Bass Playing, that must be very difficult?

Presenter: Peter Leerdam


BASS PLAYING SEEMS TO BE VERY DIFFICULT Working as a professor of double bass at Codarts Rotterdam I have noticed that we spend so much time in correcting the student’s technique.

We try to build a proper technique with beginners or when we work with pupils from other teachers: almost everyone is afraid to play out of tune. But maybe that’s just why they do! It is definitely complicated, because there are so many elements like shifting, fingerings, articulations and bowings, etc…and quite often the tempo of progress in learning is so slow that it demotivates the student.

So we have to do something, because our youth orchestras are looking for bass players! But how to learn quicker? I have developed another way of approaching the bass which can be used next to the method the student is working with: my philosophy is that shifting positions should start from the very beginning and this will help the student to be aware of the importance of a solid left hand and also will take away the fear of playing out of tune.

Every position is two semi tones or a whole tone and therefore I work in these exercises with the chromatic and whole tone scale. Using my material will also work for jazz players who want to improve their technique and become a solid classical bassist, or cellists who would like to make a change into playing the bass…


PETER LEERDAM studied the double bass at the Utrecht Conservatory with Peter Stotijn. He played in the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and is a member of Sinfonia Rotterdam, the chamber orchestra of Rotterdam.

Next to this he is playing chamber music with ensembles like Monward Consort and the Rietveld Ensemble. Peter has been working as a Professor of Double Bass at Codarts, the Conservatory of Rotterdam and has given masterclasses in many countries all over the world. He started the foundation “Pro Basse” to promote the double bass in the Netherlands and in particular the minibass for children.

Peter is a much sought-after double bass teacher and has joined the board of Dutch Double Bass Festival and ESTA Nederland. Many pieces were specially written for him and he recently premiered a new double bass concerto composed by Eduard de Boer.

He also founded trio Profondo with cellist Xandra Rotteveel and pianist Bert Mooiman and they gave a very successful recital during BASS 2010 in Berlin. Peter plays on a double bass made for him by the Cremonese luthier Marco Nolli.

Principal Sponsor