Bass players at auditions & accompaniment

<p>Newbie music mom here, in audition season with my bass guitarist S.</p>

<p>My S was surprised at an audition this week that the prof auditioning him accompanied him on his first song on piano; he expected to play alone. </p>

<p>In viewing youtube videos of presceen or recorded bass auditions, it seems most bass players (I speak of electric bass guitar here) have a boombox or similar playing a backing track, or in the case of an ensemble audition, sit in with the ensemble.</p>

<p>S's audition requirements have only mentioned providing (or not providing) accompaniment for vocalists. No word as to whether it is appropriate, allowed or suggested to bring recorded accompaniment or expect live.</p>

<p>What's your experience been?</p>

<p>The situation is different everywhere. If the website is not sufficiently explicit, the student should call or email to ask. The folks in the admissions office may or may not have the correct answer to this one. Ideally, this would be a question for a teacher who will judge the audition.</p>

<p>Thanks - he will ask about the rest. Having that piano play with him kind of messed him up. First audition was definitely a learning experience :)</p>

<p>Ohiobassmom, was he auditioning for Jazz? Usually Jazz auditions have you play with an ensemble or with piano. However, I do recall that one school that was on son's first list did require accompaniment even for a classical audition. Also, at son's music school, all juries, levels and recitals will require some amount of accompaniment as the pieces warrant. As Bassdad recommends, call the schools so that your son will be ready and not blindsided.</p>

<p>yes jazz..thanks!</p>

<p>Yes, it is common in jazz auditions to be accompanied by faculty or students, though in some cases there might not be any accompaniment at all. S2's audition today at Temple for jazz trombone included current students who accompanied on bass and drumset. S1’s advice to him before the audition was to be prepared for anything. Two years ago at IU, S1's jazz piano audition was in a professor's small studio with 4-5 jazz faculty members crammed in together around the grand piano. The bass professor played with him, and they were all so closely packed in that the piano professor literally stood over S as he played.</p>

<p>Now we know. He's got 3 more auditions and will find out the situation for each one. Funny this isn't mentioned anytime or where before auditions, i guess "everyone" just knows. </p>

<p>I'm glad his first audition (which kind of threw him) was, as planned, not his first choice.</p>

<p>Ohiobassmom: Yes, every audition is a learning experience.... You might be able to tell what they have in store for your son by delving into the audition pages and looking for references for Jazz auditions sometimes the schools will put that repertoire on a different page than the regular audition page. At one classical audition son had last year, we were sitting outside the room where son was doing his classical audition and chatting with a nice professor type while waiting. It turns out that he was the Jazz prof for the school and asked son to come in for an impromptu jam/audition session. It took about 20 minutes. He was asked to do walking bass, soloing etc to piano. Son had fun and was accepted but wasn't looking to do Jazz in college since he wanted music ed and classiscal performance.</p>

<p>fyi ...</p>

<p>When there are no humans around to practice with, a great application to use is Band in a Box:</p>

<p>PG</a> Music Inc. - Band-in-a-Box, RealBand, and more</p>

<p>A little pricey if you purchase the Ultra Pak with all the "real tracks" but a great tool.</p>

<p>Thanks. We thought we had it all down. Made a Word doc with the very specific requirements for each school in terms of songs to choose from, expected scales, theory exam, sight reading, etc etc. Accompaniment just didn't come up except in reference to vocalists and what the school charged for them if you didn't bring your own.</p>

<p>If anyone is interested, here's the doc. </p>

<p>*BGSU College of Musical Arts (Jazz bass guitar) *
Instrumental Jazz: Students will be asked to perform one solo in the jazz idiom which should be representative of their ability and experience with improvisation. The composition or tune should be chosen from American songbook standards, and/or classic jazz repertoire. Students should be prepared to demonstrate improvisation skills and sight reading ability.</p>

<p>*Capital U Conservatory: Jazz/Contemporary Bass *
Minimum one-octave major scales – all keys. Chromatic scale, minimum two octaves, starting with low F. Walking bass pattern over a 12-bar blues progression in B-flat or F. </p>

<p>Two selections must be chosen from the following: "Misty,” “Autumn Leaves,” “A-Train,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Satin Doll” or “Gone With The Wind.” Preparation of the two selections should be as follows: melody, bass line, solo (improvisation) optional. The two selections must be performed in contrasting styles (i.e. walking 4/4 swing style vs. bossa or ballad. </p>

<p>The student also must prepare one selection of his or her choice. Sight-reading.</p>

<p>*Duquesne (Jazz/contemporary electric bass): *
The applicant must perform at least one two-octave major scale and one two-octave melodic minor scale from memory. The applicant should also perform at least one prepared solo piece of his or her choice. These can be etudes, solo transcriptions, standard jazz tunes, or original compositions. Memorization is suggested but not required. The applicant must provide written copies of these pieces in standard notation (tablature is not acceptable). </p>

<p>Students should be able to play bass lines in various styles including walking, slapping, finger style funk, original lines, etc. Memorization is suggested but not required. Sight-reading material in standard notation will be presented during the audition. This is intended for placement purposes and should not discourage the applicant from auditioning.</p>

