One-on-One Bass Lessons: Building An Effective Walking Bassline

Here’s a short clip of my one-on-one bass class at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde Music Production Department (student name: Zildjan Benitez). An effective walking bassline should outline the harmony horizontally since the bass is essentially a monophonic instrument.

Lecture and Workshop: Concepts for Beginning Improvisation (2nd Session)

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For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting the 2nd or 3 sessions of lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation this Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The 2nd session will deal more on motivic development and the concept of target notes based on a simple guide tone line.

As before, we will begin the session with a short lecture and demonstration. Proceeding right after the lecture is a workshop for students. I strongly encourage those attending to bring their instruments and participate in this workshop.

See you all on Wednesday, March 11.

Finale 2014: Preparing Classroom Exercises

Here’s a quick Finale 2014 tip for educators. When preparing exercises for students, especially for harmony and voicing exercises, I usually want to separate each measure into small adjacent staff systems for students to write on. The way to do this is to go to “Page Layout” and uncheck “Avoid Margin Collisions”. This will let you move individual staff systems to wherever you want.

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If you want to place the whole note in the middle of the measure, you will need to download a JW Plugin called “JW Change. This plugin does a lot of things, including moving the note entry horizontally within a measure.

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Here’s a video of how I did my class exercise in Finale 2014.

 

Lecture and Workshop: Concepts for Beginning Improvisation

JCM Improv Lecture Poster

For students at De La Salle College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, I will be conducting a series of monthly lectures and workshops on concepts for beginning improvisation starting this Wednesday, Feb 4, 2015.

The short lectures I prepared are primarily aimed to create interest in the art of improvisation using simple musical concepts such as arpeggios and scales. To students who already have a background in improvisation, these lectures serve as a different perspective to some of the concepts they already know. The prepared musical examples and performances are mostly in the jazz idiom, though the lecture contents can be applied to other styles of music which requires the performer to add improvised lines. The contents in each session is geared towards a melodic approach to improvisation; ideas on how to start a motif, how to develop a motif, creating contour and contrast throughout the whole form,  tension and release ideas, etc.

After the short lectures, a workshop/semi-masterclass session will follow. During the workshop portion of the event, students are encouraged to come up on stage with their instruments and improvise on a simple chord progression. I will then throw in some suggestions that may work as idea-generating tools using simple concepts (ex: arpeggios and scales). Performance and ensemble playing are also taken into consideration in the workshop portion, which is structured as a masterclass session.

 

Bass Doubling

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As a bass player, I regularly come across performances that require me to double on instruments. Typical combination would be Electric Bass Guitar and Upright Bass or Electric Upright Bass. Sometimes i also encounter instances where i need a fretted and a fretless bass; and in some occassions i need a synth keyboard bass for those electronic dance tunes or old-school disco / funk gigs aside from my standard electric bass guitar.

The most critical piece of equipment for me as a doubler is my instrument selector switch / pedal. This is where both instruments are plugged in and sent to one amp; choosing instruments via toggle switch. My current switch is the Radial Engineering Bigshot I/O. The switch has a small volume knob which balances the volume between the two instruments. Another feature that i find very important is that it does not require any power source to use. This allows me to keep it plugged-in the whole night without worrying about the battery.

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Anderson Babcock (Australian Short Film)

My first international film scoring experience. All music related discussions, from the director spotting sessions to the final mixing, were done over emails and dropbox file transfers. It was quite an experience.

Cool thing about this film score is that the director wanted a “Mariachi” feel for the whole movie. I did a bit of research on Mexican Mariachi styles before finishing the OBB music (which they also used as music for the trailer).

The short film was premiered in Sydney, Australia on June 2014. Produced by Leah James and directed by Charlie Mortimer.