I’m a teacher. You likely are as well. This is a topic we’ve covered at great depth on this blog.

CBC 206: Auditioning for Music Schools

Trevor Jones and Jason Heath talk music school options at the 2016 Chicago Bass Festival

Trevor Jones and Jason Heath talk music school options at the 2016 Chicago Bass Festival

Trevor Jones and I have done joint clinics in the past, but this is the first one since restarting the podcast, and I figured that it would make sense to put it out this week since we just released our conversation a few days ago.

This talk was held at Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall as part of the 2016 Chicago Bass Festival, which is an event put on by the Midwest Young Artists Conservatory. Michael Cameron of the University of Illinois and Allan Dennis, former double bass professor at the University of Wisconsin and the MYA executive director, were both in the audience, so you’ll hear us refer to both of them a couple of times during the talk.

I left Curtis off of my list of schools putting out successful auditions, but of course that should be at the top of the list! My mistake.

Some of the questions from the audience are kind of hard to hear, you’ll get the gist of the question as soon as Trevor and I start talking again.

We talk about Don Greene’s excellent books on auditioning—all three are highly recommended:

Summer Music Camps for Bassists – 2016 Edition 1

summer music camps for bassistsA post of mine about the benefits of doing summer music festivals was just released on Musicovation. This new site from Zach Preucil and Elizabeth Ekenberg focuses on positive news from about art music (isn’t that a great concept?). I also had a post published in December about my journey from freelancer to bass media dude.

In this post, I kept my actual recommendations for festivals rather general, and while these are all good recommendations for bassists as well as the more general music public, I thought that it would be helpful to put out a few more bass-specific recommendations.

I am 100% sure that I’m leaving out a great number of good programs from this list, so if I miss done you think that people should know about, leave a comment below or drop me a line at and let me know!

I covered the following festivals in the Musicovation post:

Cool Summer Experiences for Bassists

Here are some other festivals that bassists should definitely check out:

Ira Gold’s Summer Camps

Ira is teaching at three (!) summer camps this year: DCBass, Peabody Bass Works, and his own Orchestral Bowing Workshop, which is being coordinated by former Contrabass Conversations guest Brent Edmondson. All are different, and all are highly recommended.

Golden Gate Bass Camp

I’m thrilled to be involved with this long-running bass camp this summer. What a cool way to be welcomed to my new home of San Francisco! It will be held from July 18-22, 2016, and you’ll be hearing much more about this camp as it approaches. Camp director Richard Duke will be joined by double bass greats like former Contrabass Conversations guests DaXun Zhang, Rufus Reid, and Scott Pingel, along with many other noted bassists from diverse backgrounds.

Bradetich Master Classes

Jeff Bradetich (another former Contrabass Conversations guest) has been running his master classes for nearly 30 years. I attended one of them while in high school and it changed my life. Highly recommended.

Wabass Institute

Work with some of the best bassists in the business at this highly sought-after summer experience: Hal Robinson, Eric Larson, and former Contrabass Conversations guest Ranaan Meyer work in private lesson and master class settings with attendees. You can’t go wrong with this great program.

MasterWorks Festival

I don’t know a lot about this festival except that Lyric Opera of Chicago bassist Andy Anderson is teaching there.  But if Andy’s teaching there, you know it’ll be a great experience.

Of course, it would be hard to put out a list of summer programs that didn’t mention the incredible International Society of Bassists Convention. This event occurs in early June every other year and will be next held from June 5-10, 2017 at Ithaca College in New York. ISB President Douglas Mapp and I had a great in-depth conversation earlier this year about the benefits of attending these events. They’ll change your life if you go—make it happen in 2017 if it’s in any way possible. You’ll also get to meet me in person!

I’m sure I’ve left out countless great camps. Chime in and I’ll add them to the list.


Additional Camp Recommendations

Hi Jason,

I read your blog post about summer camps and wanted to let you know that the Amherst Early Music Festival Baroque Academy has a new double bass program this year from July 10-17. I’m excited to join the faculty for this course!

Students will participate in master classes, Baroque ensembles coached by an internationally-renowned faculty, and explore all things “early bass” in an immersion session. They will also have the opportunity to try G violone and Viennese violone, and perform in a fully staged opera production of Reinhard Keiser’s Pomona conducted by Kevin Mallon.

