Starting Oktober 2008 until September 2015, Wiro Mahieu has been working as a teacher of the popular and jazz upright bass style at the ArtEZ School of Music in Arnhem. He took over the position of Henk Haverhoek, who had taught there for some 20 years and with whom Wiro himself had graduated in 1990.

Wiro is therefore determined to uphold the traditional jazz upright bass tradition, given its technical and harmonic importance, also in todays jazz related styles. The times are always changing for this instrument, over 300 years old by now. The upright bass has been evolving for decades into a musical instrument that is a prominent presence in popular music, R&B and improvised music or personal contemporary combinations thereof. Its characteristic heavy, deep, growling sound has become irresistible to many pop bass players and other musicians in for example unplugged performances and samples. In jazz and improvised music, the combination of grit, musical developments and the introduction of the bass amplifier have turned the upright bass into a full-fledged melody and solo instrument since the 1950s, with the legendary upright bass players Jimmy Blanton, Slam Stewart and Scott LaFaro as its champions.

All of this means that these times induce Wiro to teach his prospective students the basic skills in both popular and jazz-related styles. In other words, one can audition for the upright bass or bassguitar with a jazz formation, but also with a pop group or a singer-songwriter ensemble. The applicant and his band should be well attuned to one another, with a good intonation, timing and sound. One should also be familiar with major and minor scales and their triads and tetrads in all keys with inversions. The applicant will be asked to construct on the spot a bass line in a particular style for a particular chord progression. Apart from general music theory, the hearing sense will also be tested specifically through the repeating of a bass line and the providing of the root for a given chord. Sight-reading ability may also be tested. On top of this, a repertoire should be prepared consisting of a minimum of five pieces in differing tempi, while paying attention to the individual performance of a melody and/or a solo. In the course of the study programme, the continuing development of the basic skills will still leave ample space for guidance in the in-depth exploration of one's personal stylistic desires. I will help you develop all of this stuff and even visit a bandrehearsal for coaching.

Even when you are graduated from a music related study I'll be happy to share my musical ideas with you to enhance your musical abilities.

(translated by Tom de Schepper)