Upright & Electric Bass: Level I

Master the functional concepts on upright and/or electric bass that can immediately help the bassist in your ensemble reach their fullest potential. Learn correct techniques for the right and left hands; practical approaches for developing bass lines in rock, jazz and Latin music styles; how to apply scale and arpeggio knowledge to improvise using chord charts that do not include a written-out note-for-note bass line; common fingering patterns for major and minor scales; arpeggios; and bass lines for the blues and common progressions such as ii-V7-I. You’ll leave this course feeling prepared to teach all levels of bass as well as compose and perform bass lines encountered in many genres. Only one type of bass, upright or electric, is needed to take this course.


  • Demonstrate basic techniques on the double bass and/or electric bass (bass guitar).

  • Understand fingerboard layout and how to find proper fingerings.

  • Play with good tone.

  • Read and improvise on a jazz chord chart.

  • Master self control and personal goal-setting.

  • Learn level-appropriate repertoire.

  • Perform at a level that will allow demonstration for students and colleagues.

Instructor: Doug Bistrow

Bistrow,_Doug_headshot_2017_BRIDoug Bistrow received his bachelor’s degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he majored in string bass performance and jazz & contemporary media. An active performer giving 150-200 concerts per year, he has performed with Itzhak Perlman, Edgar Meyer, Time For Three, members of the Silk Road Ensemble, Johnny Osborne, Ky-Mani Marley, Corey Chisel, Keith & Tex, and many others. Bistrow is a member of the Rockford Symphony Orchestra, the Illinois Symphony, and the Fox Valley Symphony Orchestra. He teaches double bass at VanderCook, and is on the faculty at the Merit School of Music, where he teaches double bass, jazz studies, music history and music theory. Bistrow has performed and recorded with artists including Jeff Parker of Tortoise, Steve Million, Greg Ward, Bobby Schiff, Katie Todd and the Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. He also owns and operates Audio Bistro Recording Studio in Chicago's Logan Square. 

VanderCook College of Music - (312) 225-6288