Probably the most important thing I want my students to take away is a really strong self-image as a musician. And after that I want them to experience the utmost joy in their musical growth and pursuit through their life, because music is a lifetime pursuit. - BG
Bruce Gertz has been an esteemed faculty member of Berklee College of Music since 1976, serving the bass department through a multitude of musical generations. In fact, electric bass became recognized as a principal instrument shortly after Gertz was introduced as a young adjunct professor in his senior year of studies there. Hired on by Rich Appleman- bass department chair at the time and mentor to Gertz- he taught brand new labs and ensembles for the bass department. Having been involved in these early years of Berklee's establishment, Gertz heavily contributed to the foundation of the school's bass department.
The full circle of having been a student there, and now a teacher, is not taken for granted. Gertz says he is incredibly proud to work at Berklee College of Music. On either side of the desk (educator, and educated), he has always gravitated towards other passionate and driven musicians. As a student, he played sessions with countless great musicians: Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes, Jamey Haddad, Ted Lo, John Scofield, the list goes on and on... Just as invaluable as his young musician credits, is the list of killer students he has mentored over his growing years as a teacher, including but not limited to, Victor Bailey, Jeff Andrews, Skuli Sverrisson, Peter Herbert, Alain Caron, Stu Hamm, Matt Garrison, and Esperanza Spalding.
As an inclined composer, Gertz has always written exercises for his students, which he says also helped him grow as a player. Over the years, these many educational approaches and inventions have become inspiration for several publications. Many of his students would ask him for the exercises in published form so it made sense for him to see that through.
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More about the publications seen above:
On MusicGurus.com, Bruce Gertz offers a personal masterclass teaching some of the main feels you'll encounter playing electric jazz bass and building bass lines like a pro. Over 30 video-lessons with play along tracks are available by clicking the link here.
His first book, "Walkin'," is a collection of bass lines spanning jazz standards, blues, and latin music, and has seen international success since its release in 1982.
A little later in 1987, Gertz published 22 Contemporary Melodic Studies for Electric Bass, which aims at explaining some more advanced material; the kind of lines that students would hear and say, "What the hell was that?"
Gertz suggests Mastering the Bass Volumes 1 & 2 as a thorough method for bass players to gain a solid understanding of their instrument. He says, "It really works, but people need to go all the way through both books. Lots of people stop at Book 1. The juicy stuff is in Book 2."
His latest book, Let's Play Rhythm is all about improvisation. With 3 CDs included for play-along practice, the book covers everything from bass lines and grooves (swing, funk, latin, open), to solo playing, and harmony and melody studies (diatonic, rhythmic, pentatonic/blues scale, symmetric diminished, and upper structure triad and intervalic approaches). Gertz says, "This book is the only book anyone would ever need to learn how to improvise."