All students at Berklee College of Music enter with a principal instrument.
No matter what major you end up pursuing, you will complete at least four semesters of private instruction, labs, and ensembles with this instrument. This fulfills your performance core requirement.
What Will I Learn?
Upon completion of the performance core, students will:
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of contemporary and traditional styles into musical interpretation;
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and instrumental technique into their daily practice routines;
- demonstrate technical proficiency on their principal instrument;
- demonstrate the ability to sight-read music in a variety of styles;
- play music in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
- play in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation; and
- apply knowledge of musical styles and harmonic practices in improvisation.
Applicants must audition with their chosen instrument when applying to the college. Learn more about auditioning with the bass.
Once accepted, you will audition with the Bass Department during orientation in order to get your ensemble ratings. These are used for placement into private instruction and ensemble courses. Learn more about placement auditions.
Curriculum and Courses
All students complete four semesters to fulfill their performance core requirement:
- Private Instruction 1: Bass
- Private Instruction 2: Bass
- Private Instruction 3: Bass
- Private Instruction 4: Bass
Specialized labs bring together players of similar performance levels and provide training in specific aspects of bass performance. The labs cover a range of genres and styles, such as gospel, jazz, slap bass, Latin bass, and more.
Browse instrumental labs in our course catalog.
Through ensembles, you will hone essential performance skills and techniques. They help you to broaden your stylistic range, expand your network of musical friends and colleagues, and gain diverse group-playing experience.
Ensembles are offered in multiple sections for varying levels of ability. You choose the group and style that appeal to you. Your eligibility is determined by ongoing auditions that measure your growth as a performer.
More than 350 faculty-supervised ensembles rehearse weekly at Berklee.
Finding Your Groove
Whether it's gospel or Coltrane, Megadeth, or Stravinsky, learn the skills you need as a bass player to adapt to any musical situation. You'll gain experience from a diverse and world-renowned faculty that teaches you how to set yourself up for success, all within Berklee's context as the premier institution for the study of contemporary music. Come see why many of today’s most successful bass players began their careers at Berklee.