Contrabass Conversations double bass life

561: College Audition Prep

Jan. 31, 2019

This episode is a rebroadcast of one of those astoundingly complex projects that I love digging into! 

We’re featuring questions from double bass student Baylee Brown (still a high school student at the time of this recording and now a student at Boston University), which are answered by 27 noted double bass faculty members.  This idea was suggested by University of Texas at Arlington bass faculty member Jack Unzicker, who help design and execute this project.

A big shout-out to Baylee, Jack, and all of the faculty who took their valuable time to answer these questions!

Here’s the list of questions and the order in which they are covered:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages to attending a conservatory vs. a university?
  2. How many schools should I audition for?
  3. What are some common preparation mistakes that you see auditioning students making?
  4. Besides the bass teacher, what other factors should I consider when comparing schools?
  5. Other than Performance, Music Ed, and Jazz, what other options are available for undergrads?
  6. How early should students start preparing for their college auditions?
  7. I am interested in auditioning at six schools; is there any flexibility in audition requirements that could help lessen the amount of combined repertoire for all of the schools?
  8. How can I keep from getting overwhelmed by the audition repertoire requirements from the different schools for which I’m auditioning?
  9. How do I ask for a lesson with the teacher for whom I’m auditioning? Do I pay them/ask about payment?
  10. I play the German bow; how important is it that I study with a German bow teacher?

Learn more about each of the faculty members and their programs through the links below:

Learn more about over 100 other United States college double bass programs in our colleges guide!


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D'Addario Strings

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Upton Bass String Instrument Company

Upton's Karr Model Upton Double Bass represents an evolution of our popular first Karr model, refined and enhanced with further input from Gary Karr. Since its introduction, the Karr Model with its combination of comfort and tone has gained a loyal following with jazz and roots players. The slim, long “Karr neck” has even become a favorite of crossover electric players.


Steve Swan String Bass

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Kolstein Music

The Samuel Kolstein Violin Shop was founded by Samuel Kolstein in 1943 as a Violin and Bow making establishment in Brooklyn, New York. Now on Long Island, over 60 years later, Kolstein’s has built a proud reputation for quality, craftsmanship and expertise in both the manufacture and repair of a whole range of stringed instruments, and has expanded to a staff of twelve experts in restoration, marketing and production.

The Bass Violin Shop

The Bass Violin Shop offers the Southeast’s largest inventory of laminate, hybrid and carved double basses. Whether you are in search of the best entry-level laminate, or a fine pedigree instrument, there is always a unique selection ready for you to try. Trade-ins and consignments welcome!

A440 Violin Shop

An institution in the Roscoe Village neighborhood for over 20 years, A440's commitment to fairness and value means that we have many satisfied customers from the local, national, and international string playing communities. Our clients include major symphony orchestras, professional orchestra and chamber music players, aspiring students, amateur adult players, all kinds of fiddlers, jazz and commercial musicians, university music departments, and public schools.

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