Come join the bass studio: a note from Jeanette

Bass players are a breed apart. We lug around these big hunks of wood and endure people asking, "Don't you wish you played the piccolo?" No, I don't. What I love about the bass, is its wide range of pitch, but most importantly, the deep sound is what drew me to it. You can feel it in your bones. We're the backbone of all types of music, be it symphonic, jazz, rock, country western etc. I play all types of music (well maybe not country...) and encourage my students to do the same.

At the Preucil School, we currently have 10 students, 5 boys, 5 girls, ranging in age from 9 to 16. The school owns three basses, all being used. The smallest is a quarter size, we also have a half size and a three quarter size. (In the bass world, a 3/4 size is considered the most typical size. Unless you are taller than 6 feet, you can't handle a 7/8 or full size bass. At 5 feet 4 inches, I play a 5/8 size bass.) Reck Violin Shop and West Music are good sources for acquiring basses for rent or purchase.

Starting this fall, I will begin my first 4-year-old student. Who knew you could start children on the bass so young? Until fairly recently (the past decade or so), basses were not available in small sizes. Now we have basses as small as 1/10. But to start the really young children, we use a ? size cello and string it with electric bass strings.

With the younger students, we make up games that develop coordination and strength without anyone knowing it. An example of this involves playing "golf" with the bow. The golf ball is made from a crumpled piece of paper and the hole is a flat piece of paper. While holding the bow in a proper bow hold, the student sees how many swings it takes to get it to the goal. I encourage the parents to play with us. Often the student beats the teacher and the parent.

Student, parent and teacher have a lot of fun in lessons where new ideas are explored and incorporated into the learning process. The bass is an excellence choice for students wishing to add a second instrument and expand their musical experience.