This past weekend we released a Contrabass Conversations episode featuring double bassist John Grillo that the major double bass excerpts requested on auditions. I strongly feel (and I know that John agrees) that this project will have a real and lasting impact on the greater double bass community for years to come. This is an easily accessible resource providing advice about and demonstrations of many of the major double bass excerpts (Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert, Mozart, Strauss, and more), and students worldwide will likely use this as a starting point when learning these excerpts.
We have also been concurrently releasing our virtual lesson series with Lyric Opera of Chicago and Chicago College of Performing Arts bass instructor Andy Anderson. This series attempts to do for general double bass classical technique what our excerpts project does for the orchestral repertoire–to act as a launching pad for student learning and promote discussion and idea sharing in the bass community.
In the interest of making these projects ever more useful and accessible to others, here’s what’s coming with both the excerpt breakdown and the virtual lessons in the next few weeks:
Orchestra Excerpt Breakdown
Now that we have released the entire 75 minute episode, it’s time to start breaking it up into excerpt-by-excerpt chunks. In addition to being able to listen to the entire project as one long show, we’ll also put out just the Beethoven 9 track and commentary, etc. With one click, folks will be able to hear one of these excerpts plus John’s advice.
Virtual Lessons with Andy Anderson
We’re doing the opposite with our virtual lesson series with Andy Anderson. After releasing the entire project in bite-size (and YouTube friendly) chunks, we will put it back together into one extended video in which you can flip from chapter to chapter easily. This video will continue to be released chapter by chapter, and when we’ve completed this process (a couple of weeks down the road), we’ll be putting it all back together and making it easy for people to access.
To me, these projects represent the best of what new media technology has to offer in the educational arena. Creating and disseminating these excerpts and lesson ensures easy worldwide access, promotes discussion, and fosters learning in the greater community, just the sort of thing that double bassists, music educators, and, in fact, the general public have been working toward since the advent of the Internet.
My hope is that these and similar projects (as well as all of our Contrabass Conversations episodes and doublebassblog.org posts) will be seen as a virtual library of resources and material for years to come for the greater community. Whether it be students looking for advice and inspiration, orchestra directors seeking to further their knowledge of the double bass and assemble material for their double bass students, private double bass teachers searching out new material for lessons, or professional double bassists continuing their professional development and involvement, I hope to fill a need with these projects–namely, scratching that difficult to pinpoint musical itch existing in all of us.
When conceiving of and working on these projects, one of my persistent goals is to create the sort of resources that I would have found exceptionally valuable when I was younger. If, with these and future projects, I can create the sort of project that a younger me would have proclaimed cool, then I have gone a long way toward meeting this goal.