The Peabody Double Bass Blog continues to grow and develop as a valuable resource for the global bass community. This excellent blog, authored by Peabody double bass faculty members Jeff Weisner, John Hood, Paul Johnson, recently added jazz bassist Michael Formanek as an author. Michael recently contributed a Q&A of common questions asked by young bassists, including:
Q: What qualities do you listen for when hearing a young bass player for the first time?
A: The qualities that I listen for in a young bass player are: Time feel, Sound, Ears, Good technical foundation, Desire and Enthusiasm (Yes, you can hear that!), and a Sense of listening history, Jazz vocabulary, and context. I’m less concerned about whether the student executes everything flawlessly, but more whether or not the student has more than a superficial understanding of what it means to be a jazz bassist. I’d rather hear a solid “no-frills” approach to playing, especially in more functional playing or “comping”. Too many specific stylistic nuances which may seem hip often times alert me of things that I will need to help the student to “unlearn” before we can begin building a solid foundation as a jazz bassist. This includes various devices such as slides, pull-offs, very wide vibratos, excessive triplet fills, etc. Not that you shouldn’t use them, but be conscious not to overuse them to the extent that they obscure whatever content is being displayed. These are very personal preferences and I should also say that some other bass teachers may want to hear everything in your “trick bag”. It helps to know something about the people you’re auditioning for.
Read the complete post here.
Watching this already excellent blog continue to add value in new ways to the bass community is really exciting. To me, PBDB is a stellar example of the power of educational blogging–it’s good for students, faculty, and Peabody alike. At its best, blogging is about the open exchange of information among people of similar interests, and this blog provides this in spades.