KC Bass Workshop was founded in 2010 by John Hamil in dedication to his mentor, iconic bass educator George Vance (Progressive Repertoire for Double Bass.) After years of attending George’s workshop, John was inspired to create a similar experience for the Kansas City area.
The workshop is a
five-day annual symposium devoted to the instruction of the next generation of
bass players as well as the instruction of strings teachers in the latest
advances and innovation in bass pedagogy.
At KC Bass Workshop, we celebrate the sound of the bass. While bass players may go unnoticed, it is their artistry that aids the creation of a balanced and beautiful composition. The workshop allows bass players of all skill levels the opportunity to learn from amazing bassists from around the world.
“When we work together collectively as an instrument, it’s easier for us to make more progress on the instrument. We inspire each other, and learn from each other, kinesthetically, on an artistic and technical level by hanging out with each other for a week.” – JH
Online: fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/kcbassworkshop. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
KCBass Workshop is registered as a 501(3)c public charity. We are an organization that is worthy of your donations regardless of the event. We have a ten year record of helping students get access to the artists we bring into our city thru our scholarship fund. This should make the kcbass event possible for generations to come.
Donations made to KCBass Workshop by check or through credit card donation may or may not be regarded as a full tax deduction. Please consult with your tax adviser to be sure. This year the workshop will receive 10 percent of overall donations. The international Society of Bassists will also receive 10 percent of overall donations. Both of these organizations are full of volunteers who believe passionately of the good work each organization are doing for future bass players. The cost of doing the workshop is trying to be minimal but we are hoping to keep it to 10 percent as well. This will allow us to give the remainder directly to the bass players themselves.
fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/kcbassworkshop. Fractured Atlas is a 501(c)(3) public charity; all donations are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.
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The more people know about the bass family the better.
The Workshop Story: John Hamil met George Vance in 1997 at the International Society of Bassist convention in Houston, Texas just as he was finishing his Music Education degree from Kansas University. George’s work with young bassists inspired John to not pursue a “normal” career in teaching Orchestra or Jazz band but to set up a young bassist’s studio in his hometown of Kansas City. Under George’s tutelage and guidance, whose private studio was located in Washington DC, the Hamil studio has become highly sought by students since 1998, producing many exemplary and successful students.
Ingredients to Success: A model of teaching/learning/performing evolved through various activities. Foundational requirements of students include private lessons (30 min/week) and group lessons (45-60 min/week) on which students learn a repertoire of music (George Vance bass books). Their music is also performed in public. John was amazed how the students that didn’t come to the group lessons or performances were lacking many critical elements of what a “good” musician represented (technical skills, reading skills, listening skills, creative skills, etc.). Without teacher observance of watching students in performance, it is very difficult to observe mastery of self-learning, the ultimate goal of educating students.
Recent History: As far back as 2005, George Vance promoted the idea of having a yearly workshop in Kansas City suggesting it would be as essential as group lessons in order to raise the level of artistry. John was hesitant to tackle such a venture, as he knew it would take away from his studio and felt he needed to be financially ready to handle any shortcomings. That led him to put off such a feat until George came down with Pancreatic Cancer. The Cancer moved swiftly as it wasn’t long before John and George were having their last conversation together. In this conversation George told John, “Well it looks like I won’t be coming to that workshop you keep talking about.” This was a powerful moment as John finished saying farewell, wiped his tears and started calling people to set up the first workshop in 2010. The workshop will always be dedicated to George Vance because it carries on his lifelong work.
