McNally Smith College of Music

Discover your life in music

Earn Your Degree in Bass Performance
1, 2 and 4 year programs available
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Bass Performance

The Bass Performance program is designed to develop your instrumental technique and stylistic vocabulary as a bass player so that you’re able to excel in a variety of musical contexts, both on stage and in the studio. Through intensive ensemble work and individualized private lessons, you’ll refine your musicianship and sharpen your sense of time, groove and feel on either electric or acoustic bass. Whether you’re into rock, pop, Latin, funk, jazz or hip-hop, you’ll have the support of experienced faculty to help you master the music you’re most passionate about.

By building a solid foundation in music theory, scales, groove skills, ear training, improvisation and chart reading, you’ll be prepared to succeed in a variety of career paths as a professional bass player.

Ready For The Real World

As a Bass Performance major, you’ll receive a hands-on education in a real world environment that directly mirrors the music industry. You’ll gain stage experience through a wealth of playing opportunities on campus and around the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area. You’ll get to record in state-of-the-art studios while collaborating with fellow performance and production students on real projects. You’ll learn tour management, how to book your own shows, and how to market and promote yourself as an artist. And through our job board, you’ll find gigging opportunities with both original bands and commercial projects.

You’ll also get a head start on your music career by building your professional network while still in school. And with access to guest artists, internships and the thriving Twin Cities music scene, you’ll be connected to the industry before you graduate.

Teaching For Tomorrow

To succeed as a professional bass player, you need a well-rounded education that prepares you for the dynamic future of music. That’s why our Bass Performance degree program focuses on fostering your creativity and musicianship while giving you the necessary technology skills to adapt and compete in the industry. You’ll also graduate equipped with the entrepreneurial mindset and business savvy you’ll need to reach your goals and establish your career.

With a comprehensive education that blends artistry, technology and entrepreneurship, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to make and sustain a life in music.

Your Career Path

Graduates of the Bass Performance program are prepared for a variety of career options, including:

  • Professional Bass Player
  • Touring Musician
  • Session Player
  • Band Leader
  • Music Director
  • Private Lesson Instructor
  • Clinician

 Studios & Facilities

Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.

Student Life

There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The Auditorium hosts student recitals, guest artist concerts and music industry seminars year round. MIDI Lab. Students learn to write and produce music using hardware and software, including Logic Pro. Pro Tools Lab. Students learn editing, mixing and production techniques using the latest software. One of the multipurpose classrooms used for rehearsing bands, teaching music theory and songwriting. The Sound Bite Café features an intimate performance setting for small ensembles, guest artists and workshops. The 48-input SSL Duality console in Studio 1, with a view into the main performance area. Studio 1. 48-input SSL Duality hybrid analog-digital console; Barefoot MicroMain 27 monitors. Studio 4 features a Digidesign ICON D-Command Work surface and 5.1 surround mixing system. Studio 5. Trident 80B analog console; Otari MTR-90 24-track analog recorder; Pro Tools HD2 system. Studio 10 main performance area. Studio 10 features three racks of outboard mic preamplifiers, compressors, equalizers, and limiters.
Many artists have launched their careers at First Avenue, Minnesota’s quintessential music venue. The Theater Ensemble performs rock musical RENT at the History Theatre located on campus. At The Sessions master class, industry pros like Dom Famularo help artists sharpen their business skills. EDM artist/producer Francis Preve demonstrates remix techniques using Ableton Live during a master class. The X-Tet Ensemble studies traditional cajón technique in Lima, Peru during their South American tour. Concertgoers get the full Flaming Lips experience at River’s Edge Music Festival, downtown St. Paul. The NOLA Ensemble performs authentic New Orleans-style jazz at an Open House event. The Contemporary Vocal Ensemble performs onstage in McNally Smith’s Auditorium. Music Business students plan, promote and execute a SXSW day party in Austin, TX. Students pause for a photo-op while guiding campus tours at Open House. Taking a break during the McNally Smith kickball tournament at nearby Harriet Island, St. Paul.

FacultyView All Faculty >>

Jeff Bailey

Jeff Bailey has performed in a wide variety of musical settings as a musician, composer and producer. He has performed with world-renowned jazz artists Captain McDuff, Craig Taborn, James Carter, Nachito Herrera, Eric Garvat, Rodney Jones, Dave King, Brian Lynch, Wessel Anderson, Peruvian guitar master Andrés Prado and James Moody. Never one to be pigeonholed into one style, Bailey has also toured and performed with Keri Noble, Joey McIntyre (NKOTB), Tommy Barbarella (Prince), Charles Lazarus (Minnesota Orchestra), Reverend Billy Steele, Jennifer Kimball, Heather Headley and Charley Drayton.

Bailey has also logged time on the road touring and giving clinics in the U.S., Germany, France, Italy, South America and Japan. He has served as musical director for Keith Antar Mason and the Hittite Empire and the Black Fathers and Sons project at the B.A.M. Next Wave Festival in New York, with photographer Albert Chong and writer Quincy Troupe. Jeff has also received accolades for producing a Minnesota Music Award-winning CD for Alicia Wiley, receiving a Best of the Twin Cities Award as a founding member of Moveable Feast, and a Minnesota Music Award nomination for “Best Bass Player of the Year.”

Jay Young

Jay Young is one of the Twin Cities’ first call bassists. He is a freelance performer and educator involved in a vast array of projects, working with national and international artists. Young has performed at the Guthrie Theater, Ordway Center, Illusion, and Penumbra Theatre. He has also been a featured performer at the Lincoln Center, Juilliard School, Boston Symphony Hall, The Blue Note, Umbra (Italy), Espoo (Finland), and Tejo (Portugal).

Young has shared the stage with Ray Brown, James Moody, Dizzy Gillespie, T.S. Monk, Grover Washington Jr., Dave Brubeck, Ron Carter, Buster Williams, Bobby Lyle, Eddie Daniels, the Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Phil Upchurch, Jennifer Holiday, Harry Connick Jr., Jay Leno, Paul Bollenbeck, Reverend Al Green, Bobby McFerrin, Jefferson Starship, Carole King, Ray Charles, Kevin Mahogany, Joe Lovano, Ernie Watts, Tim Ries, Sony Holland, Marvin “Smitty” Smith and many others.

Tuition

We offer 1, 2 and 4-year degrees in Bass Performance, giving you options for a degree that fits with your plans and budget.

$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)

  • Bachelor’s degree: 120 credits
  • Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits
  • Diploma: 45 credits

$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info >>

Financial Aid

On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.

Click here to learn about the many resources available to help pay for college.

Gainful Employment Statistics


Accreditation

McNally Smith College of Music is institutionally and programmatically accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. More info >>

Applied Theory I

Students examine how essential elements of music theory (melody, rhythm, scales, form, improvisation) are represented in contemporary music and directly apply classroom lessons on the bass, gaining deeper understanding of a variety of popular styles and standard works.

Music Interpretation

Students learn to reproduce and interpret songs in a variety of styles. Performance concepts are examined and implemented on the bass through intensive listening, analysis and performance. Emphasis is placed on practice routines and habits, memorization strategies and overcoming technical and stylistic challenges.

Contemporary Literature

Students across the Music Performance program form ensembles to study, rehearse and perform contemporary music. The unique roles of the various members of an ensemble are examined and experienced through active participation. Students learn to read charts, take solos and play songs by ear. Emphasis is placed on hands-on execution of the diverse musical styles practiced in the industry today.