Different types of students


One of the things that struck me from the music method definition is that it assumes a linear approach. As a Jazz bass teacher, I noticed that a linear approach seldom works for the majority of the students. Jazz double bass players typically come from many different backgrounds (which is more often the case for the double bass than for other instruments), as one seldom starts to play the double bass at a young age, without any prior knowledge of music. More often than not, bass students have played different instruments and or styles before they started to play Jazz double bass. So, there is not such a thing as a ‘standard bass student’. In my opinion a modulair approach to teaching Jazz double bass is more effective. I defined three main categories to illustrate this.


Classical background

Students with a background in classical music are usually have a background of classical double bass, cello or another bowed string instrument. They already have a good control of their instrument. Intonation, scales and bowing techniques are on a high level. They are being challenged in improvisation, rhythm and knowledge of harmony and other more typical Jazz skills.


 Students with classical background



  • Good reading skills
  • Improvisation
  • Good bowing technique
  • Rhythm
  • Good intonation
  • Harmony
  • Basic scale knowledge
  • Repertoire


  • Pizzicato technique 

Rock background

Students with a pop/rock/blues/funk background usually started playing bass guitar or (electric) guitar and their interest for the double bass developed from their wish to play Jazz. They need to learn to play the double bass from scratch as the double bass is more related to the violin family, like the bass guitar is part of the guitar family. They have a good sense of rhythm and a basic sense of harmony.


 Students with Rock background



  • Good rhythm
  • Control of instrument
  • Basic improvisation
  • Sight reading
  • Good band playing
  • Complex Jazz harmony
  • Basic understanding of harmony
  • Bowing

Jazz Background
It is rare but there are students that start with double bass Jazz straight away. In this group I also include the people that changed to the bass soon after they started playing music. Usually they are young adults or adults, fans of Jazz. Usually they have good sense of the double bass.


 Students with Jazz background



  • Good instrument control
  • Bowing
  • Good pizzicato 
  • Sight reading
  • Good knowledge of harmony 
  • Odd meter
  • Good knowledge of repertoire 



jazz double bass

in the

21st century

By Tony Overwater