MostlyBass.com began around 1997 as a small string and music education resource. As I began writing “An Introduction to Double Bass Playing” it became the book’s companion site. Now it’s a place for me to post thoughts and resources for performers and educators.
I began playing the double bass at the age of 16 (after playing the clarinet since elementary school) when the director of my high school jazz ensemble asked if anyone would be interested in playing bass. After playing electric bass it was suggested that I learn the string bass and soon after I began orchestral studies. Within a year I knew I wanted to go into the field of music, and becoming a music teacher was the perfect choice for me. I received my Bachelor’s of Music in Music Education from the Crane School of Music in 1996. At the Crane School I studied bass with Richard Stephan. Yep – that Richard Stephan (well, it will always be Mr. Stephan in my head) known for his school orchestra compositions.
After that I taught strings in the public schools for grades 4 – 12 in Northern New York and have been adjunct faculty for cello and double bass at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. In 2000 I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign with a Master’s in Double Bass Performance, studying with Michael Cameron.
I am currently a string teacher in suburban Chicago where I teach string lessons in grades 3 – 8 and conduct the middle school concert and chamber orchestras. My chamber orchestra has advanced to the Illinois Grade School Music Association’s state level contest and received a Division I rating in 2008, 2011, and 2012. In the past I’ve led an Irish ensemble and a bass quartet.
I’ve performed around the greater Chicago area with many orchestras and rock bands. In 2000 I appeared on the Bozo Super Sunday Show to give a presentation and performance on the double bass. In the spring of 2003 I was the guest soloist for District 212 (playing the Vanhal concerto) and in spring of 2004 I performed at Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall with the Polish American Symphony Orchestra of Chicago.
I have attended classes with Michael Hovnanian of the Chicago Symphony, John Chiego, Hal Robinson of the Philadelphia Orchestra, Scott Haigh of the Cleveland Symphony, Stewart Arfman, and Erik Harris.
I have been published several times in American String Teacher, as well as websites around the world.
From 1998 – 2005 I taught at the Crane School of Music‘s summer youth program.
I am fortunate to have been on Jason Heath’s Contrabass Conversations podcast several times. Thank you!
I play a Rogeri copy bass made by Rumano Solano with a custom C extension made by Bill Merchant and a fingerboard extension by Mark Sonksen. I currently use Flat Chromesteel Strings. My other favorite strings Pirastro Obligatos. I sometimes use a Spirocore C and D’Addario Zyex). I’ve had the top thinned out and neck reset by Aaron Reiley (son of Steven Reiley). I play a German bow made by H. Cirilo.
My electric bass is a 5 string walnut Carvin Icon with 18v active electronics. My main rig is a GK MB500 through a Greenboy Bassic15 made by Barry Audio Design. My smaller rig is a GK MB200 with a Greenboy Bassic12 by JHawk Customs. I also use a Le Bass tube preamp by Two Notes Audio Engineering and a Hardwire Valve Distortion pedal.