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Progressive vs Traditional Jazz Conservatory/Programs

bassdadjazzbassdadjazz 14 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
My son will be applying to music schools soon. He had a discussion with someone very high up at Eastman that let him know that he would almost exclusively playing the double bass, that the electric bass is not part of their program.
Mile went electric 50 years ago, yet it seems like many institutions resist teaching progressive jazz.
I know Berklee is progressive, and the New School is progress to a degree. Are there any other progressive program out there? Is the SFCM progressive? Is Frost becoming more progressive? UNT?
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Replies to: Progressive vs Traditional Jazz Conservatory/Programs

  • SpiritManagerSpiritManager 2815 replies66 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 19
    You should move this to the Music Major forum. There are a number of parents of jazz bassists who post there regularly and would have a very good idea about the current asthetics at the different programs such as @tripletmama whose D is a jazz bassist and recently went through the process. And @GoForth whose son is a bassist at UNT and did a ton of research.
    edited August 19
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 33073 replies3748 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Moving...
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  • GoForthGoForth 799 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited August 20
    Frost at U-Miami has a separate upright (Chuck B.) and electric prof (Tim Smith) when we visited them a couple years ago. I don't know how much the electric plays in their ensembles. At UNT, where S is, they emphasize the upright, even requiring 2 years of classical on it, but they also have ensembles (zebras, guitar lab bands, and such) that focus on the electric, and then the other lab bands require playing on both, but you kind of need to pursue electric instruction yourself at UNT on electric - not that it is hard, since there are so many people to tap there. There are usually 21-24 jazz bass students at UNT at a given time with one or two doctoral, a few masters, and several at each cohort year. Each player will have different strengths coming in, and you will get to learn from each other, too. If you have any UNT jazz bass questions, I can ask S, who is starting his 3rd year there next week.
    edited August 20
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  • bassdadjazzbassdadjazz 14 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for the input. My son all about the Jazz, and needs to be someplace where the electric is valued. I'm beginning to think UNT might not be a good fit.
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  • GoForthGoForth 799 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    I added a few more sentences in an edit to the post above. I can say electric is valued because you need to play well on both to complete the program. I am not really aware of anyplace that would teach jazz bass predominantly on the electric. I believe the UNT latin jazz band plays more electric - that is what S is hoping to get into this upcoming semester.
    I think a similar situation occurs with UNT jazz sax. Half the sax guys hate that there is a classical sax component, and half love it. And if you want to learn jazz clarinet, you really just need to major on sax and pick up clarinet in some way.
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  • JeJeJeJeJeJe 143 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Bassdadjazz—— I totally agree with GoForth even though my son isn’t a jazz bassist. He has several bassist friends who chose to study at Berklee, USC, The Juilliard, NEC and UNT. They play upright most of the time but they all are very capable playing an electric in any ensemble settings / tunes. I heard that USC, NEC and Frost can be very progressive. Berklee has many ensemble opportunities. Michigan State sounds great for bassists to study jazz as well.
    For your information, SFCM said about 3 out of 4 private lessons for bassists were (would be) taught by San Francisco Symphony bassists.
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  • bassdadjazzbassdadjazz 14 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    JeJeJe,
    Thanks for the feedback. We visited USC and Frost are on his radar. Berklee too, as the most progressive out of the bunch. UNT is likely out of the running because bass students need to take two years of classical lessons. He was considering SFCM, but if his teachers would be symphonic bassist, I don't think that would be appealing to him. MSM has both an electric and upright program for Jazz, but the scholarship money is is for upright.
    NEC is now on our radar, thank you for that.
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  • GoForthGoForth 799 replies29 threadsRegistered User Member
    @bassdadjazz - you are doing the right kind of homework. I recall a conversation that S was having with Chuck B., The jazz bass prof at Frost, and Chuck was laying out a vision for where he saw S playing in the potential freshman year at Frost, including a rotation in a classical group as an upright bassist. I just wanted to mention it in case any sort of classical playing would ruin the day, maybe check a little deeper into what the students are normally asked/expected to do.
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  • bassdadjazzbassdadjazz 14 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    That is something we definitely need to do. So far the New School and Berklee seem to be the most progressive and appealing. MSM has an electric bass jazz performance program, but there is only scholarship money for upright. We need to look closer at NEC. One of his instructors recommended he apply to Peabody, we've not looked seriously at Peabody yet, Kris Funn is the bass instructor, he's definitely a jazz head, but I not sure what part the electric would play in their instruction.
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  • JeJeJeJeJeJe 143 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Bassdadjazz—— Your son should contact Peabody, Kris Funn or Sean Jones who is a head director of Jazz (he left Brass chair position at Berklee to take Peabody head of jazz position to rebuild a jazz program last year) to ask questions directly. It is a brand new and very small program and won’t be more than around 40 jazz students in future. Because student : faculty ratio, I assume students will have more opportunities to play up with faculty, not only in student ensembles PLUS many performance opportunities in Baltimore and D.C. area.

    Since you mentioned about MSM bass scholarship, as I read in another thread in CC about “Music merit scholarship”, Frost seems very generous. USC seems giving more academic scholarship than music talent scholarship in general. Berklee and The New School didn’t seem generous at least for initial offers last year. NEC seemed like between Berklee and The New School. It might be different in particular year, pool of qualified applicants (with or without financial need) and particular instruments needed by school to fill openings.
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  • indeestudiosindeestudios 136 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Most jazz studies programs are firmly rooted in the tradition, language and history of jazz, which means predominantly upright bass. Players need to be able to double on electric as needed, and there are combos and side projects where electric is played, but instruction is almost exclusively geared toward upright mastery. Berklee, MSM and Hart are the only exceptions that I knew of. New School allows a switch to electric instruction once upright proficiency is achieved. My info is a couple of years old-S is a senior now, so things may have changed somewhat in the past couple of years. The best thing you can do is call and ask at the schools your son thinks he may like.
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