Bass Faculty

Tom Appleman

Assistant Professor, Bass | 617 747-8498

"We play a lot of current pop hits, and I bring those tunes into class and show my students what's coming through the Top 40 market. I show them what people like to hear at bars, what people like to dance to, and what songs are the big hits at night. I also bring in songs from the past 20 years, songs that people know, and we really look at the music so the students can understand the songs on a different level. We do a lot of singing in class, a lot of rhythm. I'll have some music playing in the background and I'll point to certain rhythms, and the students will clap over the consistent beat that's going on in the background."

Steve Bailey

Chair, Bass | 617 747-6310

"My whole perspective on preparing a student for the real world has evolved significantly over the years. When I was going through school, all you had to be was a really good musician, and you could move to either coast and be successful. Today you've got to be a really good musician and all of these other things: You've got to be technologically adept. You've got to have good communication skills. You've got to be able to interact with people with positive results. And you've got to fuse all of that together with all of the marketing that you can do yourself, thanks to the internet. I call it the Millennium Musician. Since the year 2000, it's all these other skill sets that are the ingredients for success. And Berklee still sets the standard for that."

Victor Bailey

Associate Professor, Bass | 617 747-6339

"Teaching is all thinking, but performing is different. When it’s right, performing is an out-of-body experience and thinking goes out the window. You just let it happen, like riding a bike. There is always fresh inspiration even week to week when I perform, which is an outgrowth of being well rounded and ready to play anything. And there’s a difference between playing an instrument well and playing music well. Some people have an incredible amount of technique and can do unbelievable things—by themselves. But when they have to jam with a band they have no idea what to do. It’s like a guy on the basketball court who has all the moves and looks really great, but the ball never goes into the hoop."

Whit Browne

Professor, Bass | 617 747-8129

"I'm the jazz guy. Most of the students studying with me are coming from a jazz background, or they're interested in learning jazz. We don't have a set curriculum for the lesson. The lesson curriculum is based on the individual students' needs. We work on technique when the student is physically having problems on the instrument. Then there's what I call ear technique, when a student wants to study jazz but has never listened to jazz. I'll give a list of recordings they should listen to—that's a start."


Dave Buda

Assistant Professor, Bass | 617 747-8348

"I focus on teaching my students a diversity of styles, because I myself am somewhat of a 'chameleon.' I play a mix of jazz, rock, r&b, and fusion, and that's why I get the work I do. I tell my students to shoot as high as possible for their dreams, but if they want to make a living with the bass—and aren't in a famous rock band—they're going to have to be able to play a lot of different styles."

David Clark

Professor, Bass
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8144

"One of the roles of a teacher is to help students gain a panoramic awareness of music, and what to work on. I try to expand my students' awareness of being part of a rhythm section, which is like the shaman's drum. It's important to develop a rhythmic quality and robustness of sound that ignites the imagination of the performers and listeners, and a groove that has a transformative effect. A common pitfall is to play too busily, instead of understanding one's role within the group. I tell my students that we need to listen beyond our own performances in order to clearly hear and identify with the sound of the whole group."

Bruce Gertz

Professor, Bass | 617 747-8190

"When I was taking guitar lessons, I had a good teacher but wasn't making much progress. I wasn't really practicing enough; I wasn't really feeling it. I was hearing a lot of r&b on my parents' radio at the time, and was drawn to the lower frequencies of the Fender bass. When I finally got up the nerve to tell my teacher, it turned out he doubled on bass. He said,'I wish you'd told me about it sooner, and we wouldn't have wasted so much time.'"

Lincoln Goines

Associate Professor, Bass | 617 747-8078

"Some of the things I like to tell students I've learned: The bass is first and foremost the heartbeat of the ensemble. Playing the bass is only a part of being a good bassist. Showing up and working hard are the foundational keys to success as a music pro. In addition to helping students bring all aspects of their playing to the highest level it can be, I focus on sound, accuracy, vocabulary, and developing the critical ear necessary for 'seeing' music from the eye of bass. My goal is to help them find their voice on the instrument, and also to prepare them for the actual gigging world."

Susan Hagen

Assistant Professor, Bass | 617 747-6976

"I’ve taken ideas from all different people and sort of personalized it for me, and I do that for my students. I tell him or her how I do it, but we’re not all strung together the same way, so I individualize what I do and tweak it for each student."

Fernando Huergo

Professor, Bass | 617 747-8425

"I think Berklee is a great meeting place for people from all over the world. They have a chance to meet and play together, and often they'll be playing with the same people they knew at Berklee for the rest of their lives. When I go to Europe or South America or Asia, I meet former students, I meet colleagues. I just met two weeks ago in Germany a Korean bass player student of mine. I was in New York last week and I met a Spanish former student. I was in Beijing and I met an Argentinean former student. It's great, meeting and connecting with other musicians. You get to learn from so many different cultures and sources of music. Berklee's a very inspiring place."

