Encouraging to play Bass

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Despot, Feb 25, 2010.

  1. Despot

    Despot Member

    Hi All,

    In our band & youth band we suffer from an ongoing shortage of bass players.

    It's not always easy to get young players (sometimes because of their parents) to play the larger instruments. Do other bands have this problem, and if so, have you suggestions as to how to encourage players in that direction?
  2. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Yep, our band is made up of players taught by our learners and junior band system and we struggle to get bass players through. Luckly for us our bass section are a bit older and have been together as a section for a few years. My partner in crime on Eb is about 15 and has been on Eb for about 3 years I think. I spotted him straight away as a good bass player when he was on horn. Its a case of spotting there potential and persuading them to join the best section in the band. I'm not sure but I don't think we have any up and coming bass player in our junior bands and it will continue to be a problem for us because of our sytem of teaching and the age of when they start.
  3. Eb master

    Eb master Member

    All you need to do is tell the young lads the truth about cornets - that they are a girls instrument and they should be playing a mans instrument such as a bass.
  4. Eb_Alex

    Eb_Alex Member

    use the same technique that was used on me, my music teacher told me that my teeth were developing in a specific way and I needed to play on a bigger mouthpiece, so moved me up through trumpet, horn, bari, bass! In hindsight that was probably a load of tosh, I have wonderful teeth :D but I am still playing bass 17yrs on!!
  5. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    I suppose part of the problem is that when training players, everyone wants an interesting part to play. But a lot of junior band writing is pretty unimaginative for basses, and the perception is that little Johnny/Janie won't learn much if s/he's just playing pom-pom-pom-pom all the time - or that s/he'll quickly get bored of banding altogether.

    The reality of course is that there are a number of writers who take a much more imaginative approach to bass writing - even in simple arrangements. Some of Stuart Johnson's pieces, which (amongst others) I cut my teeth on, had some fun stuff in them, that was always just that little bit difficult to play, but rewarding to get right. The odd march or Paso Doble with a bass solo in it usually helps too.

    I got put on Eb bass because I couldn't play above a middle F on a cornet (and I still can't) but I could get a pedal C out of a tenor horn. Not a difficult process of deduction....

    Thinks...I bet the price tags of Tubas as opposed to Cornets are a contributing factor too...
  6. Tubamutha

    Tubamutha Member

    My son has been playing Bb Bass to help out in our band as we didn't have one (he is officially the bands percussionist). I dont mind him doing it as long as he understands that we will (most likely) never be able to afford to buy him a Bass, and that I would rather him not do any marches with it as he is only 13, fairly slim and still growing, and I do worry about his back (the Eb has caused me problems with my back due to marches and I haven't been playing it for a year yet).

    But considering he is asthmatic its amazing the notes that he manages to get out of that thing!

    I would imagine Eb would be more popular - though if youngsters are having lessons at school there is always the problem of how they will transport it there and back - not a pleasant job, even with a wheelie case!
  7. flugelgal

    flugelgal Active Member

    Off topic, sorry - I've found that my asthma is dramatically improved when I'm playing regularly, so it's a good thing to encourage your son to keep this up!

    Would a smaller marching bass be easier for this? Or would it cause problems with filling a bigger one on the stage? It would be ideal really if the school had an instrument in situ that could be played by bringing one's own mouthpiece. Yes, it's nice to play on your own instrument, but people do this with pianos all the time!

    I think our band starts all the youngsters on cornets and then moves them onto bigger instruments as they seem capable. I agree that parents might find the idea of transporting a bass around (plus potential expense of having to purchase one) off-putting, it's hard to get around that - I guess identify those with larger cars and see if those youngsters are capable of playing the bigger instruments?

    Another way to motivate them might be to get in a star guest bass player to play some solos in a concert with the band, so that potential players can hear how amazing the instrument can sound when played well, and might say "OHHHH I really want to play that one!".
  8. matt_BBb_bass

    matt_BBb_bass Member

    Its a hard thing getting a younger person to bass! I went onto BBb when i was... 13! And that was only because i wanted to play "the big one"! Been on bass ever since even though since Jan this yr iv moved to Eb. I know in some bands they hold an open rehersel where kids come into the bandroom look around the instrument and get players of the senior band to play them in a short concert... Works well! But there really is a lack of bass players out there... Shame =(
  9. iancwilx

    iancwilx Well-Known Member

    I was a very mediocre/poor 14 year old horn player.

