Many of today's most successful bass players began their careers at Berklee. Esperanza Spalding, Victor Bailey, Jeff Berlin, Annie Clements, John Myung, Ira Coleman, Matt Garrison, Noriko Ueda, Lincoln Goines, Abraham Laboriel, Michael Manring, Bryan Beller, Kai Eckhart, and Neil Stubenhaus are a few of the bass heroes who have walked the halls here, and, like all of our students, were looking toward a future in the music business.
Many came to Berklee because of who and what we are: the world's largest independent music school and the premier institution for the study of today's music. Others came because they were inspired by one, or more, of our many thousands of graduates who apply their artistry in concert halls, clubs, recording studios, and music schools the world over.
Watch Chuks Okpu perform "Chuk for Chick" at the Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN) studios:
In keeping with the college's mission statement, the Bass Department at Berklee offers the most comprehensive bass education to be found anywhere. We provide individualized instruction for both electric bass and acoustic bass, allowing the student to target either of these as a principal instrument. Our world-class, professional faculty are specialists in a plethora of styles, including rock, jazz, funk, gospel, metal, latin, fusion, and pop. Their credits run the gamut from Weather Report to Willie Nelson; from Madonna to Jethro Tull; from Paquito D’Rivera to Dizzy Gillespie; from the Boston Pops to Mike Stern—and all points in between. Our custom curriculum is carefully and efficiently designed to transform weaknesses into strengths and passions into professions. Myriad playing opportunities abound, enabling our students to apply what they have learned in a “real world” environment.
We are keenly aware of how the bass integrates into the complex and technologically advanced music world of this new millennium. Traditionally, the successful bassist needed to possess fundamental groove chops, studio skills, stylistic diversity, and effective communication skills. Most of today's successful bassists also possess solo bass skills, chordal accompaniment techniques, fretless accuracy, and a solid understanding of the ever-changing spectrums of technology, along with the ability to utilize it. The Berklee Bass Department is committed to making all of this a reality for our current students/future pros.
Always on the cutting-edge, Berklee was the first music school to recognize the electric bass as a legitimate instrument. Recent artist residencies, clinics, and master classes—featuring Ron Carter, John Patitucci, Victor Wooten, Marcus Miller, Tony Levin, John Clayton, Eddie Gomez, Dave Ellefson, James Jamerson Jr., Abraham Laboriel, Bakithi Kumalo, and others—underscore Berklee’s commitment to our students, and our efforts to offer them the best bass education possible.
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