As the Schubert Ensemble performs its 35th and final season, its double bass player reflects on lessons learned the hard way
The following is an extract of a larger ‘Life Lessons’ interview with the members of the Schubert Ensemble in The Strad’s March 2018 issue. To read further, download now on desktop computer or via the The Strad App, or buy the print edition
I’ve learnt not to try so hard! I loved playing rugby at school, where the coach was a tough Yorkshireman who demanded conspicuous physical effort and, as a result, the team became very good, and I went into tackles as strong and tense as possible. I took the same physical approach to the bass and, at first, people complimented the results.
I played like this for years, injuring myself and recovering only to injure myself again. It was beginning to threaten my career when I learnt that less effort and less tension produce bigger, better and more musical results. Lessons in Alexander technique showed me a new way that now forms the basis of my whole approach to playing.