Almost any smartphone today has an app that can replace any physical electronic devices needed for a student or professional musician. We don’t have to keep changing our 9V batteries or find an outlet to plug in our Dr. Beat or Petersons’ Strobe Tuner.
These six steps will help you learn how to have a solid left hand to improve these common problems:
Holding down the string
Moving up and down the fingerboard
STEP 1 – Curved Knuckles = Strong Fingertips
Curved knuckles allow your fingertips to strongly hold down the strings. There is more clarity in pitch and sound production when we use our fingertips to hold down the string. Sliding up and down the string is easier with fingertips that are formed by curved knuckles.
STEP 2 – Space and Clump
We need to have a “half step” between 1st and 2nd finger that is equal to the distance from our 2nd and 4th finger. There needs to be an extra finger width of space between 1st and 2nd finger and fingers 2 thru 4 are clumped together for any position within the “1st Octave” of the bass.
Practice holding a wine cork in between your 1st and 2nd finger and a rubber band or hair tie around your 2nd, 3rd and 4th finger to physically feel the “space” and “clump” while playing the bass.
This Roma hybrid ( a plywood bass, but with a hand carved quality spruce top ) double bass has a nice tone for the level of craftsmanship. This was the first double bass I started with. I won the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra audition when I was in high school on this bass. A former student of mine also won his SFSYO audition on this bass. Over the last two decades this bass has been played by current and former students, which helps keep the sound alive*.
* Most well crafted string instruments loose their vibrant sound qualities if they aren’t played over a certain amount of time.
Here are a few ideas and concepts to think about when you want to establish your own teaching studio.
Closing the deal
Why we want to teach?
Finding students can be a challenge depending on what instrument(s) you teach. Many of my students have been referrals from other colleagues or school teachers in the area. A few students are from Yelp or Craigslist and aren’t always a success.
The first trial lesson is about a half hour and if I’m traveling to my clients home, I charge only a travel fee. This is my way of providing a “money back guarantee.” After the lesson, I describe my rate of teaching at my studio (lower price) compared to their home to give them the options of whether they want to travel or not. If they’re still “on the fence,” I give them another perspective to think about how every teacher has their own style of interpretation of what they think is best for each student and as a student it’s important to find a teacher who can adapt to their style of learning and help them achieve their goals.
After a few students and years of teaching, I created some of my own methods and etudes to help focus on key ideas that would generate more success for my students. I also maintain a professional performance career which enables me to demonstrate at a high level the techniques and sound colors my students can hear and apply to their goals.
It’s best to believe in ourselves and have a passion in what you’re selling or providing a service to your clients. Because of this, we have more confidence and dedication to our students who are trusting us to help solve their problems and achieve success.