John Lockwood

Associate Professor, Bass | 617 747-8593

"I basically learned on the bandstand. I got called for these gigs that I shouldn't have taken, I suppose, looking back. People just proceeded to shout and scream at me, and that's how I learned. Piecing things together. So when I teach it's the same thing. A student walks in, I teach them the tune, and—bang—we're off. It's pretty much playing all the time. Once we get into it there's sheets and things like that, but it's mainly playing and then talking about concepts. To me, it's the best kind of learning. You learn fast."

Chris Loftlin

Assistant Professor, Bass

"I perform with all sorts of artists, playing every kind of music, all over the world. What I learned here as a student, and what I am learning now from current students, helps me to inform the people I work with of what's coming, and to inform the students of what is waiting for them."

Ed Lucie

Professor, Bass | 617 747-8560

"I use a sports analogy all the time. Let's take a great baseball player, Kevin Youkilis. You rarely see him disappoint anybody. But just think of how many times he gets up and practices batting. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times. What does he do before the game, even when the season's in full swing? He goes to batting practice. Now it's the game. We're in the bottom of the ninth, there are two outs, bases are loaded. Kevin Youkilis comes up. The last thing he wants to think about is his swing. He has to just stand there and trust all of that preparation, that he can react creatively to the next pitch. And that's kind of how we have to play. We have to practice and practice and practice and practice, and now in the moment we have to let everything go and just play."

David Marvuglio

Instructor, Bass | 617 747-6436

"I’m using metal as the context and the repertoire but you’re still learning the foundations of the theory of jazz and Stravinsky within metal—and techniques that we’ve learned from violin players and composers like Paganini and Bach."

Daniel Morris

Professor, Bass
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8291

"The typical bass student at Berklee is very much a novice when it comes to understanding the role of the bassist in a group. Many of them have developed skills, flashy skills, what I like to refer to as 'music store chops.' These musicians sound great in a music store. They do some very fast playing, very exciting stuff that you can actually use at the end of a solo and the crowd will go nuts. But they're spending way too much time on that, and they're not spending enough time on the fundamental maxim of bass, which is: The bass player's role is to keep time and to address the tonality of the moment."

John Patitucci

Artist in Residence, Bass | 617 747-6342

“A great rhythmic power and feeling opens the door to communicating with any kind of music. After that your sound has to be beautiful enough to engage people. If you have everything else intellectually, but don’t have that rhythm and sound, no one will want to listen. Those who get that in their head sooner rather than later are the ones who improve faster.”

Joe Santerre

Professor, Bass | 617 747-8341

"My approach to teaching is tailored to the individual student. Each student is unique in his or her strengths, weaknesses, goals, and desires. Therefore, I try to custom design each individual's private lessons, so that strengths are reinforced, weaknesses are strengthened, and every student's goals and desires are reached, or at least moved closer."

Sandro Scoccia

Assistant Chair, Bass | 617 747-2039

"I try to be open to whatever the student needs. I play mainly Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, and Latin music, but as a professional bass player I play jazz, funk, rock, everything. I try to bring to my teaching experience what I’ve learned here at Berklee but also what I’ve learned in real life."

Barry Smith

Assistant Professor, Bass | 617 747-8354

"One of the main things I see the students need is to be able to play the instrument well. Their improvising will be limited to what they can do as far as getting around the instrument, so I'm concentrating on making sure they can comfortably play whatever they need to play—all the different scales and chords, how to arpeggiate their way through chords, the inversion of chords, that kind of thing. I get them started on that, then try to apply it to their playing, whether they're playing bass lines or soloing."

Oscar Stagnaro

Professor, Bass | 617 747-8359

"Most of the people who come to my classes have little knowledge of what I'm teaching, so I try to open the door. I try to make it as simple as I can so they can feel close to the material, so that it's not impossible for them to learn. If I learned it, they can learn it. I have to prepare them for the real world. That's why I'm there. I always tell them, 'If you want to study with me, I'll prepare you, so when you leave here, you'll work.' That's my mission. You're gonna work. I play a lot of different styles, so I try to teach my students a little bit of what I do, music from all over the world. If they only play blues when they get out of school, for example, it'll be much tougher for them to find a gig."

Anthony Vitti

Professor, Bass
Also affiliated with: Berklee Online (available courses) | 617 747-8388

"Between Berklee and summers hanging with legendary artists, all my learning was about being a great rhythm section player. And that totally translates into how I teach today. I want my students to have the solid fundamentals to be great working bass players for all styles. The top things I focus on are time, note placement, the length of their notes, note selections, and consistency. I also want them to concentrate less on how many notes they're playing and more on rhythmic depth, to be a more supportive player—yet to be able to do their individual thing, shine through, and play with confidence."