Donatas Bielunskis

Basgitaarles, pianoles en gitaarles

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Bassist by chance

My path in music started when I was 6 – my parents asked me if I want to go to the music school and not really knowing what that will bring me, I decided to take the chance. Eight years after that I graduated from music school as an accordion player. Being a young teenager I decided that accordion was not cool enough, so I picked guitar and was playing for a few years, until the moment my best friend asked me to join the band as a bass player. I accepted the offer even though I have never had a bass in my hands. So, long story short, I became a bass player almost by an accident. After taking lessons for a couple years, I entered the conservatory in Lithuania and graduated as a bass player in the jazz department. A few months later I was already studying double bass (contrabass) in Rotterdam.

Now, when all my studies are complete, I decided to encourage and inspire people to play bass. This instrument is easily overlooked in the music world and beginner musicians tend to choose the guitar, to begin with. Well, that’s an excellent choice because having the basics in playing the guitar, those skills would help a lot in playing bass. But becoming a bassist would open a lot of doors – I would like to show my students that bass is not only the “boring” instrument, that plays one note only (although that might be quite challenging as well), but can be melodic part in the band and set the foundation for many songs in many different genres.

The lesson usually starts with reviewing the homework and checking how the overall progress in going. That includes both, technical exercises and the fun part – actual playing of the songs. In my opinion, it is very important to find the balance between the boring side of learning (technique) and the fun part of learning (playing, fooling around), so the student would not quit because it was not fun enough, or on the other extreme – would try very hard but improve poorly.

For the very first lesson, I advise students to think about what do they want to learn. Since that question is very hard for beginners, I advise to think about following questions – what music style do you like? What songs do you like? Then we could talk about what goals to set and what way of learning to choose. I strongly believe that every student is different and applying for the same course over every person is just a disastrous way of teaching. I like to personalize the course for each student to get the best results and to enjoy learning music at its fullest.

If the student is already playing bass for a while, I would advise thinking of what he/she could show me, so I would get an idea of the level the student is in. And of course, the previous questions apply. For the trial lesson, you do not need to bring an instrument, since I have quite a few to choose from unless the student insists on bringing his/her own instrument – it’s also fine.

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