The double bassist offered advice from his playing and teaching career in our June 2011 issue

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This was first published in the June 2011 issue of The Strad

I tell all my students to ‘follow their own drummer’. This unique inner voice is the strongest motivational tool.

As a kid I played in an orchestra accompanying Jack Benny. Every night he would say to the audience: ‘No one expects anything from my playing, so whatever they get is gravy.’ When I started out, most of the audience expected nothing from a double bass soloist. What they got was a surprise, and thankfully they came back for more.

Practise recording before you go into the studio – your perception of sound and nuances of volume, vibrato, intonation and clarity of technique will be very different to what the microphones hear.

Compromise, compromise, compromise! Flexibility in music results in many fulfilling rewards. Nothing is more inspiring than musical ideas, whether they come from composers, conductors or members of an orchestra.

I would much rather be a low-income musician than a rich banker, because of the special quality of life that music offers. After all, music is life.

If chocolate could sing, it would sound like a double bass! It has a dark, but sweet quality. It’s sexy, sensual and inspires love. It’s rich, irresistible and luscious. It can also be silky, acidic, bitter and salty. No matter how you describe it, it demands an immediate physical response.

This was first published in the June 2011 issue of The Strad

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