Sound Innovations – Just The Bass-ics

by Bob Phillips, Lead author of SI for Strings

As a bass player, I have strong opinions on starting and retaining bass players in the school orchestra. Personally I like to see all four instruments taught the first year of instruction but each situation is different. Sound Innovations is based on the premise that each situation is unique and that you, as the teacher, can make the best choices for your students.

Here are some suggestions for helping your young bass players achieve success:

  1. Be sure the instrument is the correct size for the student. You wouldn’t let your violinist play an instrument that was too large so don’t let the bass players!  Small size instruments could be a project for your orchestra boosters. (click here for more fundraising tips and resources)
  2. The instruments should be in good playing condition. This will not only impact the ability to produce a sound but also how the student feels about their instrument and how well they care for it. Check the following items:
    1. Are the strings the correct height?
    2. How long ago were the strings changed?
    3. Are there cracks and scratches that need to be fixed?
    4. Does the bow need to be re-haired?
  3. If you aren’t able to demonstrate on the bass, use the Sound Innovations DVD! Other options are to invite local private teachers or university teachers to visit your classroom and work with the bass players. Bass players tend to be a bit evangelical so they will most likely respond enthusiastically!
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