DEVELOPING THE RHYTHM SECTION BASSIST

Kathleen McKeage, University of Wyoming Department of Music

 

Bass players in public school jazz programs are often recruited from other ensembles, in particular, the school orchestra. It is not unusual for students to be handed a book and an instrument and asked to figure things out for themselves. Often, they do.

 

However, many high school bassists can cover the part but seem to have difficulty taking their playing to a higher level.  They are reluctant to solo, develop new bass lines, and their articulations and fingerings lack precision. Bassists rarely play melodic lines and consequently have little familiarity with common melodic fragments; they simply have no melodic syntax from which to draw ideas. Also, most young players are comfortable with bass lines built on familiar patterns. How do you challenge them to move into soloing and expanding their repertoire of bass lines?  The following clinics are based on teaching techniques I have used over the years with beginning, high school, and college bass players. 

Equipment Basics

Beginning the Beginning Jazz Bassist

Chords, Scales and Fingering Patterns for Bass Players

Writing out bass lines

The Secret to Playing Latins (and Rock and Funk Lines) 

Working out Tunes—It All Starts with the Melody

Making the Rhythm Section Sound Better—A Bass Player’s Perspective