The program is by audition only. A “baroque” bass is not essential for the audition or the festival, but participants will need gut strings and a Baroque bow.

I hope you can add the link to your site!

Many thanks for all you do. I really enjoy it and learn every time I listen.




from Kevin Casseday:

Brevard Music Festival in North Carolina. Great seven week experience. 80 year anniversary this year.
Alum play in the great orchestras of the United States, and attend major music schools, including the Curtis Institute, Julliard School, Rice University, Cohlburn, Yale, University of Michigan, etc.

CBC 201: Ira Gold on bow strokes, musical curiosity, and practicing techniques

National Symphony bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold is back for a "round two" interview!

National Symphony bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold is back for a “round two” interview!

We’re featuring National Symphony bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold on today’s episode.  Ira was one of the very first interview guests for the podcast, and we spread it out over three episodes: 15, 18, and 43.  This “round two” interview was conducted almost a decade after the first conversation, and Ira has been incredibly active with all sorts of new projects.

In this interview, we talk about physical fitness and how it helps with all aspects of life, making the transition to standing full-time, what Ira listens for on an audition committee, wanting to make music with people who share the same musical values, how being a “curious person” opens yourself up to new experiences in playing, practicing techniques, turning practice into puzzle solving, and many other topics.
We also talked about the three summer camps at which he’ll be teaching:
You can learn more about Ira and all his activities on his website.  Enjoy!

CBC 200: Living a Fulfilling Life

Jason in Havana, Cuba just before turning 40

Jason in Havana, Cuba just before turning 40

I’m turning 40 today, the podcast just passed a million downloads, I wrote a chunky blog post that resonated with a lot of people, and I just got back from Cuba.  This is a different kind of episode where I share details on where I’ve been and where I’m headed in many areas of life.

If you haven’t read the above referenced post, check it out and you’ll find links to a lot of what I talk about in this episode.  More “regular” episodes to come later this week.

DCBass deadline is April 1st – apply now to study with Ira Gold and Paul DeNola!

I’m putting the finishing touches on an interview with National Symphony bassist and Peabody Conservatory faculty member Ira Gold.  Ira was one of our very first guests on the podcast (you can year him episodes 15, 18, and 43 of the podcast), and it was great to get a chance to catch up with him and do a “round two” interview.  Ira has been quite busy in the 10 years since I last featured him!

We talked about the three summer camps at which he’ll be teaching:

Applications are open for all of these right now.  The DCBass application deadline is April 1st, so be sure to get in your materials if you’re looking to apply.  Ira and Paul are awesome–highly recommended as a first-class summer experience.

Here are the DCBass details:

DCBass, an intense, informative, and engaging double bass workshop will take place June 12-17, 2016 at American University in Washington, D.C. Bass Faculty are Paul DeNola, National Symphony Orchestra member and faculty at American University, and Ira Gold, National Symphony Orchestra member and faculty at Peabody Conservatory. The faculty are eager to help launch your playing to the next level. Program will include private lessons, technique classes, orchestral repertoire classes, and solo masterclasses. In addition, each participant will have the opportunity to rehearse and perform a duet with one of the bass faculty. Acceptance is by recorded video audition only. Recommended ages 18 and up. Lunch will be provided. No overnight housing provided.

Application: Please email to the following information – name, address, email, current school, age, current and major teachers (last five years). Please provide a short description of your ensemble experience. There is no application fee.

Audition: no more than 10 minutes – include solo of choice and two excerpts from the standard orchestral repertoire. Tracks may be separated. Recorded video submission may be emailed directly to or upload your video to Dropbox and email us a link to view.

Application and Audition must be received by April 1, 2016

Tuition: $495 (includes lunch each day) – due by May 1, 2016
Two merit-based full tuition scholarships will be awarded.
Enrollment will be limited to ten students.
Accepted applicants will be notified before May 1, 2016.
Excerpt materials for camp study and chamber music repertoire will be available once applicants have verified his/her acceptance to DCBass. Please email for a list of housing options.

Daily Schedule
9:30 – 11:00 Group Warmup and Technique
11:15 – 12:15 Lessons/Practice
1:00 – 3:00 Orchestral Repertoire Class
3:15 – 4:15 Lessons/Practice
4:30 – 6:00 Solo Masterclass

Visit the American University Katzen Arts Center: