RDYB’s First Ever Teacher Education Class

Calling all teachers interested in learning more about the bass !

The Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists Inc. is hosting for the first time ever an opportunity for educators to earn graduate credit by attending the annual bass conference.

This course offering grew out of a presentation at the WI state music educator’s conference two years ago, where RDYB alumni Ben Ferris assembled a panel of ‘bass experts’ including Richard Davis to answer questions of public school teachers related to the bass. Despite it being the first session of the day (7 am on a Friday) the panel discussion was packed to standing room only. Teachers had a lot of questions about the bass ! The Wisconsin Center for Music Education and Wisconsin School Music Association wanted to continue offering this opportunity for their member teachers and thought of the Richard Davis Foundation as the perfect venue for the class.

The fact that for many young people, their primary means of music education at an early age is through their public school, combined with the frequent situation where their orchestra or band director does not have a large knowledge of bass pedagogy or instrument set ups usually puts young bass players in a school group at a disadvantage, overcome in later years as they find a private lesson teacher or go to college. Giving teachers the knowledge and tools to set their young bass players on the right track is right in line with the mission of the Richard Davis Foundation.

Long before the idea of adding on a graduate course to the annual conference for young bassists was even an idea, Richard Davis regularly did run-out calls at the request of teachers who were at a loss for how to bring their struggling bass players up to speed with the rest of their orchestra. School teachers have also informally participated in the bass conference to watch their students or to learn more about the bass in years past, despite there not being any set aside curriculum for them.

For this new offering, curriculum developed by RDYB alumna, Liz Clawson will be used for a class taught by John Kennedy. Kennedy, similar to Ferris, has taught courses in his home state of Michigan, where he is a member of the ASTA and MSBOA. A public school teacher himself in addition to an accomplished bassist, Kennedy is no stranger to the challenges of teaching bass in the public school, and therefore is a natural fit to lead the first RDYB for teachers course this spring.

The course will parallel the young bassists program and is therefore being held on the same weekend, same time and place as the young bassists conference (April 14-15, 2017). The course’s curriculum will include a mix of playing, teaching, Q&A, observing and reflecting.

Registration is now open and is available to both prospective teachers (college students) and to current teachers. The course is only asking for a donation (suggested $250 or $100) and will be a separate fee from the enrollment fees for graduate credits. A representative of the WI Center for Music Education will be a the conference to enroll teachers in graduate credit if they want that.

Questions can be directed to Catherine Harris, Executive Director at rdbassconference@gmail.com .