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Jerry Watts Jr.

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Master of Music in

Bass Performance

The LACM Master of Music in Bass Performance program is designed to develop successful artist entrepreneurs through advanced performance skills combined with music business and technology studies and academic scholarship. The program encourages students to balance technical skill with artistic expression, to help them find their voice on the instrument.  With a faculty that includes world-class touring and recording musicians, students learn from the best and start engaging with the music industry from the very first day.

No matter what style you call your own, learn the skills you need as a bass player to adapt to any musical situation. The Bass Department provides individualized instruction in all styles, including jazz, blues, rock, funk, and world music as well as supportive courses in arranging, music directing, pedagogy, music technology and music business. LACM alumni include performing and recording artists, touring musicians, published songwriters, composers for film, television and other media, and teachers of music.

The institution maintains a rigorous admissions policy that aligns with the objectives and goals of the Master of Music programs. The Graduate Studies Committee evaluates applicants for academic accomplishment, musicianship, talent, artistry, and level of commitment.

  • All Master of Music and Master of Arts applicants are required to hold a Bachelor of Music (BM) or Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Music from an accredited institution. Bachelor’s degrees in other fields of study are accepted if applicants have the musical training and musicianship necessary to pursue graduate work by successfully passing our entrance exams. Degrees from international institutions are considered with a US equivalency evaluation report from a certified credential evaluator.
  • A minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 from the applicant’s baccalaureate degree is required for admission.
  • Applicants must submit and essay on their goals in pursuing a career in music and what they expect to gain and contribute to the master’s program.
  • Applicants must pass an entrance audition and demonstrate advanced proficiency in their major field of specialization.
  • Applicants must pass entrance exams that demonstrate competency at the baccalaureate level in Musicianship, Music History, Music Technology and Music Business.

Entrance Exam Overview

The audition recording (in video format- audio only will not be accepted) may be solo, self-accompanied, accompanied by other musician(s), or by a band as long as the applicant is prominently featured. The use of pre-recorded accompaniment tracks is acceptable. The audition recording should be performed in one take and not edited, and best demonstrate the applicant’s performance, artistic, and creative abilities. The use corrective studio effects such as pitch or timing correction is not allowed.

Twenty minutes of solo and/or ensemble pieces, which includes a minimum of one jazz standard and one published song in any genre, and a minimum of one original composition.

Course Highlights

Advanced Improvisational Concepts 1 (1.5 credits)

Advanced techniques for exploring and expanding the understanding and mastery of contemporary improvisational concepts. Harmonic, melodic, rhythmic, and conceptual aspects of modern improvisation are explored, emphasizing the development of each student’s unique musical voice. This class consists of a weekly two hour lecture/lab.

Master's Forum with Industry Leaders (1 credit)

This seminar series covers the practical, technical, and creative elements of the contemporary music industry. Meeting five times per quarter, each two-hour symposium features leaders in the field of music performance, recording, composition, production and business and provides a learning, networking and mentoring environment for students. Students prepare for the seminars by researching the guest and topics of discussion and formulating questions. Following each seminar, students submit detailed reports on the speaker, the topic, what they learned and how it applies to their artistic and career goals.

Contemporary Touring Bassist (1.5 credits)

Analysis and preparation for real-world live performance scenarios encountered by the touring bassist: performance technology, instrument selection, gear, rehearsal strategies, etc. This class consists of a weekly 30-minute lecture and two-hour lab.

Entrepreneurship and Marketing for the Professional Musician (1.5 credits)

Entrepreneurial and business strategies will be presented, along with advanced marketing and promotion strategies. Culminates in initial individualized business plan with marketing assets developed. This class consists of a weekly 90-minute lecture.

Conducting/Music Leadership (1 credit)

Effective music directing and leadership combines a variety of skills including arranging, conducting, management, communication and musicianship. This course brings them together in examining what makes a good music director and in practical application as students lead undergraduate ensembles as part of the Performance Ensemble requirement. This class consists of a weekly one hour lecture.

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