6 Essential Apps for a Musician

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.

The Musician Apps I Use & Recommend

  • iStroboSoft: Pro Tuning
  • Evernote Scannable: Scan Music
  • forScore: Sheet Music Reader
  • Modacity: Pro Music Practice
  • Pro Metronome : Tempo, Beat, Subdivision, & Polyrhythm
  • insTuner Free – Chromatic Tuner / Drone

iStroboSoft: Pro Chromatic Tuning

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One of the best and precise tuning apps is the iStroboSoft by Peterson. I highly recommend this to anyone playing at a professional level. It’s $9.99 to own the app.

Click here for more information.

Scannable: Document Scanner

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How to Play a “French” Double Bass Bow (Part 1)

Double Bass players use either a “French” or “German” bow to produce an arco sound.

Here are a few tips and exercises I use with my students about practicing with a French Bow:

1. Keep your fingers gently curved over the bow

2. The thumb is positioned at a 45 degree angle

3. Keep an equal grip with all five fingers

Exercise 1: Three Fingers Method

With a slow bow speed, play long tones with the “3” methods below, while keeping a relaxed grip with only 3 fingers.


Hold the bow with only…

  • Thumb, Index & Middle fingers
  • Thumb, Index & Ring fingers
  • Thumb, Index & Pinky fingers

Outcome = Better Control of Tip #3 and Dexterity

Continue reading How to Play a “French” Double Bass Bow (Part 1)

6 Steps to Develop a Solid Left Hand

These six steps will help you learn how to have a solid left hand to improve these common problems:

  • Holding down the string
  • Intonation
  • Moving up and down the fingerboard

STEP 1 – Curved Knuckles = Strong Fingertips

Solid Left-Hand
Photo by Kevin Monahan

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.

Continue reading 6 Steps to Develop a Solid Left Hand


In September 2018, I discovered Modacity as new way for preparing and organizing my practice routine for the Assistant Principal Double Bass audition for the Oakland Symphony.

Modacity’s main benefits for me:

  • How long I’ve spent time on each audition excerpt
  • Rate each excerpt – estimating my comfort level
  • It can keep a recording of the excerpt to analyze daily improvements
  • Create time limits to a piece or group of pieces / excerpts

Click the link below to get started.

Kol Nidre @ 6:15 pm, 9/27/2020

I’m excited to perform my new arrangement of Max Bruch’s Kol Nidre for solo double bass this Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 6:15 pm (PDT) for Temple Beth Abraham’s Kol Nidre’s service.

Update 9/27/2020

I’m unfortunately sick and due to COVID protocols I can’t perform live at the schul. You’ll hear a recording I made this afternoon.

Updated 5/12/2023

Here’s a youtube version of my arrangement.

Romanian 3/4 Double 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.

Interested in Your Own Teaching Studio?

Here are a few ideas and concepts to think about when you want to establish your own teaching studio.

  • Acquiring students
  • Sales pitch
  • 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.

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Professional Double Bassist, Teacher, and Author