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  • Bass Strings: Tips for Finding the Right Sound

    Bass Strings: Tips for Finding the Right Sound

    This week’s column comes thanks to a question from Maria G. Maria asks: I’m a pretty new player, but I’m not happy with my upright bass strings. I know I need something different, but there are so many different kinds of strings out there I don’t know where to start. They are also expensive (!)... »

  • Audition and Performance Preparation: Recording Yourself

    Audition and Performance Preparation: Recording Yourself

    One very enlightening way to prepare for an audition or performance is to record yourself prior stepping on the stage, or into the audition room. Expensive equipment is not required to gain benefit from recording yourself. Although better recording equipment means you can listen back in greater detail, the fact is that free recording software... »

  • Bass Technique: Shifting and the Feeling of Lightness

    Bass Technique: Shifting and the Feeling of Lightness

    Accurate shifting is extremely important on an upright bass. It may even be the one technique we use the most often. Most other string instruments can play a few two-octave scales without shifting, while we can play a grand total of zero, even if we “pivot.” Despite how often we must execute flawless shift, for... »

  • Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

    Better Soloing: An Introduction to Key Center Improvising

    There are many methods we can use to come upon satisfying note choices when improvising over a predetermined set of chord changes (i.e. a tune). One common way to approach note choice is using chord/scale theory, equating every chord to a scale. For example: A minor 7 = A dorian. It’s this approach that has... »

  • 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... »