Not only is John good at verbalizing musical concepts clearly, he is also an attentive listener and makes a genuine effort to understand the student's point of view. I would recommend his tutelage without hesitation.
I have all my students learn all the standard grooves that a bass player needs to be able to execute in order to function in most musical situations. You’ll learn how to create interesting solid bass lines that are based on the musical idioms of some of the best bass players from the last century.
Improper technique can take a lifetime to unlearn, and when we’ve learned bad technical habits on an instrument, these bad habits can hinder us for years. If we’re going to succeed, we need to make sure that we develop good technical habits as early in our musical journey as we can.
I teach you how to look at a chord chart and know what notes will work in a given situation, and why. After a few weeks of studying with me, you’ll be able to look at a jazz chart and play a great, hip sounding walking bass line, and understand how to construct a complex jazz solo.
When I teach bass lessons, my focus is on transmitting real, applicable musical information. I am not overly concerned with chops and technique, although these things are important inasmuch as they serve the music. Personally I feel that the highest priority is understanding the role of your instrument (in my case, the bass) in the music you are playing. In a sense, I feel that it is more important to understand music than it is to understand the bass. If we develop a comprehensive understanding of music, of songs, of composition, we find that the instrument plays itself. Of course, technique is important. You can't play the dots if you don't have the chops. But, I generally focus on technique only to the extent that it serves the music.
My upright bass instruction is geared towards the player who intends to play pizz, as I am primarily a pop and jazz player, and therefore my main focus with upright students is on pop and jazz. However, because the majority of my personal instruction was orchestral, a considerable amount of arco is incorporated into my teaching method.
My electric and upright bass instruction are both geared towards practical application in the real world. Scales, arpeggios, and jazz theory are the building blocks of my method, but I ultimately expect my students to master the art of performing well in a live situation or in a recording session, where they will need to quickly digest a piece of music and give the producer or band leader what they are looking for. I teach music lessons from my home in Los Angeles.
When I was a young player, I was hungry to play jazz. It took me a long time to find someone who was able to explain to me, from a technical standpoint, how you created the sound of “jazz licks,” and how you improvised and walked over chord changes. In fact, it wasn’t until I took a lesson with Jeff Berlin when I was sixteen that my eyes started to open. He was the first on that was able to explain to me what a walking bass line was...
Almost all of the music we hear in the west is derived from the pedagogy of western harmony and theory which is based primarily on the major scale. Over the past two centuries, musical idioms, scales, and musical ideas have been incorporated into the Western musical tradition, creating many different styles of music, including blues, rock and roll, and jazz...
Arco and pizz (or pizzicato) are concepts that apply primarily to the upright bass. I say primarily because since pizzicato refers to plucking the strings of an instrument with the fingers instead of another device, such as a bow, We often play the electric bass in a pizzicato fashion. However, when we refer to arco and pizz, we are most often referring the two most common ways an orchestral player plays a stringed instrument...
In order to improvise on bass, we simply need to know all of the scales that “go” with all of the chords. That comes from 1.) Memorization 2.) Practice. First we need to memorize all the major, minor, and altered scales. Then we need to combine the notes in these scales to create chords, and memorize which chords come from which scales...