Letter from a Parent of a Young Bassist

This says it all – Received from a parent of a young bassist April 26, 2019. (This letter was edited to remove students names.)


Dear Richard Davis Bass Conference Clinicians, Organizers and Participants,

We are completely humbled and honored by our experience at the 26th Richard Davis Bass Conference. Our kids, the youngest bassist and cellist in the siblings band, have no idea how lucky they were to be able to taught and mentored by such talented musicians! As parents, our hearts grew ten fold, while we listened all of the thoughtful advice that our kids received. What a lucky draw that we stumbled upon this conference on the internet! Richard’s vision of a supportive community shone through each and every minute of the conference. What an honor to have been able to be part of it!

Our experience started with an intimate conversation with Victor Wooten. As parents, we want to be just like Victor’s mom. She told her sons that the world is already full of great musicians, but that what the world really needs is more nice people! Victor, Steve and Dave talked at length how important it is to be a team player and have a good personality and how those can be the determining factors when bands and groups are looking for new musicians. Another great advice from Victor was that in life you will have a disadvantage if you do not know how to read and write. The same goes for musicians, if you do not know how to read and write music, you will be at a disadvantage.

When Peter opened the Faculty Concert with O Cantador, we got goose bumps all over. Paul’s Patrick Henry blew our minds! Paul has such a unique, almost lyrical way of playing the bass. He is a great addition to the faculty and we hope to see one of his groups play soon! The Faculty concert was one of the best we’ve ever heard. So many talented musicians. So many styles of music and ways of playing the bass. The last song, Misterioso, with all of the Clinicians was the highlight of the concert. Thank you for such a wonderful treat!

Our son had the opportunity to play in the Chamber Ensemble with Dan Chmielinksi. Dan was so good with the students! He prompted and guided the students to create the bass line, melody and the counter melody. Then the ensemble arranged the piece, practiced it and performed it at the student concert. This was our son’s favorite part of the conference. We think that Dan has everything going for himself and look forward to following his career!

Ah, how lucky are all of Ben Ferris’s students! He shone on stage with the Bass Orchestra! Thank you Ben for uplifting the students. They sounded great! We loved the varied songs of the Bass Orchestra. It was so much fun to listen to jazz, classical and tango music at the student’s concert!

We loved the bass conference and can’t wait to come back next year! Let’s stay in touch! And what will we ask our kids to do until we see you, we will ask them to do as Richard tells us to do… PRACTICE!

Kind Regards,

The Family of a Young Bassist 

2019 Student Recital FAQ


What exactly is a recital?

Recital Definition

At the Richard Davis Young Bassists’ Conference, recital is usually given solo or with piano accompaniment. Our wonderful accompanist, Beth Wilson is a highly in-demand professional pianist in the Madison area who has been accompanying bassists for over 25 years (Ps. Her own son is a bassist too!). 

Who will be there watching?

Your peers, family members, will be there, and some RDYB Faculty will be there too, listening to the recitals, writing personalized comments for each soloist to help them in their bass playing development. 

What if I’m nervous? 

Being nervous is natural. Remember that we are all here to support each other and learn. There are lots of bassists around all weekend who have been nervous before too – find someone and ask them how they overcome or control nervous feelings. 

What if I’m not in a recital? 

You have the opportunity to listen to your peers. This is a great chance to see great bass playing up close, and to hear/learn about new music that you might be interested in learning and playing.  

What time are the recitals? 

This year, recitals will be at 11am on Friday and 11am on Saturday. See how recitals fit into the rest of the weekend’s activities by looking at a past year’s schedule. Your personalized schedule that you get when you check in Friday Morning will look something like this.  

Will I have a chance to practice with the piano part before the performance? 

Yes! You will arrange a time sometime before 11.00 on the day of your recital with the accompanist. We will introduce everyone to all of the conference faculty, including Beth, Friday morning in our welcome meeting (9am!). 

Full 2019 Recital Schedule