Professor Meyer’s advice to those about to take up the double bass #4

Several years have elapsed during which time you have been studying and practicing assiduously, and one day your teacher tells that you are now ready for an audition.  Are you really?  Maybe you have a fine technique but have you spent much time learning the orchestral repertoire?  You can buy many books of orchestral excerpts and you should work your way right through them particularly Richard Strauss, Wagner , Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms etc. Also it is a good thing to have a scrap book to jot down any difficult passages you come across, because you will certainly be given some sight reading.

Perhaps one day you will notice an ad for a bass player in a magazine or hear it by word of mouth.  If you decide to try for it arrive early so that you can have a warm up. Enter the room with a confident, pleasant air, try to be clear and articulate in answering any questions

At some auditions you may feel that they are trying to intimidate you, but as a rule most people are pleasant and understanding.

Sometimes there are so many applicants, all of a high standard, that I wonder if it wouldn’t be a bad idea to choose them as some people choose  horses in a race, by sticking a pin randomly in the list.

Whatever you do, don’t be too disappointed if you don’t get the job, don’t forget that it has been good experience and you may be luckier next time. But, keep trying and if you really have worked hard, and also have the talent then eventually you will succeed.  Good luck!

Published in: on March 31, 2008 at 9:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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Professor Meyer’s advice to those about to take up the double bass: Choosing a Teacher #3

Many factors will influence your decision in finding a teacher.  If you are flush with money, then you might consider enrolling at a famous university or Conservatory anywhere in the world.  Of course, you will have to go through a competitive entrance exam and only a fraction of applicants will be chosen.  If money is a big factor, and you haven’t the necessary qualifications to enter a university or conservatory then your only route is to obtain private tuition.   If you are living in a large city probably you will have a choice of teachers.  If he or she is a principal of a big orchestra, that is a big plus, but I do urge you to go to a concert to see them in action and whether you like their style of playing.  Believe me, style is a big thing, a good style of playing increases your earning power.

If there is a youth orchestra in your neighbourhood join it.  They usually have professional coaches who give invaluable advice, and you will also get to know some of the orchestral repertoire.   There are  good amateur societies in most big cities.where you can gain experience.

If you are diligent with your studies and practice hard this probably will be noted by your teacher and you may be offered the odd date or two.

But how do you keep the wolf from the door when you are studying?  I know of some students who obtained either a plumber’s ticket or an electrical ticket, becoming members of the new artisan aristocracy and being able to pick and choose from any free lance dates that came their way, and of course, there are the usual “Joe” jobs out there.

Published in: on March 31, 2008 at 9:14 am  Leave a Comment  
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