This week’s Contrabass Conversations episode features an interview with Suzuki Bass School pioneer, pedagogue, and teacher trainer Virginia Dixon. Virginia shares her years of experience performing and teaching the double bass, highlights unique aspects of the Suzuki bass method, and offers advice for those interested in pursuing a career as a double bass teacher.
We also feature music from electric bassist Ben Torrey on this episode. Ben specializes in performing classical music on the electric bass. Check out his video tutorials, downloadable tracks, and more at www.bentorrey.com:2112/blog.
Stan Haskins has a wonderful multi-part feature on Virginia’s teaching activities and the Suzuki Bass Program on his blog Glued to the String. Follow any of the links below to learn more about Virginia:
Interview with Virginia Dixon
How I became involved with the Suzuki Bass Program
Resources for Suzuki Bass Teachers and Students
How to Become a Suzuki Bass Instructor
Materials for Beginning Suzuki Bass Students and Teachers
About Virginia Dixon (from Stan Haskins):
Virginia Dixon teaches double bass at Wheaton and Elmhurst Colleges and the Suzuki School of Elgin as well as in her home studio. Summers find her teaching at Suzuki institutes which this year included Beaver Creek, CO, New Orleans, and Stevens Point, WI. A former Board Member of the International Society of Bassists, she still edits their journal’s Child’s Play Column. In 2005, she received the ISB Special Achievement Award as their Young Bassist Ambassador. As a member of the Suzuki Bass Committee she is collaborating on creating materials for the Suzuki Bass Method and is one of two Teacher Trainers for the Suzuki Association of the Americas actively training teachers from the United States and abroad. She holds two performance degrees from Indiana University and has studied with Julius Levine, Murray Grodner, and Georg Hortnagel. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States as well as Europe and Japan.
In her spare time she loves to travel the world with her husband Mark Harbold and is a student of Japanese and Hindi. She is also an avid camper and hiker.
About Ben Torrey:
By way of background, I was formerly a professionally aspiring musician. I studied at New England Conservatory in the dual-degree program with Tufts from ‘91 to ‘94. In 1997, after what I thought were some career setbacks, I decided to get a day job. I ended up pretty much not playing bass at all until late 2004, when I started to notice how much I missed it. I worked through the great exercises in the Artist’s Way book and started on my “artistic recovery” in 2006. Thanks also to Barry Green’s great reminder that “amateur” means one that does something for the love of it, I’m now happy to call myself an “amateur”–meaning I play just for the love of playing without any professional aspirations. (Amateur, by the way, is a word that used to make me cringe!)
Now, with the help of the Artist’s Way, The Listening Book, the second Artist Way book Walking In This World, and the Inner Game of Music, music is again an active part of my life. I’m playing every day, most days about two hours, usually between 4AM and 6AM before going to work. I’m still a long way from playing how I know I’m capable of, and I sure did lose a lot of skill during my “IT ramp up years”, but I’m confident if I continue to apply myself the results will start to show soon.
visit Ben online at www.bentorrey.com:2112/blog
Sor Etude #4
Bach Prelude in C Minor
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Release Date: 12/10/07
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