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Progressive Repertoire for the Double Bass, Vol. 1 (Book & MP3) Paperback – March 15, 2000
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"So, you have an excellent bass player who needs some extra challenges. But, the rest of your orchestra can't handle the bass literature that offers that challenge. The Progressive Repertoire is an excellent resource of graded solos that one could compare to the Suzuki series for violin, viola, and cello. The benefit of these is that they were arranged by an excellent bass pedagogue using his fingering method that introduces the higher positions first, which I've been told helps the beginning bass player's comfort level since the arm and shoulder are at a more normal level for starters. The pieces are based on octaves, fifths and fourths in the first book, which is an excellent foundation for aural training. Each book comes with a CD of Francois Rabbath performing the pieces, which is helpful as well." --Nebraska Music Educator, April 2010
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Vance's method is based on Francois Rabbath's Nouvelle Technique, in which the entire neck is covered in only six positions, defined by natural string harmonics. Extensions and pivots make it possible to play the full range of notes without excessive shifting. Some teachers have been resistent to Rabbath's pedagogy, but my experience has been that it is a real advance in DB technique, both in terms of teaching, and in terms of performance.
While Simandl concentrates on preparing the student to play in an orchestra section, Rabbath and Vance concentrate more on the double bassist as soloist. My own interest in double bass is playing jazz, but I find that the Rabbath system gives me exactly the kind of flexibility and facility I need.
Teachers unfamiliar with these books really should give them a look- and a listen; each comes with a CD of Rabbath himself playing the pieces and exercises, so the student can work on developing musicality along with technique. Players studying Simandl- even advanced players- will find these books eye opening as well.
One thing that IS good about the book is that it covers the entire bass. There is a lot of variety in what it covers. Again, you'll probably be bogged down if you go start to finish, but if you use the book liberally and skip around, you'll really cover the entire bass. I am using one of the songs for a simple church performance because it's fairly basic, but has a nice melody to it. But most importantly, it uses the entire bass, so the performance gives a great overview of the full range of sounds that the bass provides - not just the deep sounds that people expect.