Pat Harris

Lessons & Teaching

Pat Harris is available to teach individual lessons and group master classes. Lessons are typically 50 minutes in length and are conducted in Harris’ home studio. He can also accommodate teaching remotely though Skype or other video platforms, and can make house calls if his schedule will allow. Students of all ages are encouraged to think critically, to ask questions, and take an active role in the direction of their musical training. Payment is expected at the time of a lesson, and discounts may be available for students wishing to pursue extended study.

For availability, rates, and specific inquiries, please email G. Pat Harris directly.

Teaching Philosophy

Music is like any language and has its own set of rules. These rules bend, break, and like language, there are different skill sets required to read what is on a page and then speak in relation to what we hear. We cannot study a foreign language in a book, become proficient in reading, and then expect to be able to translate the written word into aural sound for communication.

It is paramount to understand that every student learns differently. This is especially true when it comes to music. My philosophy is to teach the building blocks of music first, and then relate it to the bass. I teach the fundamentals of music while applying them directly to the instrument. A “simple” concept that the trained musician takes for granted is still often elusive for beginners.

We are all physically shaped differently. Technique is a means to an end. There are methods that have been tried, tested, and have had varying degrees of success. In the end, music is not the end result of good technique. Good technique is the result of good technique. As such, what works for me may not be the best for you. Students will learn how to make informed decisions about fingerings, shifts, or articulations, rather than blindly ascribing to what works for somebody else. At the same time, as musicians, we need to push ourselves out of our comfort zones so that we do not get trapped into only performing that which comes easily to us.

I do my very best to taylor lessons to individual students. It is much easier in the beginning stages of development to analyze something that you already have a good grasp on and can “hear,” opposed to a piece of music you have never heard before and do not musically connect with. I prefer to use music that students already identify with as a means to convey specific concepts and information. I do not ascribe or work out of any particular method book (with the lone exception of the F. Simandle double bass method). Often, specific books have musical examples that work in theory, but do not necessarily apply to what occurs in common musical practice. I have my own exercises and examples that I have compiled which I believe convey the same information using fewer words and pages, and have the direct goal of practical application into a musical context.

Music is a lifelong endeavor. The effort a student puts into their craft has a direct correlation to their present playing abilities, and while playing an instrument takes determination, we need to remember that playing music ought to be a joyous experience. If you just want to learn songs, you can do that for free. If you want to learn about songs, why they have a certain sound, how to quickly get inside of the music, and how to express yourself, I would love to assist you.

Sample Lesson

The following is one example of a walking bass line over a very common jazz chord progression from my “Smooth Voice Leading” presentation (©2009 G. Pat Harris).

F Blues with Smooth Voice Leading