In this installment of our Study with Strings Students series, double bassist Ben Foerster shares his tips for playing the bass solo from Variaciones Concertantes by Alberto Ginastera, composed in 1953.
Age You Started Playing: I started playing bass at age 11.
What You Are Studying: I am currently in my second year of my masters of music in double bass performance at DePaul University.
Why You Love Playing: I love playing my instrument because I love making music with all of my colleagues and sharing this art with everyone that I can.
The solo is orchestrated with a harp, making it imperative to maintain proper control over the bow speed and volume. This is a tricky excerpt when it comes to bow control and tone quality. Foerster shares three exercises he does daily to work on tone control and bow quality.
- Long tone practice with a metronome. Allow the instrument to do its job through the collections of long tones in this exercise.
- Slowly bowed scales. Focusing on the changes between the notes and creating pure, open tones.
- Moving from a slow bow speed to a fast bow speed, and back again. Doing this over scales is helpful, especially for delicate and passionate solo.
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