double bass or cello for scholarship 11+?

(20 Posts)
pencilcase11 Sat 31-May-14 13:27:34

does anybody have experience what is sought after in 11+ music scholarship exams? me and my son have to choose between these 2 instr. THANK YOU

pencilcase11 Sat 31-May-14 13:28:01

sorry I meant to say he is Year 2 so we just trying to plan ahead and start instrument now

Ladymuck Sat 31-May-14 13:56:08

I really wouldn't make that anything other than a passing incidental thought. This instrument will be part of your son's life for many years, so you need to think about the practicality of the instrument (neither of these instruments will be readily transportable by your son for the next few years, and when he gets to senior school how easy will it be to transport), and the repetoire of the instrument - does he like the music, and the parts that he will be playing for years to come. Or will he be mainly counting rests? What orchestral opportunities will be open to him?

If he is musically talented, then that will be very apparent by 11. But of course a music scholarship will usually be dependent on him continuing with music at senior school and participating fully in the musical life of the school. At year 2 that may be hard to assess. I've seen many children seem to get to grade 5 in their instrument by 11, only to have dropped it by 13. Talking to music staff, they can usually assess fairly quickly whether a child is passionate about music, or whether they've got to grade 5+ through the efforts of their parents. I would expect that a school would welcome a talented passionate child on either instrument, though I suspect that a cellist may have more opportunity to perform.

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 31-May-14 14:00:04

Careful with this if you're planning on using a music scholarship for helo with the school fees. More often than not, a music scholarship only covers the cost of music tuition, meaning you have to fund the rest of the school fees yourself (or with a bursary).

purpleshinyone Sat 31-May-14 14:11:57

DS1 is off to Birmingham Conservatoire in September playing electric bass with double bass secondary. Having said that, he didn't start playing DB till he was 13 and started off with guitar at 9. He always said he couldn't imagine playing earlier as simply not big enough!

DB will always get you into an orchestra as there's never enough to go round but they are hugely expensive, heavy, unwieldy and require an extra large car to transport. I guess that's why there never are enough to go round.

Good luck with your choice but I think you're making it far too early. In Year 2, DS1 was playing recorder!

Schmedz Sat 31-May-14 15:35:16

Either is attractive to offer for a music scholarship so it would be better to choose him an instrument he wants to play. Hopefully he isn't only learning to get a scholarship but to enrich his life through the enjoyment of playing a musical instrument!
You can get appropriate sized instruments in either but parents have to be prepared to lug them around until the child is old enough to do it on their own.
I would personally prefer bass because it is quite cool and a bit more versatile for jazz and orchestral styles. Easy to transistion to bass guitar too. That said, there are very few interesting parts for double bass to play in orchestras...

My 12 year old DD has been playing DB for 4 years and is sitting Grade 4 this year. We hire a bass from the borough music service and hardly ever have to transport it ( last time over a year ago) despite her playing at school and for the borough Young Musicians. The school has three spare one and the youth orchestra has a couple as well, and the bass is transported with the percussion instruments.
It is a highly sort after instrument and DD has had plenty of opportunities playing it, she's the only bassist at her school and one of two in the youth orchestra but she's always in the background. ( which she likes)

ReallyTired Sat 31-May-14 19:24:37

If your son has the vaguest of talent then he will pick up a second musical instrument later. Infact you need at least two instruments to grade 5 standard for many 11 plus music scholarships.

I would pick the instrument that your son wants to play. Its far easier to "persaude" a child to practice an instrument they like and want to play.

JaneParker Sat 31-May-14 19:31:55

Cello as easier to move it around and because I love the sound of it - my daughter plays and my brother and my children's grandfather and 2 of my children's cousins - cellists abound here. (3 of my children won music scholarships though at 13+ not 11+).

LadySybilLikesCake Sat 31-May-14 20:10:11

Ds plays the cello (he's 15). It's more for fun and to help strengthen his hands.

Madcats Sat 31-May-14 20:13:41

Yes, it is great to think ahead, but I've never managed to get my head around the practicalities of playing a big instrument (bearing in mind you really ought to practice 15-30 minutes a day as a beginner).

Is your DS playing any instrument at all? If he is in year 2 he must be 7, or 6. 11+ is many years away.

If he has good pitch, then a stringed instrument is okay. Otherwise it will all go horribly wrong.

I'm sure that things have changed since I (hated) learning the violin (we had several at home I would grow in to, but I always wanted to play woodwind). I don't remember quarter sized cellos and double basses. I'm guessing you need to be good a counting..patiently...to play those.

I admire your forward planning; I'll be steering DD towards an instrument that weighs less than 3kg.

mellicauli Sat 31-May-14 20:19:39

Cello..someone told me there are only 2 cars that a double bass fits in..

SanityClause Sat 31-May-14 20:39:00

I know someone with two DC who play double bass! At least one of them played with the National Youth Orchestra, so obviously quite talented. Yet, to me, the sound was always a bit of ....an acquired taste. Whereas the cello has a lovely sound, and wonderful repertoire.

Music scholarships are often only 5 or 10% of fees - barely more than titular. By the time you have paid all the music tuition between now and the time he is 10, then pay all the tuition while he is at senior school, not to mention instrument hire, insurance and music tours, you will be well out of pocket. And he may reach a very hi standard, and still not be offered a scholarship anywhere. So, don't think of it as a money saving exercise.

Our 8 year old is learning the DB too ( like her older sister)- she's only a year in but likes it. She plays a 1/4 sized bass though- it's the size of a full sized cello.

Youdontneedacriminallawyer Sat 31-May-14 22:00:52

I played DH when younger, in school orchestra and county youth orchestra and loved it. You're much more in demand as a bassist than as a cellist.

summerends Sat 31-May-14 22:57:23

The cello beautiful as it is does n't feature in jazz or such like music. I might be mistaken but it is limited to a classic repertoire. However cellos have the advantage of loads of wonderful melodic parts.
OP as well as all the other issues raised by others is your DS more into rhythm (double bass, bass guitar or drums / percussion) or into melody (cello etc)? What sort of repertoire does he like?

JaneParker Sun 01-Jun-14 19:46:03

As far as I am concerned the fact it is limited to a classical repertoire is a massive advantage although I am not sure all my children would agree who have a wider range of music interests than I do.

derektheladyhamster Tue 03-Jun-14 14:46:13

I'm convinced one of the reasons my son got into his school was because he played the double bass. Very few children play it so it's usually in demand, you won't be competing with lots of children to get a place in the orchestra grin

Sadly my son gave it up after a term at his new school despite being offered free tuition on it if he kept it up. He wasn't even particularly musical!

TortoiseUpATreeAgain Tue 03-Jun-14 14:51:03

summerends -- 2 Cellos (but, yes, they are notable partly because no one else is playing this sort of stuff on the cello)

summerends Tue 03-Jun-14 20:47:30

Thanks Tortoise , I enjoyed looking at listening to that. Definitely unique grin

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