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

Study with Ira Gold at Peabody Bass Works this July!

The deadline of May 15 for studying at Peabody Bass Works is fast approaching.  Taking place in late July, this event is designed for bassists of all ages and levels.  This is a great opportunity to work with National Symphony double bassist and Peabody Institute faculty member Ira Gold.   We recently featured Ira on the podcast talking about this camp as well as many other topics.

Here’s the complete faculty list:

Andrea Beyer – MusAid, New World Symphony
Matthew Boggs – Howard County Public Schools
Brittany Bowen – Kennedy Krieger Institute
Paul DeNola – National Symphony
Barbara Fitzgerald – Main Street Music Studio Fairfax
Ira Gold – National Symphony, Peabody Preparatory
Alec Hiller – Peabody Preparatory
Yoshi Horiguchi – BSO Orchkids
Paul Johnson – Peabody Institute
Kim Parillo – Washington Adventist University
Colin O’Bryan – Howard County Public Schools
Tracy Rowell – Oberlin Conservatory
Wesley Thompson – Baltimore County Public Schools, Peabody Preparatory
Jeffrey Weisner – National Symphony, Peabody Preparatory
David Young – LA Opera

Details about the camp from Peabody Bass Works Executive Director Wesley Thompson follow:

Peabody Bass Works

Peabody Bass Works is very excited to announce a unique opportunity for young bass players! We are delighted to welcome bassists of all ages, levels, and abilities to attend this extraordinary program that provides bass students with unique learning, community and performance opportunities on the grounds of Baltimore’s historic Peabody Institute. Now in its fifth year, Peabody Bass Works 2016 will present a diverse array of offerings for attendees in both the Four- and Seven-Day Divisions. All applicants who have taken at least one year of experience will be automatically accepted to either division.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in bass orchestra, chamber music, semi-private lessons, recitals, and more. A range of repertoire and curriculum ensures that students of all ability levels will both have fun and be challenged. Older students who are either already doing pre-professional work or who are considering musical careers will benefit from studio-based private lessons with a PBW staff member, specialized classes with symphony and college faculty as well as seminars and presentations on such topics as practicing, auditions, and careers in music. The week’s activities will culminate on the final afternoon with a thrilling concert that will feature all participants.

Bass Works welcomes students from across the country with one of the only partnerships with a local Double Bass shop providing a wide variety of hybrid and fully carved rental instruments. Don’t let distance prevent you from taking part in this wonderful opportunity.

Bass players of any experience level should apply and seek more information at this website:

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

Update: I now have a dedicated summer camps page for bassists–check it out!summer music camps for bassists


A 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.