As much as I love performing and recording, I love teaching equally. Whether it’s one on one private tuition (in person or via Skype) or giving masterclasses and lectures in Universities, sharing something of the experience of making music with others is a huge part of my make-up as a musician.
I’ve been teaching bass now for over 23 years, having started when I was still at college, teaching at West Lothian Rock School.
I then moved to private tuition in 1993 and since then have been busy ever since teaching everything from total beginners through to degree and post-graduate music students. I’ve also written tuitional columns for Bassist Magazine and Bass Guitar Magazine, and do guest video masterclasses for Scotts Bass Lessons.
I started giving ‘bass clinics’ at Trade Shows and music stores in the late 90s, around the same time as I began teaching regularly in a London music college. When my playing career became too busy for me to teach a regular course, I began giving lectures in colleges and universities. The institutions I’ve given masterclasses, lectures or talks at include Stanford the Academy Of Contemporary Music (ACM), Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP), LA Music Academy, Salford University, Perth College, Leicester College, Leeds Beckett Uni, the Central School Of Speech And Drama and the Academy Of Music And Sound amongst others. In recent years, as well as giving masterclasses in bass, improvisation, looping and processing, I’ve been giving talks to music students on ‘musicians and the web’ and what the monumental changes in the music industry mean for musicians attempting to build a career in music (see the New Music Strategies category on my blog for more). If you work for a college – or are studying at a college and would like to persuade your college to book me for a masterclass – please do drop me an email. I currently teach bass at Kidderminster College, and music industry classes at Access To Music In Birmingham.
For private students, having played in myriad musical environments, I am very well placed to cover whatever stylistic preference you may have. I have taught students from every conceivable background, from death metal to disco, punk to mainstream Jazz, and many of my students have gone on to play and record in many different musical settings, including professional session work with Top 40 artists.
The material covered is decided on with the student, making sure that the techniques and concepts covered are rooted in the musical life and path of the student. Normally, much of the time is spent working on the ‘building blocks’ of music, in the context of the music you love and play – harmony, theory and bass technique, as well as whatever elements are key to your preferred area, be it punk or free improv, soul or metal. From how to hold the bass to putting together a solo performance, I’m happy to work with students at every stage of their bass playing life. The main rules I set for myself are to make it enjoyable, productive, and to ‘contextualise everything’, we’ll spend a lot of time looking at how to apply the various concepts covered in the lessons.
At the moment I either teach at home in Stirchley, Birmingham, or via Skype, Google Hangout, or any other video chat platform that works. Either way, lessons are £30 an hour, or £50 for a two hour lesson. We can do a tech-check first to see if your video speed/audio are up to it if that’s useful. Ideally, you’ll need proper highspeed internet, a webcam (built in is fine) and a microphone (external USB is probably best) and a way to arrange it all so I can hear you playing and talking while you can see me too! It’s easier than it sounds 😉
If you are interested, or have any questions, please email me – I’d love to hear from you.
I occasionally teach a series of bass group-classes in Birmingham, called ‘Beyond Bass Camp’ – beyondbasscamp.com has more details as well as a series of blog posts about my thoughts on bass teaching.
And here’s a looping tutorial video from a few years ago on youtube:
And this podcast from No Treble has some interesting insights:by