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  • In the Studio: Part 3 – Aural Communication

    In the Studio: Part 3 – Aural Communication

    Today, we continue where we left off in this “In the Studio” column series. Be sure to check out part one and two of this series. Mixes In my experience, (unless you are all in the same room and not using headphones) it is extremely beneficial for each musician in the studio have their own... »

  • In the Studio: Part 2 – Setting the Stage for a Good Performance

    In the Studio: Part 2 – Setting the Stage for a Good Performance

    Last time we focused on the importance of being prepared before we enter the studio with our projects. Today, let’s talk about setting the stage for a good performance after we walk into the studio. Communication Communication between musicians is an important aspect in obtaining a quality performance, and thereby a more exciting and pleasing... »

  • In the Studio: Part 1 – Preparation

    In the Studio: Part 1 – Preparation

    Recently I’ve had the good fortune to take several trips into the recording studio, each situation was entirely different from the last. Each session, or group of sessions, highlighted in my mind different features necessary for an efficient, pleasant and successful session. Unless you are doing both the performing and the engineering, (something I advise... »

  • Improving Clarity: Left Hand/Right Hand Coordination

    Improving Clarity: Left Hand/Right Hand Coordination

    There are several reasons why a passage may sound sloppy. One of the more prevalent ones, however, is incorrect coordination between the two hands during passages of separate (i.e. not slurred) notes. For such passages, the fingers must completely stop the string before the right hand, or bow, articulates. While studying violin pedagogy with Mimi... »

  • Preparing for College Auditions

    Preparing for College Auditions

    As someone who has taught at the University/Conservatory level for a number of years, I get many questions regarding undergraduate music school auditions. Some questions are specific to my school, but many are general requests for advice. As I am currently deep into audition season, I thought I would summarize some of my more common... »

  • Left Hand Thumb: Pressure

    Left Hand Thumb: Pressure

    Note: For Left Hand Thumb positioning, check out the previous installment. When there is excess tension in the hands, the source is often improper use of the thumb and its corresponding muscles. The thumbs of both hands, just like all the fingers, should use minimum effort and pressure to achieve any particular technical goal. Pressure... »

  • Left Hand Thumb: Position

    Left Hand Thumb: Position

    For all instrumentalists, excess tension should be a source of concern. We should work to eliminate it as much as possible. For string players, and especially bassists, excess tension can not only lead to technical and musical inaccuracies, but also to physical discomfort and injury. Sometimes these injuries can be resolved or worked around, other... »

  • Dr. D’s Guide to Improving Your Walking Bass Lines

    Dr. D’s Guide to Improving Your Walking Bass Lines

    I regularly see students who are unhappy with their walking bass lines. Perhaps they don’t like how their lines lead (or don’t lead) from chord to chord. Perhaps they find themselves falling into predictable patterns over and over again. Perhaps their range is limited. Perhaps they just don’t find their lines satisfying. All of this... »

  • Pacing Your Solos: A Guide to Improvisation

    Pacing Your Solos: A Guide to Improvisation

    It is not uncommon for students of improvisation to approach their practice without a real plan. They simply start trying to improvise a solo, without really focusing on When, How or What to play, hoping things will simply get better over time. I was certainly guilty of this. It’s one reason I developed my expandable... »

  • Consistent Weight and Legato Bowing

    Consistent Weight and Legato Bowing

    One of the most common deficiencies bass players have when using the bow is an inconsistency of tone in various parts of the bow. There may be times when such inconsistency is musically desirable, but it should always happen “on purpose” and not merely as a result of a lack of bow control. For example... »