Orchestra Chops Vol. 1 is an online course by Joseph Conyers.
This course is designed for bassists wanting to improve their classical double bass playing through a series of focussed orchestral excerpts. It's also a great fit for those preparing for orchestral auditions as it features popular audition excerpts. It comprises 46 lessons over three hours of video and covers six detailed orchestral excerpts:
- Richard Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Overture (mm. 158-207)
- Wolfgang Amadeus, Mozart Symphony No. 39 in E♭ major, Introduction and Exposition (movement I: mm. 13-21 and mm. 40-97)
- Ludwig van Beethoven, Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Scherzo and Trio (movement III: mm. 1-100 and mm. 140-218)
- Gustav Mahler, Symphony No. 1 in D major, bass solo from movement III (mm. 3-10)
Transcriptions of all the excerpts and exercises are included, so you have everything you need to practice at home. Joseph goes through each musical example in detail, creating etudes out of the excerpts and focussing on techniques such as shifting, articulations, fingering choices, phrasing, breathing, rhythm and much more. He shares his thorough approach to the pieces to create engaging and technical performances to help you win that audition or simply improve your classical playing.
This course is available to stream online, exclusively at Discover Double Bass.
Joseph Conyers is a committed performer, educator and director based in Philadelphia. He has been the assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra since 2010 and teaches double bass at The Juilliard School, NY. He is also director of the music education and leadership nonprofit Project 440.
I love excerpts! There is so much to discover in each one - strokes to analyze, fingerings to explore, and musical ideas to dive into - all critical concepts that can enhance one's playing regardless of the repertoire. I hope you have as much fun diving into these lessons as I had making them!
What will I learn?
The 46 video lessons cover a wide range of techniques that arise in the six orchestral excerpts on this course. These include:
- How the excerpts fit with the orchestra
- Fingerings and bowings
- ...and much more
Joseph performs all the excerpts and exercises so you can hear them while following the transcriptions provided on the course. He also gives his top tips for winning the audition.
Who's this course not for?
It's not suitable for complete beginner students as it assumes a basic knowledge of classical bass techniques and music reading.
Start06. Wagner, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg – Overture: mm. 158 to 207 (2:01)
Start07. Bowing Exercise #1 - m. 158 (2:57)
Start08. Bowing Exercise #2 (3:15)
Start09. Bowing Exercise #3 - m. 159 (2:02)
Start10. The Quarter Notes - m. 160 (1:18)
Start11. Putting it Together (1:05)
Start12. Rhythm – Keep counting! (2:18)
Start13. Eighth Note Strokes: Martele and Scrub-a-dub (6:46)
Start14. Triplet Strokes (1:17)
Start15. The Trill (4:40)
Start16. Musical Concerns (4:23)
Detailed notation of the excerpts and exercises are included. These PDFs are displayed on the lesson pages and can be downloaded if required.
Here's what's being said about the course:
"Professor Conyers' passion for music is evident from these lessons, and it's no wonder that he was selected to join the Double Bass section of the renowned Philadelphia Orchestra. Bravo, Joe and thank you, Discover Double Bass!"
- Bernard Resnick
"DDB really approached this one spot on. Much different than watching a Youtube master class - this really drills down at the note/measure/phrase level imparting articulation, fingerings, vibrato and expressiveness that can be watched over and over again."
- Cooke Harvey
"Joseph's course is wonderful. Every lesson has a great imagination that brings all the teaching to life. My bowing has seen the greatest improvement with 'scooping' and 'hot dogs' being among my favourites. Joseph's course will nurture and build the skills of any student. Thank you so much Geoff, Joseph, and all at DDB."
- Katherine M.
"Not being classical trained, this course showed me an approach to problem-solving for bow movements and fingering that changed my way of listening to double bass in classical music."
- Alessandro Fattorini
This course contains invaluable advice, guidance and instruction that will make a real difference to your orchestral performances.