this course will not be offered in 2021. Please contact to inquire about future offerings.

Course Description 

This workshop is designed to give music teachers a review of instructional methods for the double bass through a variety of activities including hands on learning, lectures, performances, and observations. This course provides teachers with a variety of tools and techniques to teach important facets of bass playing including bow hold, posture, instrument sizing and setup, shifting, extended techniques, and level appropriate considerations for the orchestra ensemble, bass chamber ensemble, and individual bassists. Additionally, this course will review teaching tips and techniques specific to bassists at any level of learning. 


The Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc. is in its 24th year of developing rising generations of musicians by ensuring young bassists access to a diversity of inspiring teachers and bass masters. Exposure to the most prestigious teachers and performers in the world in many musical styles expands the horizon of the student in terms of how they perceive their own potential and that of the bass itself. Additionally, young bassists have the potential for developing personally as well as musically through the development of peer networks and mentoring relationships with teachers and bass masters. Because of a genuinely diverse faculty across personal identities and musical interests, the Foundation exposes youth to a wide variety of future possible selves and thus encourages students to find their musical voice, while performing at a high level, whatever their preferred style is. By providing these young people with affordable, high quality training, instruments and scholarships, they may approach college age better prepared to take advantage of scholarships and maximize their talents and abilities. The Richard Davis Foundation is committed to ensuring that the tools for success are made available to students. 

Workshop Presenters : Liz Clawson and John Kennedy.


At the conclusion of this course, participants will:

  • Identify, demonstrate, and describe
    • Appropriate bass set-up and sizing, and endpin height for students of all ages and sizes
    • Proper bass posture while holding an upright bass
    • A proper French and German bow hold, bow contact points and bow lanes, and techniques to teach these bow holds to students at a variety of ages 
    • Healthy left hand set-up, left hand shifting, and techniques and tools to teach proper left hand techniques to students of a variety of ages and abilities
    • A variety of common bow strokes including legato, marcato, hooked, staccato, and spiccatto as well as techniques to teach these to bassists with a variety of ages and abilities
    • Extended techniques such as harmonics and thumb position
  • Perform on an upright bass 
    • Basic scales and songs with appropriate choices in finger patterns and shifts 
    • Beginning and intermediate works for bass chamber ensemble as part of the RDYB final evening concert
  • Identify age and experience appropriate repertoire for beginning, intermediate, and advanced bassists in solo, chamber, and orchestral settings
  • Describe and implement proper care and maintenance for upright basses
  • List some of the popular bass works, and contemporary bassists

Outline of content

This course is offered alongside the Richard Davis Young Bassists Conference. As a result, participants will learn from world-renowned artists, professors, and pedagogues of the double bass who are clinicians at the conference. Participants will have opportunities to observe these clinicians as they lead student warm-ups, observe clinicians performing in a clinician concert, and learn from clinicians in lectures, Q&A sessions, and hands-on breakout sessions. Participants will also have the opportunity to rehearse and perform on the double bass alongside student participants of the RDYB conference at the student concert. 

Tentative Schedule 

Day 1: 

9:00 am – General Welcome Remarks 

9:30 – Observe student warm-up class and Overview 

10am – Beginning Techniques – introduction to bass set up, sizing, posture, left and right hand technique, and bow hold

11am – Break out session – hands-on learning and teaching with beginning methods   

12pm – Lunch 

1pm – Method books and repertoire for the beginning bassist 

2pm – Intermediate methods – shifting, bow strokes, vibrato, etc.

3pm – Break out session – hands-on learning and teaching with advanced methods – first rehearsal for concert

4pm – Method books and repertoire for the intermediate bassist 

5pm – Dinner break 

7pm – Clinician concert 

Day 2: 

9am – Observe warm-up class 

9:15am – Advanced Techniques for bass – bow strokes, thumb position, harmonics, etc. 

10am – Method books and repertoire for the advanced bassist  

11am – Tools for teaching bass /preparing bassists for college 

12 pm – Lunch 

1pm – Break out session – hands-on learning with advanced techniques (second rehearsal for concert) 

2pm – Q&A with clinicians

3pm – Care and maintenance of basses 

4pm – (history of bass/ intonation and warm-ups) – final review 

5pm – Dinner break 

7pm – Student concert  – Participants perform repertoire from break-out sessions  

For Teachers Pursuing Continuing Education Credits:

For those interested in taking the class for credit, they will also register with Edgewood for desired amount of (1, 2, or 3) credits.

Edgewood Enrollment Instruction

WI Standards: 

Wisconsin State Teacher Standards addressed – 1, 4, 6, 7, 9

The following are the Wisconsin State Standards for Instrumental Music Educators, as listed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (

  1. Teachers know the subjects they are teaching.

The teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines she or he teaches and can create learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for pupils.

  • Teachers know how children grow.

The teacher understands how children with broad ranges of ability learn and provides instruction that supports their intellectual, social, and personal development.

  • Teachers understand that children learn differently.

The teacher understands how pupils differ in their approaches to learning and the barriers that impede learning and can adapt instruction to meet the diverse needs of pupils, including those with disabilities and exceptionalities.

  • Teachers know how to teach.

The teacher understands and uses a variety of instructional strategies, including the use of technology, to encourage children’s development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.

  • Teachers know how to manage a classroom.

The teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.

  • Teachers communicate well.

The teacher uses effective verbal and nonverbal communication techniques as well as instructional media and technology to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.

  • Teachers are able to plan different kinds of lessons.

The teacher organizes and plans systematic instruction based upon knowledge of subject matter, pupils, the community, and curriculum goals.

  • Teachers know how to test for student progress.

The teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the pupil.

  • Teachers are able to evaluate themselves.

The teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually evaluates the effects of his or her choices and actions on pupils, parents, professionals in the learning community and others and who actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally.

  1. Teachers are connected with other teachers and the community.

The teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support pupil learning and well-being and acts with integrity, fairness and in an ethical manner.

Americans With Disabilities Act

If you are a student with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services, or other accommodations for this class, please see the instructor to discuss your accommodation needs.