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Jaime Robles on the Level of Double Bass Players in Spain

Jaime Robles (for many years, principal double bass of the Spanish National Orchestra) talks about the evolution of the talent level of Spanish double bass players in the last decades.
Jaime Robles bass spain

And do you think that the increase in the number of students has helped raise the level of double bass players in Spain?

Yes, but also the qualification of the teachers, whose work has to be valued because they have done a tremendous job. They are the ones who set the guidelines and lead the group.

Fortunately, there is no longer the same difference between Spaniards and foreigners when competing in auditions, which used to be quite overwhelming. I have been a jury member in the auditions of many orchestras created in the 1990s in the different regions of Spain, and I have witnessed the significant difference between Spanish musicians and those from abroad (especially from Eastern Europe).

It was a problem for Spanish musicians. I went so far as to suggest restricted auditions so that some Spaniards could enter these new orchestras being created in their country since, in reality, not everyone was bad. Those auditions were not managed well because not all the musicians who came from abroad were wonderful (don’t get me wrong: many were very good and deserved it, but not all of them). However, some Spaniards who were left out could have won places; people who had lived on music for twenty or thirty years went down the drain after that. Very sad. But that time has passed, and we are at our best now.

Any advice for future double bass players?

To be curious, to look for other music. You will find good professionals in all the music you discover because there is high quality in all genres. To be concerned about doing things well, work hard and always be aware of not letting your guard down. To be constant. To always be ready to work hard. We are like athletes, but with a very long professional life. We must take care of ourselves to reach the end in the best possible conditions. We must always work hard and take good care of our physical condition. We have to do some sport adapted to our needs. The study must be measured, without saturation, because saturation is what causes tensions and bad habits.

And above all: respect music. And musicians, of course, respect each other. We should be positive because we have the best profession, at least for me. It has been helpful to me, and I have done very well. I’ve been fortunate.

Full Interview: “If They Don’t Explain to You What Feelings You Have to Look For, It’s Tough to Find Them”

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