Author: Nicholas Walker

Convention Overview

ISB Convention Overview: Although the ISB was founded in 1967 and involved a variety of summer gathering experiences over the years, we hosted our first full-on international convention in 1984 at Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL with Executive Director and Convention Chair, Jeff Bradetich at the helm. (More info about our ISB history here.) Over the last 33 years we have held a biannual convention at locations across the United States. These experiences have helped us to developed a tried and true schedule format. It involves the performers and makers competitions on Monday and Tuesday at the beginning of...

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Ithaca College Facilities

The ISB Board of Directors and I are looking forward to hosting you for our 50th Anniversary Convention, June 5 – 10, 2017, at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. We are ramping up to the convention; here’s what we have been up to: In June 2016 the ISB Board of Directors met on the campus of Ithaca College to tour facilities and begin to plan for over 150 recitals, presentations, and activities; dozens of vendors, and bassists from 30 different countries in one unforgettable week of connection, inspiration, and education for all of us. The Ithaca College Whalen Center...

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An Introduction to Arm Weight Application

We often hear about using body weight rather than muscle tension to play the bass. Here are a few approaches I have learned about how to come into contact with natural body weight, and how to bring it at the bass. Stance: In general, feet are roughly shoulder-width apart, with hips and shoulders balanced comfortably above, as in any baseball, tai chi, golf, or free-throw basketball stance. When the feet are too close together, there is a natural disinclination to use horizontal body motion (which is needed to pull the string to the side). When the feet are too far apart, the arms have less access to deploying natural body weight. Be sure the shoulder blades are seated on the rib cage. (A quick check for this is to raise the shoulders to the ears, and then let them drop down to that “seated position”.) The head sits comfortably on top of the spine in such a way that one can simulate a Bobble-Head dashboard figurine. The knees are straight, though not locked or hyperextended. And the hips are positioned to enable a free and comfortable spinal alignment. (Very gently lifting the hair from the crown of the player’s head toward the ceiling, and inviting the player to imagine being a puppet suspended from that string, creates a sensation of easy spinal alignment. Also there are lots of great...

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ISB 2017: It’s YOUR ISB

Did you know we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary at the 2017 convention?  As part of our celebration at Ithaca College, we want to hear from you about your dreams for the next convention.  Your voice matters.  It’s your ISB.  Talk to us. Nicholas Walker Your ISB2017 Artistic Director and Convention Chair and President-Elect What are your hopes and dreams for the 50th anniversary convention? Write your comments...

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Egg-Timer Practice Strategies

This is the second of a series of blog posts geared for college double bass students. I hope these posts are helpful and lead to some meaningful discussion and community building between students in different music programs. Please feel free to contact me about any topics you’d like to see addressed in this forum. ~ Nicholas Walker Now that we know when we are going to schedule our practice sessions (see my 1st ISB blog, Self-Management), let’s look at how to organize the time within these sessions to be sure we are growing in the ways that matter most to us. Part I. Make a List    Goals & Planning: Few of us are drawn to music because we want to sit around micro-managing our individual practice sessions. We want to play. We like the way it sounds. We like how it feels to pull a sound out of our glorious instrument. We don’t want to sit around with a piece of paper like an administrator. But clarifying goals and intentions before hand is the surest way to get the most results for our effort, and also assure we are actually doing what we really care about. What do you care about? Get a sheet of paper, and start writing – scribble, draw, doodle. Answer this simple question: Where do I want to see improvement? What do I want to...

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