I had an amazing time being on faculty at the 2022 Bass Camp NRW.
This event is organized by Uli Schneider and for over a decade has featured some of the leading international double bass teachers and performers, including:
Uli on the origins of the bass camp
I had the chance to chat with Uli about the origins behind the camp during my visit.
It started actually 12 years ago that we had the impression as teachers that there is not so many programs for the children bass. So you can imagine that in Germany, all these mini bassd development was maybe 15 years behind England, where it started.
So it started with Rodney Slatford as far as I’m informed. In the beginning, it was run by Professor Engels and another famous teacher who had a big bass class. And he was basically the first in our federal state who had 40 students, teaching the mini bass and everything.
So those two guys were somehow my mentors for. Yeah, for a long time. So when the camp started, I was, yeah, nearly finishing my studies, but then all of a sudden one of the organizers became, . And so he had to give up the organization of the camp and then they asked me to yeah, how to say it, just to to take it.
And yeah, so this is basically as an organizer, my bass camp now.
It’s always on Pentecost. It’s a long weekend for all the German kids, and so we have three full days of program and we have basically four main. Parts. We have the single lessons with famous teachers. Thierry Barbe was here, Peter Iuga, and many others over the years.
So the idea is they get some music and sightread. They have the task to play the piece after three days in the final concert. So it’s really a side reading and orchestra training event. And the ensembles are also in different levels. So you have the beginner levels up to the advanced, and even adults.
The highlight in my opinion is that we have a big orchestra, so everybody plays with everybody. Some strange situations can happen. For example, you have a kid with nine years on the bass who plays on a quite high level, and it’s not in the last bass section, so it’s just maybe bass three. And you have the adults in bass eight, for example.
So it’s somehow like a universal way of working. Also, the kids can show the adults how one could play better. This is quite funny actually. and then we have a super talented pianist with us. She’s working in the Cologne Musik Hochschule, and she is a very good accompanist and she helps the children to play their pieces, because we also organize a workshop concert where the best kids and adults can play their program.Uli Schneider