The nice thing about teaching strings is, unlike band instruments, all the instruments are the same… almost! The double bass is somewhat of an oddball, being played standing, only able to play two notes per string, and tuned in fourths instead of fiths.
This makes some things, like teaching beginners to play open-string scales by ear, a bit trickier in a classroom setting. While all the other instruments have to do is start on an open string and play a major tetrachord on two consecutive strings, on the bass it is not quite that simple….
SMT’s Beginner Bass Scales handout comes to the rescue!
But SMT’s bass scale handouts will help make it easy! Give these handy scale charts to your bass players before you tackle open string scales with the rest of your class. It just takes a little time to explain half position, and shifting to third position, and your bass players will be good to go!
Teaching your beginner basses these scales also gives them an early and easy introduction to shifting, something they are going to have to do a lot of.
Teaching bass scales has never been so easy!
Good Left Hand Technique for Bass
Before you tackle scales though, you might want to set up your basses with tapes to help them. Also, ensure that you have set them up with really good left hand technique so that the strings are easy for them to push down:
- thumbs should be opposite the 2nd finger and form a C-shape
- thumb should be behind the neck and between the first two tapes
- first position should be held next to their face (if not, adjust the height of the bass)
- the arm is straight and the elbow out
- remind them to take their thumb with them when they shift
Bass is absolutely my favourite stringed instrument. The key to successful bass players in your classroom is to make sure they get a really good start.
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