3 typical qualities of a professional bass player
From the comfort of my studio chair, I asked Tiziano: what should you do, orwhat do you need, if you want to go from amateur to professional? Not in general, but as a bass or double bass player 🙂 🙂
If by amateur we mean someone who does it for pure pleasure(like ME for example), by professional bassist I mean a musician who earns a living playing his instrument.
For example by teaching, or bringing your expertise to arecording studio, or by taking your artistic projects around, or collaborating in other musicians'live projects.
Of course, except for teaching, today everything is on hold. But I like to think it won't be like that forever. Let's say we are going through a stand-by phase, OK?
But we can use this period actively and creatively to "hone the knife", prepare ourselves, study, think about oneself and one's interests and goals, perfect oneself.
I am fairly sure there will always be someone aspiring to to make a living from music. The point is to understand what this leap from amateur to professional consists of , what distinguishes the two ways of making music.
And thus be able to use this period of "forced break" from live events to think about it, possibly organise a plan of action and then put it into action to be ready when the time comes.
Well, according to Tiziano, if you want to go from being an amateur bass player to a professional bass player, you should work on at least the following 3 points.
1. Do not set limits between one genre and the other
You shouldn't have any technical or mental closure in terms of 'playable' music genres. No prejudices about pop music, jazz, funk, etc.
Of course you can have your own preferences, but on a technical and stylistic level you need to be able to move across all genres. You have to be able to interpret each style with its own characteristics, its own pronunciation, the right groove.
So you need an open mind first and foremost, and a good musical culture in the sense of a willingness to experience living, concrete, transversal experiences, without preclusions and prejudices.
2. Having no technical boundaries
The first point must obviously be matched by adequate technical preparation. So no gaps in the various instrumental techniques (slap, tapping, walking, plectrum, etc.), notes reading,improvisation, but also notions of harmony and arrangement.
You need to master these skills at a good level in order to be able to respond to the various requests you may get from fellow musicians, producers, students, etc.
For instance, if you want to get a more or less paid gig in a recording studio (or even in a music school), you can't afford to back out because you can't slap, or you can't read the notes. So a good technical command is super essential.
3. Having a broader view of the musical context
This is the most important point, especially in the field of live music, but the trickiets to grasp.
In practice, instead of concentrating almost exclusively on what your instrument does, as is the case in more amateur contexts, at a professional level you must always consider the bass as an instrument within a broader context.
The bass thus ceases to be your only focal point, in favour of a broader view.
The other instruments you are playing with become important and must be taken into account very carefully.
It means you have to be aware of what is going on around you, how the various instruments fit together and the dynamics between one instrument and another.
Maybe you don't believe it, but understanding what exactly the piano, drums, vocals, etc. are doing helps you better understand the bass itself and enhance its role even more!
Amateur... but professional!
Obviously, each of the points above can be further explored and analysed. In a nutshell, however, they sum up what distinguishes (or should distinguish) a professional bass player from one who does it for pure enjoyment.
On top of that. Don't you think these 3 points (open-mindedness, technical preparation and a broad vision) can give ALL musicians added value, regardless of whether or not they have a professional career?
Even an amateur with an all-round vision technically, musically, mentally, culturally... can derive much more satisfaction from his instrument. He certainly has a better chance of playing with other musicians, growing artistically and finding interesting contexts in which to measure himself.
He is able to choose and be chosen, having on his side the ability to cope with any situation and solve problems for the group 😀
Until the next new question!
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How does the online course work?
The Contemporary Bassist was created precisely with this aim in mind. Instead of focusing on a single style or topic that can only limit you over time, it aims to give you all the theoretical and practical tools for a complete, professional preparation.
Then you don't have to become necessarily a professional bass player. You can simply continue to have fun with your friends. But you can do it from a very broad and solid foundation that allows you to range, have more confidence in your abilities and make your full presence felt.
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✅All exercises (e.g. singing, rhythm, bass lines, etc.) are made on video and you can play them together with Titian and REPEAT them as often as you like.
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