Performance and Tagline:
For years I was a bass player for hire, my long tagline was “call me before 2PM, and I will be at any venue within 200 miles to play any type of music you may choose.” It was a fun, lucrative, and most interesting life in many ways… I dont miss the days of driving in snowstorms to get from venue to venue, but the good times by far out weighed the bad. Last I calculated things out, I had over 300,000 miles on my bass, and had played in over 35 states, and 4 countries.
I’ve played most styles, ranging from country western, to rock, to jazz, to contemporary Christian, to various ethnic/cultural groups, and for a few years even played old time and polka music. I fully believe every bass player should be exposed to a wide range of styles; and that one can learn from every music genre.
I was blessed to have 5 years of private lessons before entering the university. It really gave me a heads up, and the ability to start playing both in academic, as well as church and professional groups within the first month on scene. While at university, my primary focus was on saxophone, albeit I averaged playing bass somewhere 4 days a week.
I originally planned on a music minor, but found sight singing to be a real challenge, this in addition to a rather rigorous workload in physics and astronomy put a formal minor by the wayside. On the other hand, through a great relationship with the music dept chair, I was able to benefit from theory classes, music history, private instruction on saxophone, as well as music education coursework including teaching methods for all of the woodwinds. (Yes, years ago, I could have taught even the double reeds, albeit today, it would take some time to regain proficiency on the Oboe and Bassoon).
During my time at the university, I was active in jazz band, and jazz choir on bass, as well as the concert and symphonic band on saxophone in a variety of seating positions.
I’ve done a number of studio sessions, both as bass player, as well as recording engineer. I still remember the days of analog, and 2″ tape, thank goodness things are so much easier and less expensive today, albeit the performance and listening skills used are very much the same. Attitude plays a huge role when in the studio, irrespective of ones role, even more so in the past at $200/hr studio time, but even today, the right attitude can go a lot further than even technical or performance accuity. I remember thinking a good studio engineer might well be served well with an academic background in psychology, even more so than a technical one.
Yep, I did this too, albeit its been a number of years. Today, fire codes and other legislation make certification a must for most venues, thus I no longer consider myself qualified nor current. Yet, safety often comes from experience, and likely I will be blogging on pyrotechnics from time to time. Ultimately though, pyrotechnics is no place for the novice. Just as an old guy taught me, I would suggest the same for anyone else interested in the field. Mentorship makes a world of difference, certification while a great idea, by itself without experience is just too dangerous.