Featured Tutor: Svetlana Vassileva

Bass

What do you enjoy most about teaching at BIMM?

My favourite moment is when a student does something they didn’t think they could do – especially if I have been hassling them to try it for a while. It’s exciting to work with the music makers of the future!

Can you please briefly discuss your experience as a musician and teacher?

I was still a music student when I went on my first tour with a newly signed band. A few years later, my own band got signed and we were able to record and release an album and a few singles. We also toured the UK on our own, and as a support act for The Webb Brothers and Duran Duran (which was also my first taste of scarily big audiences). A couple of years later I became the touring bassist for Moby, which meant a lot more big audiences, so they got a bit less scary. As for the teaching… I started this as soon as I finished my studies and I’ve been connected with BIMM from the start in a way – I studied at Basstech, which became Tech Music School, which is now BIMM London.

How and when did you learn to play bass?

I did it the traditional way – I was a rhythm guitarist delegated to play bass when the bass player left to get a ‘proper’ job. It turned out to be the right move for me, as I used to play classical guitar, which meant playing with my fingers felt a lot more natural. I was 20 at the time.

What was the first bass guitar you owned?

I was lucky – I had a 70s Fender Precision.

What can students expect from studying bass at BIMM?

To meet a lot of musicians that they can form bands with! There are always less bassists than players of any of the other instruments, so you’ll be doing a lot of playing!

What’s the best gig you’ve performed at?

It’s hard to say, as they are all different, but playing Wembley Arena for the first time with my original band was amazing. Also, quite a few of the Moby gigs have been such a blast – for example, playing at the Sydney Opera House or Piazza del Popolo in Rome with a massive moon prop hanging above the stage.

What are you listening to at the moment?

The Bad Plus. These guys are crazy.

What’s your most memorable moment as a musician?

From the first time I stepped in the famous mud as a punter, I always wanted to play at Glastonbury. So getting on the Pyramid Stage to close the festival with Moby in 2003 was intense – I was deliriously happy!

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