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I offer lessons in:

  • Funk / R&B Bass
  • Classical Upright Bass
  • Jazz Upright Bass
  • Bluegrass Upright Bass
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    Ethan SobottaOffering private lessons in
    Seattle, Washington
    About MeContact Me
    I am a full-time, professional double bassist and electric bassist living in Seattle. In the 20 years I have been performing, I have worked in a diverse range of styles ranging from jazz and classical to bluegrass and rockabilly. I currently perform in a variety of settings, including orchestras, jazz, musical theater, tango, bluegrass, and rockabilly. I also freelance whenever possible. I teach out of my home studio in West Seattle.

    My Teaching Background
    I have been teaching privately for 20 years, and also have a great deal of experience coaching bass sectionals, small ensembles, jazz big bands and combos, and various other types of groups. I have a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where I studied double bass with James Clute, former Associate Principal Bass of the Minnesota Orchestra. I also studied at the University of Arizona, where I worked with bassist Patrick Neher and renowned string educator Dr. Donald Hamann. I have had additional studies with Peter Lloyd, Scott Pingel, and Barry Lieberman, and have performed in masterclasses by Fracois Rabbath, John Clayton, and Kristin Korb. I am currently director of the Lakeside School Jazz Band, where I also co-teach beginning orchestra. I was previously Director of Orchestras for Minnetonka Public Schools in Minnesota from 2001-2005, where I was in charge of the middle school and high school orchestra programs.

    My Teaching Philosophy
    I have worked with students ranging from elementary age to adult learners, with material as diverse as solo, orchestral, jazz, rock, funk, latin, bluegrass, and rockabilly. I feel I can help any committed student attain their goals as a musician and bass player, regardless of age or skill level. In my classical training, I incorporate concepts of Simandl, Rabbath, Vance, Petracchi, and others. For all styles, I also work with listening, ear training, and transcribing.

    1. You should definitely take lessons. The bass is a very physical instrument, and playing correctly does not come naturally. Proper guidance at the start will help to prevent bad habits and potential debilitating injuries down the road.

    2. Be sure to have time to practice. Musical development without practice is extremely slow, and can become very uninteresting very quickly. For beginners, practice does not have to mean an hour (or several) on end. Even ten to fifteen minutes of focused practice time per day is better than none at all, and you will be surprised at how quickly you advance with that constant repetition.

    3. For parents of students starting their child on upright bass: Rent, rent, RENT (don't buy) an instrument at first, especially if your child is not fully grown yet. Do not lock yourself into the purchase of something that your child may or may not decide to stick with. There are several shops in town which offer reasonable rental fees and an option to easily "trade up" to the next size as a child grows. The Bass Church on Phinney Ave. and Hammond Ashley Violins in Issaquah are my two top choices. Both are operated by bassists and have a wealth of knowledge on how to set up a student properly. I am also available to consult on potential instruments for students.

    4. Always bring your own bass to a lesson (barring unusual circumstances). Yes it's a large and unwieldy instrument. All the more reason to get used to transporting it!

    Lesson Policy
    Cancellations/reschedules must be done by the day before the lesson at the latest. Cancellations in less than that time (or no-shows) will still be charged the full amount. The same goes the other way - if I have to reschedule or cancel, I will do it by the day before, and if I have to cancel last-minute, I will credit your next lesson.