral Audition Lists – A Survey
Rabbath Versus Simandl – A Comparative Study
Tackling the Amati Bass – Part I
Tackling the Amati Bass – Part II
Buying a Bass – Part I
Buying a Bass – Part II
Reaching the Low Notes
Thoughts of Double Bass Strings
Sorting out Double Bass Gig Bags