Re: University

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Posted by Rich Laird on October 31, 2000 at 12:48:38:

In Reply to: Re: University posted by Reed on October 30, 2000 at 21:59:47:

: : I'm interested into going into music in university and I play the stand-up.
: : I was wondering if anyone could tell me the level of playing a university
: : is looking for when applying and if they could give me the name or a piece
: : that would be the level required.
: : Thanks

: A little more information would be helpful in suggesting a piece. Are you going for Classical or Jazz? Performance or Education? How long have you been playing?
: What University are you auditioning for? Any way, here are some general reqirements for most Universities-
: Classical
: Scales and arpeggios: E Major (2 or 3 octaves); G minor (harmonic) (2 or 3 octaves). (But you should know all of them)
: Two contrasting solos demonstrating your technique and musicianship.
: (I did the Vivaldi Sonata in A and Apres'un Reve by Faure')
: Two orchestral excerpts and one étude of your choice.
: (I did the Scherzo from Beethoven 5 and The Finale from Shostakovitch 5 and a
: Simandl Etude)

: Jazz Bass or Jazz Upright

: Swing Four - with a walking bass line (5 minutes - most important).
: Latin - Samba, Bossa, or Afro-Cuban (3 minutes).
: Rock Feel - anything from funk to Corea, etc. (3 minutes).
: A Legitimate Piece - selections from Baroque or Classical literature. Need not be a piece composed solely for bass; may be an étude (3 minutes).
: We will be looking especially for a solid time feel and sound bass lines. State the theme in any or all of the first three categories. In addition, you must solo on all of them. The first three selections should be with drums, guitar and/or piano; additional instruments are acceptable as are synthesized or pre-recorded backgrounds.

It's been a number of years....but I taught bass at a couple of Universities (and other schools) and I would say Reed seems to have it about right. I would think that - for freshman admittance - most schools are not going to be that fussy about the exact repitoire you play. But a mixture of styles is a really good idea because it shows that you have a sense of musicality in approaching different kinds of music.

One mistake a lot people make in these kinds of situations is playing music that is overly-difficult for your level - and then botching it all up during the audition. It's better to stick to things that you can play really well and feel confident about. Don't try to impress people with something really flashy and "pyro-technical". The faculty-types who will be listening to you will be listening for really accurate intonation, rhythm, consistent sound, control, phrasing, articulation, etc. Save that Bottesini Concerto for your Senior Recital!

The single biggest factor in your college bass-playing experience is going to be the individual who becomes your applied bass teacher. If I had it to do all over again, I would be learning as much as I possibly could about who the bass teachers are in the schools you are looking at, what kinds of accomplishments they have behind them, and what kind of reputation and success they have as a teacher. The best players aren't necessarily the best teachers because they may not explain things well, may not have the patience it takes to be a really good teacher, or may just have a crappy attitude.

Then I would want to meet each of them and try to get some sense of what they are like as human beings that I could relate to and learn from. At some schools, the bass instructor would be the one you would audition for - but possibly not.

My recollection from being a performance major was that a lot of my fellow students were attending our school purely because there was someone on the faculty who had a major reputation as a player and/or teacher in their instrument. Sometimes this was the only factor in selecting that particular school. As far as the performance majors go, I really think the students who did that were the ones that got the most from the whole experience.

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