The 2009 International Society of Bassists convention will be held June 8-13 at Penn State. These biannual conventions are an absolute blast, with bassists from all across the globe gathering together to hear great performances, check out new gear, observe and participate in master classes, and much more.
As a member of the ISB Board of Directors, I’ll certainly be there, and I’ll also be live blogging the event, with photos, audio, and video updates as well as news about what’s happening day by day. If you can’t make it to the convention you’ll at least be able to keep up this way, but here are five reasons why you should make every effort to attend the actual event:
1. Community – This may sound cheesy, but it’s true–bass players really are like one big giant family. Can you imagine violinists getting together for a convention like bass players do? Violinists don’t want to hanf out with other violinists! They’d be backstabbing each other and making snide comments about everybody until the cows come home. Bassists like being around bassists. We like checking out gear (basses, bows, strings, rosin, etc.), hearing each other play, and just spending some quality time geeking out with the community.
2. Helps you to pick colleges – For bass players deciding where to attend college, ISB conventions are a wickedly effective way to meet teachers from various colleges. A huge percentage of college bass professors are members of the ISB, and they’re likely to be at this event representing their schools. Rather than driving all over the country checking out good bass schools, why not just come to this event? You can meet tons of great bass teachers, hear them play, and learn more about their programs of study.
3. Hearing great performances – Where else can you hear such a concentration of fabulous players from diverse styles of playing. From solo bassists like Renaud Garcia-Fons and François Rabbath to jazz masters like Rufus Reid and orchestra powerhouse players like Hal Robinson, the ISB convention’s got it all.
4. Masterclasses and clinics – Socializing with other bassists, checking out bass studio teachers, and listening to awesome guests is great, but there are also tons of learning opportunities for you at an ISB convention. Getting a chance to play in a master class is awesome, but you can get a lot out of simply attending one as an audience member, and there are a bunch of clinics covering different topics, so chances to broaden your horizons abound.
5. Checking out new gear – These conventions are bass geek heaven (in a good way!). With an instrument building competition and string, music, bow, and accessories retailers, there is more cool bass stuff than you could possibly absorb in a week. This is the perfect opportunity to check out some new strings, rosin, extensions, pickups, amps, stools, endpins, or any other accessory you can imagine. Go nuts–you’ll learn a lot about what people are experimenting with, and you might find something that works fabulously for you.