    After practice one night the MD called me over and said "Look lad, it's either that" (pointing at an EEb Bass) "or that" (pointing at the door).

    He did me a great service, I took to bass instantly and have just loved playing it ever since.

    - Mr Wilx
  10. Tubamutha

    Tubamutha Member

    NOT A GOOD IDEA - our band did this with Brett Baker and my sone persevered by pestering for over six months until he started to get trombone lessons in January! And is now looking for his own trom to purchase (wild horses cannot drag him away from practising....) - thank you Brett for ensuring all 'holiday money' is converted into 'trombone associated expenses' the next several years!

    No - I am of course joking as Brett is one of the nicest professional musicians I have ever met, and this very humble, pleasant (even to younger players) attitude together with s*** hot playing and passion for music are what really revved my Son up......most kids listen to rap - he has Brett on blaring from his room! :clap:

    AEHOWGATE Member

    A few manufacturers make compact basses, Rosetti Series 5 are super, they are modelled on the besson prototype, but wth a large bore for around £650. this type of bass is ideal as it is not much bigger than a euph.
  12. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    my Junior band had a small single Eb Bass that I started on at 15 years of age. I progressed to the larger EEb later on. Small Bass's are out there and I would imagine most would start on Eb and progress as they grew. mind I stuck with EEb thats big enough for me these days.
  13. Andy Cooper

    Andy Cooper Member

    I can see it from a parents perspective as Chris, our eldest went onto Eb from Euph at the age of 11. For 6 years or so till he could drive we ferried it about for rehersals with Rochdale Youth and the other bands he played with - transport becomes a problem, when buying a new car i was in the habit of taking the empty case to see how easy we could get it in - this became an overiding factor in choosing a car!! Of course buying him his own instrument was a non starter. It also meant pick ups from school as its not the sort of thing you can get on a bus, or walk home with, so band rather dominated our lives!

    After they left for Uni / jobs etc i found i missed lumping it about so much, I ended up in the bass seat myself!
  14. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    I did the bus thing back in the 70's. carried that Bass to the Bus stop to Band practice and sunday meetings being Salvation Army Band. and carried it home again afterwards. I was in the Band at Sparkhill in Birmingham and also for a time the Divisional Youth Band in Birminham and so carried it through the endless subways to get to and from Band practice. Maybe it was the era I don't know but I look back and often wish I'd had more encouragement with transortation. I had no wheels on my tuba case and had to carry it. It did have 2 handles so occasionally a mate would walk with me and help carry it. I was 15 when I started to play Eb Bass and I was almost 20 when I eventually got a car licence. before that baritone didn't seem so bad on the bus.
  15. Tuba Diva

    Tuba Diva New Member

    ..I volunteered in our school band as a joke & our mysogynist music teacher told me not to be so stupid - girls didn't play the tuba!

    That was the red rag to the bull & I have played Eb ever since.

    I remember fondly the bus journeys to and from school. I don't know how to attract younger members, except to point out that we are always the most talented, attractive and popular members of the band :D
  16. Tubamutha

    Tubamutha Member

    I must say I went along to the Yorkshire Areas for a looksee and it was most interesting playing 'spot the female Bass player' there are not very many of us around - one of the fourth section bands had a really stunning beauty on Eb (she had long dark hair) - there were others so I am not insulting anyone! It's just that she stood out as you dont see many like that (I am covered in rather minging spots at the moment - v run down. Am considering adding fake moustache at weekend and just pretending to be a fella).

    I would be most impressed if I found an all female Bass section!
  17. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Tuba players aren't taught they're born.... :)
  18. Toxophile

    Toxophile Member

    I had to drag my bass all the way to Rotherham every month, get on a train to Leeds and then drag it up to the College of Music for Yorkshire Schools Band rehearsals. That was before they came with wheels and we improvised with a modified golf cart. I wouldn't change a single minute of it :-O
  19. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    A BBb is, in my opinion, the Hardest instrument in the band to play properly. Filling a BBb is only the first problem. I have never managed it to my satisfaction, even though I have olayed low end order instruments most of my life. BUT started on Cornet as I guess 99% do in the SA.
  20. MrB

    MrB New Member

    I know it's slightly off the track but.....

    Having being conned to start learning BBb in out development band (Wharfe Brass), I was wondering if anyone has any general advice on playing this lovely instrument.

    Having played Bass Trombone for the last 20 years, the first challenge I have is learning the notes of treble clef (when i played tenor trom i always mentally converted them). That and working out which valve combination etc..

    Advice anyone?

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