Bass, levels 1/2

Jim Kerwin

This class will be a “hands on” experience for beginner and intermediate bass students. There will be lots of opportunities for everyone to play the bass in class. The instructor will be interacting with each player helping them with the physical elements of playing the bass as well as presenting ways to think about the bassist’s role in the band. Posture and finger position will be emphasized. The bass is the most physically demanding of all the band instruments so careful attention must be paid to body mechanics so as not hurt yourself while playing and, in turn, allowing you to build stamina. You will learn to become a stronger member of the band with a steady and interesting groove. We will discuss the five criteria needed to become a strong bass player: show up (on time); play in time;  play in tune; play the tune; listen to the band.

Prerequisites: Students should be able to identify and play all the notes in “open position”. Also, students should have a basic knowledge of scales and arpeggios of the major keys: C, D, G and A.

Bring an open mind, a bass and a metronome. Also a great willingness to overcome the pain and suffering that this most physical of instruments demands!

Jim Kerwin has been a professional bass player for over forty years. He has experience in bluegrass, rock, jazz, and classical. His longest, most well known association with the David Grisman Quintet started in 1985. He has worked as a sideman backing up Stephane Grappelli, Svend Assmussen, Vassar Clements, Mark O’Connor, Tony Rice, Jerry Garcia, Yo Yo Ma, Doc Watson, Sam Bush and more.  Jim has recorded six Grammy nominated CDs - one of which he co-lead with David Grisman : the traditional bluegrass Home Is Where The Heart Is features Del McCoury and Red Allen. Jim has also been the bassist for all the Garcia-Grisman
recordings. His latest project involves playing fiddle tunes on the bass. He is working on a book of fiddle tunes arrangements for bowed bass.
   Jim has taught bass privately for over ten years. He’s been a guest performer and clinician at the Mandolin Symposium at Santa Cruz for the past four years. He’s also given workshops on bowed bass fiddle styles at the Golden Gate Bass Camp in San Francisco (2013), and jazz bass clinics at the College of San Mateo (2011 and 2013). He is currently on the faculty at College of San Mateo teaching bass improvisation. We’re excited to have Jim on our staff for the first time.

Jim’s website ( is still in the works, but more information is on David Grisman’s website, or you can contact Jim with questions about the class at

Note: If enrollment warrants it, we may add another instructor and split into two classes: level 1 and level 2.

© 2014 Walker Creek Music Camp • 415-663-1342 •  
PO Box 840, Marshall, CA 94940