Knowing just what to look for in a bass teacher can sometimes be difficult. There are many things to consider, but the most important factor is that both you and your child are satisfied with the teacher. Here is what to consider when deciding how to choose a bass teacher:
1.) Teaching experience – feel free to ask your instructor how many years they have been teaching, how many students they have taught, and the age group(s) they work with the best. While we typically recommend starting bass lessons around the age of nine, a teacher who is experienced with younger children may be suitable to teach a seven or eight year old.
2.) Education – most bass teachers should have at least their Bachelor’s degree in music, having studied either Electric Bass, Classical Double Bass, or both. If the teacher does not have a music degree, find out how long they have studied music, and where or with whom. Many players can be self taught, but there are rarely many great teachers who are.
3.) Musical experience – equally important is inquiring about the teacher’s personal experience as a musician and performer. While there is a lot to be learned in the classroom, there is no substitute for the skills learned in concert settings, regardless of whether their background is classical, punk, or jazz. In having a good amount of performance experience, your instructor will have learned how to work with other musicians in a live environment. These skills are crucial in preparation for recitals, auditions, or other similar settings. It’s always a big plus if the instructor also has some experience playing upright bass, which requires a great deal of control over the instrument.
3.) Styles offered – a great bass instructor will know even the basics of a wide variety of styles, including rock, pop, jazz, Latin, reggae, and funk. A big red flag to look for (and one that we look for when we are hiring our instructors) is if the teacher says they only teach one particular style. It would be hard to find a musician who was an expert in every style of playing, but he or she should know the fundamentals for every type of playing.