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Double Bass

This fall, the Oakville Suzuki Association will be continuing its new Suzuki Bass program at the Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre. Now in its second year, this program is the first of its kind in Eastern Canada, and will be run by bassist/composer Jesse Dietschi (B.Mus, M.Mus).  The program will offer students the opportunity to take both private lessons and group classes on this exciting and in-demand instrument.

Private lessons will be available for any student wishing to explore the double bass more in depth. Students can study the Suzuki Bass Method through Pre-Twinkle and all book levels, as well as Jazz Bass Techniques and Improvisation. While exact details are still being determined, double basses will be available for rent, and will be available in fractional sizes (appropriate for almost all ages, please read the “Frequently Asked Questions” for more information).

Group classes will be separated into both Introductory and Senior classes. The Introduction to Bass group class is designed specifically for any student (regardless of instrument), and requires no previous bass experience. These classes will give students interested in learning bass the opportunity to explore the instrument in a fun group setting, without requiring the commitment of enrolling in private lessons. The Senior Bass group class will be tailored for older students with previous experience on the instrument, and will give them rare bass ensemble playing experience, along with instruction on more advanced instrumental and musical techniques.

Jesse Dietschi is the only SAA-registered Suzuki Bass instructor in Eastern Canada.  He currently holds Masters degrees in both Composition (Brandon University) and Jazz Performance (U. of Toronto). He is a very active freelance bassist in the city, performing regularly in chamber groups, orchestras, jazz ensembles, and popular music groups of varying styles. He has served as the Jazz Bass instructor at Brandon University and the International Music Camp, and has been involved in the Brandon Suzuki Summer Institute and Oakville Suzuki Summer Performing Arts program.  Jesse has toured internationally across North America, including a residency at Mexico’s Northern Lights Chamber Music Festival.

NOTE: Arrangements have been made with The Sound Post to provide a special group rate of $60 per month for the small basses on our rental purchase plan. This provides 50% credit towards a later purchase of a bass. Contact the OSA Administrator for more details.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Why should my son/daughter play bass?
A: The double bass is a very in-demand instrument, and will offer your child many new and exciting musical opportunities. These include many performance opportunities and playing a variety of styles of music, among others.

Q: What are the benefits of the Suzuki Bass Method?
A: The Suzuki Bass Method will provide your child with effective tools to become a musically and technically skilled bassist and musician. Should they choose to, they will have the knowledge and opportunity to perform in a wide variety of settings, including string or full orchestras, chamber ensembles, big band jazz ensembles, modern and traditional jazz small groups, and popular music groups (including country, bluegrass, folk, and rock).

Q: What does the Suzuki Bass Method consist of?
A: The Suzuki Bass Method currently contains five books, and utilizes much of the same repertoire as the methods for other instruments. This repertoire has been altered slightly to address some of the instrument-specific challenges bassists face, but still operates completely within Dr. Suzuki’s pedagogy. There are recordings available for Books 1-3.

Q: Isn’t the double bass too large an instrument for my child to play?
A: Not if they find the correct size. Many manufacturers have recently started catering to the growing need for fractional-sized basses. Basses are now available for rental or purchase in sizes ranging from 7/8 or 3/4 (standard sizes used by adults) down to 1/16. There is also the option of converting full-sized or ¾-sized cellos to basses, known as “cellobass” instruments. These converted instruments are a valid option if fractional basses aren’t available.

Q: How old does my child need to be to play bass, and what size bass will he/she need?
A: I have personally witnessed bass lessons for children as young as three years. Any child old enough for instrumental lessons can study bass, provided they have access to an instrument that is the correct size for them.

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