History of Vance Method: George Vance was the first bassist to go to Japan and work with the great violin teacher Shinichi Suzuki (founder of the Suzuki method). Suzuki promoted the great idea that all kids learn to speak their own language no matter the so-called “talent” of the child (Every Child Can). This is concept is very important, as Suzuki demonstrated that the teacher’s job is to unlock the students natural pathways to learning and to provide the nurturing that they need to succeed. Most places of error occur when we are confused by to much information. George took years to write the Progressive Repertoire for Double Bass books (six books and Scale book Vade Me Cum) that reflected all of Dr. Suzuki’s teachings. Much like the violin method the books start with a major concerto and work back to the simplest motions of performing the bass (the most vital learning is the posture, the second the bow arm, and the last, fingerboard hand). For the bass world this was very innovating because most of the bass methods all started with only being concerned about the left hand at the sacrifice of the two other requirements, which gave bassists very bad physical and mental handicaps to overcome. Once the physical movement is achieved then the expression of the artist can be heard. Suzuki’s great work was more than just teaching, as he was making great human beings thru his subject, the student and the violin. George translated those same humanistic concepts to the bass.
Vance and Rabbath: Another factor that must be adhered to is the environment that the artist exists in. Music represents our language and our society, building upon itself over thousands of years. The ability to acknowledge that our language is always changing ensures that we can express ourselves in society, prepared to overcome any and all areas of suffering and injustice. As in life, we see some events as setbacks, just as we view many events as moving forward. In music, the more we provide an environment of great artistry, the easier the mental handicap to advance disappears. This concept is more than just technique but a unique way of thinking through life. Being able to creatively solve any issue you are facing is the greatest asset any generation can give to the next. George Vance was adamant that a true artist, Francois Rabbath, be commissioned to record the accompanying CD. Rabbath, as a person, represents one of the highest levels of artistic mastery, creativity, and great humanity, thus providing a great model for the next generations. Vance also believed that group classes, performances, and workshops were key to foster bass players to let their natural abilities grow. Likewise, Dr. Suzuki embedded the belief that parents should provide such an environment and taught parents how to nurture with love. George Vance’s somewhat controversial decision to intertwine Rabbath’s technique with the series of bass instruction books will be highlighted in this year’s workshop (more info at kcbassworkshop.com)
Today and the Future: John Hamil serves as the kcbassworkshop camp administrator. and KCBassfest curator. This year is the 11th year. John believes that the many styles of music represent many great variations of cultures. Some cultures are older and some are younger but each has their greatness. Therefore, no style of music is superior to the other. Additionally, there is hardly any style of music that does not have a bassline as an integral part of music. This is why the bass is such a great instrument to put one’s life’s work into. This is also why the workshop focuses on classical and jazz traditions, as well as all styles of music. The workshop holds no boundaries to age group, style, or level of performance. Bass players have a tendency to be great listeners and supporters by nature. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time that as we listen better to each other, we create a better world through music. John hopes that more people will start to understand this connection and continue playing the bass as more than a hobby. He also hopes that more parents will start their child on the bass at young ages for these reasons. The week also works as a bass symposium call KCBASSFEST in which great concerts open to the public that invites the whole region in to get inspired also. Many of the concerts presented by kcbassfestand has been reviewed by music critique of the KC Star Robert Trussell as one of the best 5 he reviewed in that year.
Some cultures are older and some are younger but each has their greatness. Therefore, no style of music is superior to the other. Additionally, there is hardly any style of music that does not have a bassline as an integral part of music. This is why the bass is such a great instrument to put one’s life’s work into. This is also why the workshop focuses on classical and jazz traditions, as well as all styles of music. The workshop holds no boundaries to age group, style, or level of performance. Bass players have a tendency to be great listeners and supporters by nature. Therefore, it’s only a matter of time that as we listen better to each other, we create a better world through music. The week also works as a bass symposium in which great concerts open to the public that invites the whole region in to get inspired also. The Francois Rabbath concert last year was reviewed by music critique of the KC Star Robert Trussell as one of the best 5 he reviewed in 2013. this all in turn benefits the public as it helps to help our Classical KC symphony build the next generation of artists, and concert attendees for our new Kaufman center, It also helps preserve KC’s rich heritage of Jazz tradition, and helps inspire and connect the great original rock, pop, and rap scene that exists in the city.