<p>Bass - Perform a portion of a solo transcription or jazz ensemble that demonstrates the ability to interpret jazz (swing) phrasing.</p>

<p>*CCM: Jazz Studies BM *
a general theory and musicianship exam on the day of the audition</p>

<p>At least two tunes of contrasting styles and tempos from the standard jazz repertoire such as “Autumn Leaves,” “Satin Doll,” “All the Things you Are,” “Blue Bossa,” “Meditation,” “I Can’t Get Started,” “Now’s the Time.” The melody should be stated in a convincing jazz style followed by improvised choruses. </p>

<p>The audition should also include a short “classical” solo (optional for guitarists and drummers). Sight reading, major and minor scales, and arpeggios may be requested.</p>

<p>Just asked son and one jazz prof from a jazz camp recommended that son play along with Miles Davis "Kind of Blue" instead of Band in a Box (which son also uses). Good luck.</p>

<p>Late to the game, sorry, but I was looking for updates on your S's audition process and found this thread.</p>

<p>The audition announcements with which I'm familiar usually specify accompaniment and if recorded will say who is responsible for providing the boom box. If he's doing an improvised solo, I'm sure the professor would want accompaniment so he/she could hear it in the context of the chord progression.</p>

<p>For many years, the standard accompaniment for jazz was the Jamey Aebersold play-a-long series. Lately, Band-in-a-Box has become a popular alternative, as MarkBass pointed out. Not sure I'd want to use "Kind of Blue" as a backing track for fear of being compared with Paul "Mr. P.C." Chambers (Miles' bassist). :)</p>

<p>Thanks for checking in, Steve. Two auditions down, two to go (this weekend), haven't gotten results from any yet. </p>

<p>So far he's been accompanied by a prof on piano and/or guitar every time. Not so bad now that he's ready for it. He should have this all down perfectly right when he's done auditioning ;)</p>

<p>Hope that the upcoming auditions go well and that we'll see some acceptances with great scholarships posted soon!</p>

<p>Hope you have a good weekend! My D's next audition is the 4th. Based on your thread we checked with the school for this audition to see what accompaniment was required or provided so she could be ready. Next one will have a piano accompany her on her jazz standards. She will be solo for the classical etude.</p>

<p>Thanks for starting this thread!</p>

<p>musictwins: Good luck to your daughter, too and wishes for acceptances with great scholarships, also.</p>

<p>twins I'm glad it's been helpful.</p>

<p>Well, a big twist on the way home from Duquesne audition yesterday.</p>

<p>He is no longer sure he wants to study music as a major. </p>

<p>He's giving a lot of thought to where he'd be at a school if he decided not to study music after a semester or a year.</p>

<p>He's mostly self taught in bass, plays by ear. Though he's played/studied tuba in school for years, he doesn't really like it. He's also taken theory in school, and done a few private lessons, but just to get ready for auditions, he refused them when offered back when he began to play. In other words, this is a talented kid who has always chosen to find his own way rather than study in a more classical sense.</p>

<p>Part of me thinks the audition process is turning him off. Not once so far has he been asked/able to do exactly what was on the web site audition requirements, which is frustrating for him since he spends a lot of time learning/perfecting what they say they want him to do. He feels like he's not able to show all he can do, or even all that he prepared. </p>

<p>So he canceled his last audition, at CCM, because he realized that if he started there and decided against music study, he'd be at a school he'd never otherwise consider.</p>

<p>Everything is up in the air still but he seems to now be leaning towards the LACs he applied to. Of course this could change if he hears good stuff from the music school he prefers, which is part of a LAC, but right now he's really questioning.</p>

<p>Wheeeee...what a ride. I myself changed majors 3 times, one necessitated a change in school. I'd hate for him to have to go through an admissions process AGAIN for a transfer, but I will defer to his choice in April and cross my fingers, I guess.</p>

<p>VERY interesting post, Ohiobassmom. So much is revealed in this process. Thanks for continuing to post here. I wish for both of you the best decision be made for your S what ever direction he chooses to go. April seems so far away right now.........</p>

<p>ohiobassmom, that is so true and he is wise to consider where he would be if he changed his mind. DD had that same conclusion as she auditioned and canceled one of hers for the same reason. When she chose Rice we could not have been happier since any path she chose would be at a great school.</p>

<p>Thanks to both of your for your comments and support.</p>

<p>As I reread my post, boy did I ramble, kudos for understanding what I was saying. I think I was trying to say he's musical, but not necessarily wanting to study it in college. </p>

<p>Not that he knows what he DOES want to study, but that's OK, I think the first year or two of college is about finding out what interests are and what one is good at. I just thought he might have gotten a jump on figuring that out with music.</p>

<p>I was also saying if the audition process were different in some ways, he might not be questioning it to the degree that he is. Any acceptances might also push him over into "if they think i'm good enough maybe i am". </p>

<p>When he canceled his CCM audition he decided to audition for a music scholarship at Wooster next weekend. The scholarship would be given to him only for agreeing to participate in an ensemble, he wouldn't have to major. Wooster is one of the LACs where he'd have lots of great choices if music didn't work out, so I think he's made a good decision given how he feels right now.</p>