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Does anyone play the Double Bass?

(6 Posts)
mymumdom Wed 27-Jul-11 21:55:17

Have you done exams? How hard are they in comparison to piano, for example?My DD has been offered the opportunity to sit her Grade 1 next term, OR concentrate on taking her Grade 3 next Summer term?
Do string instruments not do Grade 2 then?
My DD is studying for her Grade 3 piano and Grade 2 theory atm, so has quite good musical knowledge which may help.

MonMome Wed 27-Jul-11 22:04:11

When I played the double bass (a long, long time ago now wink ) the first exam I took was Grade 5. I'd been playing the piano and the violin for quite a while before I started double bass lessons, and would say that the pieces I had to learn for bass exams were marginally more simple (not necessarily easier, as it's harder to get the nuances of the music on the double bass sometimes!) than either of those.
String instruments do have all Grades, 1-8, but if she's really taken well to the bass it's not unusual to skip Grades.

mymumdom Wed 27-Jul-11 22:14:53

She's only been learning for a year but likes it a lot and there seems to be a lot of opportunity for her with it.
I hate the size of the thing, as I struggle to get it in the car and she's only 9, so can't carry it herself. Guess who gets that job?
I'm used to the piano myself so it sounded odd to suggest skipping grades, but from what you say it's no big deal.

confidence Thu 28-Jul-11 22:41:35

There are several factors here.

Learning a second instrument is always quicker and easier, in the initial stages at least, than learning the first one. So much knowledge and skill regarding rhythm, note reading etc is directly transferrable, that the initial learning on the second instrument often flies by. All you are actually doing is applying a different instrumental technique to that same knowledge and skill.

Also, learning any single-line instrument is quicker in the initial stages than the piano, because you don't have the cognitive burden of conceiving and reproducing more than one line of music at a time to deal with.

When someone learns a single line instrument first then takes up the piano, these factors cancel each other out to some extent. They will probably make quicker progress with the piano than someone taking it up from scratch, OTOH they often become frustrated and don't stick at the piano because it take so much longer to start playing fluently than they are used to.

HOWEVER, when it's the other way around, and they learn the piano first then a single line instrument, the two factors COMPOUND each other, and the second instrument is often amazingly easy. I've had advanced piano students take up wind instruments so they could play in bands and get to grade 8 in literally 3 or 4 years. It can be a whole other world of quick and easy progress.

Sometimes this is not quite so true of stringed instruments because tone and intonation are so challenging. However my understanding is that these are less of an issue on the double bass than the violin.

The double bass is a cool instrument, there are not that many people that do it and it's applicable to jazz as well as classical music. It also has the same tuning and fingering as the bass guitar, so after learning it she will be able to pick up a bass guitar virtually instantly and play in bands if she wants. It's great that her piano and theory background is helpful and she's making quick progress. Enjoy!

mymumdom Fri 29-Jul-11 09:22:52

Thanks for your long reply Confidence. That all makes a lot of sense and ties in our experience.
She's already got her eye on the bass guitar for secondary school!

Colleger Sat 10-Sep-11 23:29:12

The double bass is one of the easiet instruments to learn . DS sat grade 2 after two terms but was working on grade 4 scales and pieces but he was giving it up and as we had three other music exams we decided to opt for a very low fail-safe grade as something to show for the two terms.

I'd personally skip and do grade 3.

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