Bass Guitar

This section provides training in all styles with elements of improvisation available for this relatively young instrument: from the early years with blues, jazz, rock, latin, soul, funk and fusion to comtemporary  styles including electronic jazz, rhythmically advanced jazz and contemporary music. The course aims to train students to become creative all-round bass guitarists with a personal style and awareness of the traditions.

In addition to teachers Theo de Jong, David de Marez Oyens, LenĂ© te Voortwis, Jeroen Vierdag, Phaedra Kwant, and Glenn Gaddum Jr (regular guest teacher) such guest teachers as Gary Willis, Jeff Berlin, Tim Lefevbre, Dominique DiPiazza, Reggie Washington, and Kai Eckhardt also contribute considerably to the course.

Co-ordinator: David de Marez Oyens

Admission requirements
There is a preselection by means of a recording of three pieces - at least two of these pieces should be in the jazz idiom; the third one is the candidate's choice - to be uploaded to the application form by the candidate. If the candidate's playing on the recording does not match the required level, they will not be invited to the entrance examination. 

During the entrance examination, the candidate is tested on:

1. Playing skill

  1. The committee will choose from three pieces prepared by the candidate which show that he/she both masters his/her instrument and has a reasonable rhythmic, harmonic and melodic understanding. This means that a complete repetition of existing arrangements or classic pieces is not appreciated, because this shows little of the candidate's skill (take this into account especially when selecting pop and fusion pieces).
  2. Being able to play all major and minor scales and triads at a reasonable tempo.

The committee reserves the right to interrupt the candidate's playing as according to the committee, he/she has supplied enough information (because of the limited time of 30 minutes). Therefore it is important for the candidate to show his/her skills as quickly as possible: not too many and/or too long solos of fellow players, no unnecessary repetitions.

It is not required to play 'swing'; the committee prefers to hear candidates play the music they feel related to.

2. Hearing, tempo/timing and reading skills
The committee supplements the examination with some exercises which must show the candidate's skill which have not been sufficiently disclosed up till then. This may consist of:

  • accompanying by ear an unknown simple piece, without any previous information
  • repeating by ear a sung or played line
  • playing of a self-selected part at a given tempo (clicktrack)
  • filling in (accompanying/solo playing of a harmonic progression to given chord symbols)
  • playing of a written bass line/melody

3. Assessment
The possibilities to follow a principal subject study will be discussed by the committee.

Important issues for the assessment are:

  1. musicality, hearing and melodic understanding (also in bass lines), and the ability to relate this to the instrument
  2. feeling for rhythm and tempo
  3. affinity with the instrument and the music styles which are directly connected with it

but besides these also:

  1. harmonic understanding, reading chords
  2. technique, tone quality
  3. sight reading

The candidate must submit via the application form three links (YouTube, Soundlink etc). to audio or video recordings of their performances. On the basis of these materials, the committee will assess the candidate's level. If the candidate's level meets the requirements for the master's degree programme, the candidate may be invited to do a practical audition. During the audition the candidate will play three songs:

  • one original composition
  • one jazz-standard
  • one solo piece for bass guitar

Candidates may bring their own accompaniment. It is also possible to be accompanied by CvA accompaniment, please state your preference on your application form.


About the bass guitar entrance exam

Please click here if you still have some questions or if you want performance feedback.

Please note, in order to receive feedback you must have applied for the entrance exam. We hope this makes it easier to prepare for the entrance exam. Good luck.

The bass guitar faculty