We LOVE the bass guitar. And some of the most dedicated players to have passed through LA Music Academy were bassists. We’ve learned a lot about why they chose to study music in a professional setting like LAMA. Besides the obvious — learning from and playing with pros, formal training, diverse understanding of styles and technique, peer to peer feedback, networking — we’re highlighting five of the reasons why you should pursue a degree for bass guitar:
1) Stand out.
Savvy business folks find a need and fill it with their product or service. This can apply when it comes time to pick your instrument – usually people flock to the guitar and everything else comes after. You might be asking “Shouldn’t I study something more popular then?” Well, frankly, guitarists are a dime a dozen whereas we constantly hear of musical settings where a good, solid bassist is in need. Here’s an opportunity to be big fish in a small pond? When people meet a student who is studying bass guitar, relatively speaking, you are already a stand out.
2) Everyone needs a bassist!
Speaking more about standing out and filling a need — just scan classifieds and musician ads. There are always tons of situations where a qualified bass player is in need. Bands having to book a last minute tour frequently scramble for a bassist. You would be surprised how many great gigs you can score just being a bass playing journeyman. Having a degree from a music college like LAMA would certainly help with this process. The same goes for recording projects — being a solid bass player comes in handy for getting interesting session work.
3) Bass playing is an excellent complement to music production.
Whether you are studying music production or just fancy yourself as a “weekend engineer” a proficient understanding of bass can help quite a bit with your production career. Most musicians can play a little guitar or a little piano but very few play bass properly. This is a huge plus for musicians looking for a producer — they’ll see a bass in the corner of your studio right under your framed bass performance degree, which lets them know they are in good hands.
4) Good company.
Roger Waters. Paul McCartney. Geddy Lee. Phil Lesh. Les Claypool. These are some of the most versatile bass playing songwriters around. While guitar was used to compose some of the classic songs we hear, there is no doubt those bass playing fundamentals impacted the incredible songs in these catalogs. The reason we mention all these people is to illustrate to you that just because you play bass doesn’t mean you can’t be front and center of your group — be a classic songwriter and verified rockstar!
5) Your value in a live setting.
Have you ever heard a band sound checking without a bass player because he or she was running late? We have – and it’s usually terrible! The bass is insanely vital and nowhere is it felt more than in a live setting. It connects all the different instruments with the drums and keeps that song grooving. In a live setting, bass is one of the instruments that the audience can truly “feel”!
So when you are touring your possible music schools make sure you ask if they have a bass program – and if they don’t offer one we suggest you think twice about that school! #stopthebassism lol. For more info on the visit the webpage for LAMA’s bass performance degree.
Some of the LA Music Academy bass department instructors produced a series of video quick tips last month to share with students, alumni and all members of the tight-knit bass community. We wanted to collect them for you in one post.What other video tips would you like to see from the LAMA bass staff? Without much further ado (and in no particular order…):
DOUBLE THUMB TECHNIQUE – JERRY WATTS
CHOOSING A PICK – MARK BROWNE
PLUCK PLACEMENT – ANDRE BERRY
MAJOR TRIADS – DAVID LEVRAY
WALKING BASS – DOUG ROSS
PICK TECHNIQUE – MARK BROWNE
SOLOING USING CHORD TONES (PART 1) – STEVE BILLMAN
SOLOING USING CHORD TONES (PART 2) – STEVE BILLMAN
LEFT HAND – ANDRE BERRY
AN INTRO TO THE LA MUSIC ACADEMY BASS DEPARTMENT – JERRY WATTS
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