Nix Bass Music School in Allen, Texas
conveniently located by Watters Creek and Dallas Strings
"Artist Level Instruction for All Players"
Entering it's twenty-first year, the Daniel Nix Bass Class ranges from beginners to professional level bassists in the North Texas area. Mr. Nix's students have gone on to study music in prestigious universities such as the New England Conservatory, McGill University, the Glenn Gould School, and the Juilliard School. His students also compete in international solo competitions such as the Sphinx, ASTA (American String Teachers Association), ISB (International Society of Bassists), and Klein competitions. In addition, students in the studio participate in orchestral competitions such as NYO (National Youth Orchestra), TMEA All-State, and perform with the Greater Dallas Youth Orchestra, Dallas Asian-American Orchestra, the Lone Star Youth Symphony, and the Sherman Symphony Orchestra.
How does payment work?
Payment is monthly and based on the number of lessons/classes in a month. Payment can be made by cash, check, or credit card. Please contact for lesson rates.
How long and how often are lessons?
Lessons are 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes. Lessons are once per week unless by special request for adult students only.
Do you have lessons on evenings and weekends?
Lesson slots are available Monday through Friday 3:00pm - 8:30pm, Saturday 9:00am - 6:00pm, and Sunday 12:00pm - 6:00pm.
What is your process for working with a new student?
Lessons are customized depending on the needs of the student. For beginners, a starter packet including published books and custom selections will be assigned in addition to any school orchestra music. For more advanced students, current technique will be analyzed and material will be assigned with specific technical goals in mind. Music selection is based on a syllabus including but not limited to music from the Texas UIL PML (Prescribed Music List) and, with approval, may include music the student wishes play. Students and parents will receive personalized notes by email after each lesson detailing what was worked on and what is assigned for the following lesson.
What is a typical lesson like?
A typical lesson will include technical exercises with detailed explanations of how each technique works and the best way to develop it. These exercises are prescribed to each student depending on their individual needs. Scales are also assigned. Lessons will include descriptions of what each muscle should be doing (or not be doing) while playing, in order to quickly develop the desired technique. Solo music, chamber music, and orchestral music will be worked on in-depth, allowing for students to achieve not only technical facility, but also musical artistry. Lessons will also focus on preparation for auditions, performances, and competitions, as well as personal development mentoring relating to the career needs of the student.
Do you teach French or German bow?
French bow and German bow are taught. The bass class is evenly divided between French and German bow. Bow hold is an important consideration when working with each individual. Certain physical characteristics may lead to one choice over the other and this is discussed in lessons to ensure the best choice.
Do you teach students to stand or sit?
Both. The bass has many different postures and ways of playing. Students in the class sit or stand depending on what works best for them. Correct posture is essential and often requires experimentation when playing the bass. There is no real standard among professionals, although there are regional standards for students in the schools depending on what books they use in class. Students are guided through different posture options to achieve the most comfortable and efficient posture so they are able to play at their very best.
Do you only teach Classical music?
My specialty is Classical bass, but in lessons we can explore all different kinds of music since it can be fun and there is always plenty to learn. Even if a student intends to focus on Jazz, Blues, Funk, Rock or any of the many other styles which use the bass, it is always best to learn a classical foundation for proper technique and to ensure the student does not encounter too much difficultly when playing other styles. Classical teaches the most fundamental to the most experimental techniques on the bass and is extremely helpful as a foundation before exploring other styles.
Do you teach multiple tunings?
I teach standard orchestral tuning (E, A, D, G), solo tuning (F#, B, E, A), 5ths tuning (C, G, D, A), viennese tuning (F, A, D, F#, A), High C and E tuning, and other scordatura. I also teach students with 5 strings or extensions. The bass has many tuning options although the most regularly used is standard orchestral tuning for playing in orchestra.
What is the difference between Bass, Double Bass, String Bass, Upright Bass, Bass Violin, ect?
They are all the same instrument, although what name it is given can give clue to what style of music the player plays. When the instrument was developing hundreds of years ago in Europe, the actual "bass voice" of the orchestra was the cello, which is smaller than the bass but larger than the violin. At the time composers were starting to want a more powerful bass voice so the bass was used to "double" the notes of the cello an octave lower. This is why it is called a double bass in classical circles. Upright bass is a term used to separate it from the bass guitar, which is held sideways in non-classical styles. For simplicity, I prefer to use the term "bass."
What education and/or training do you have?
Bachelors and Masters degrees focusing on Bass Performance and Bass Education. Artist Diploma in Performance and DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts) in Music Education with an emphasis on the study of Bass. Over 20 years of private bass teaching and performance experience. Primary teachers include the leading bass soloist, Gary Karr, and master teacher Jeff Bradetich. Orchestral playing also intensely studied with members of the Dallas Symphony, New York Philharmonic, and London Philharmonic.
Why are private lessons important?
Private lessons are very necessary for the bass if the student wishes to develop proper technique and achieve high results in performances and competitions. This is because the bass is perhaps the least standardized instrument there is. Almost everything about it has different options and being knowledgable of these options takes a high degree of study far beyond what orchestra directors get when they study bass in a survey class in college for a general music education degree. As a result, bass students can get left behind in their class if they are not in private lessons.
Some examples of the many options when it comes to playing the bass
Instrument size and shape (Gamba, Violin, Busetto, Pear), (3/4, 5/8, 7/8)
Standing and siting (many variations of each)
Tuning of the strings (Orchestra, Solo, 5ths, High C, Viennese, 5-String, Extension)
German and French bow
Different position names on the fingerboard (Simandl, Rabbath)
Different fingering systems (Simandl, Bille, Rabbath)
How did you get started teaching private bass lessons?
I began teaching private bass lessons while in high school to students my age and younger at the insistence of my orchestra directors at the time.
What level and age of students do you work with?
Beginners to Advanced students. Age 9 and up. Elementary to College and Professional level.
Describe a recent project you are fond of.
Bravura Duo, a violin/bass duo performing around the world and based in DFW. Bassinova Quartet - A quartet of four basses performing around the world with an internationally acclaimed album released in 2015. Based in Denton, TX.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a private lesson teacher?
Be sure to research prospective teachers to be aware of their work, experience and level of artistry. Due to the teaching conditions of in-school lessons, most of the teachers that give private lessons in the schools are not active performers or internationally acclaimed artists at the highest level on the instrument.
What questions should students/parents ask themselves before working with a private teacher?
Is this teacher high quality?
Do they produce students that achieve?
Are they a respected teacher AND performer in the area and possibly around the world?
Are they devoted to students and will they be a long term personal development mentor?