At the Initial exam, you can learn about dynamics, muting and rhythmic control. You’ll perform three songs and choose your Session skill – Improvising or Playback.
Choose your songs from our song list, including one of the Technical focus songs that develop particular skills. There’s an option for you to play your own cover version of a song or, if you’re a songwriter, one of your own songs.
You’ll find more information about how the exam works in the syllabus.
The Initial Bass songbook includes everything you need for the exam – sheet music for six songs, performance tips, technical support and guidance on Session skills, together with a CD of demo and backing tracks. If you want to buy individual songs, choose them from the list below.
An alternative song for Initial Bass is available now - Wild Wood by Paul Weller
Tips on playing the recurring rhythm in Radiohead’s song
Dampening the open strings in the bass line
Players choose Playback or Improvising.
You’ll perform some music you haven’t seen or heard before – you can sight-read from a song chart or play by ear from an audio track, or both.
You’ll be given a song chart with chord symbols and song style and will improvise over a backing track.
Songs: Black Betty, Blitzkrieg Bop, Folsom Prison Blues, I Am The Music Man, No Surprises, You Don’t Love Me
Real songs. Real skills. Real progress.
'Imagine you’ve just walked on stage [with] 20,000 people screaming your name.'
Improvisation is a key skill for contemporary musicians. Many of the best tracks you hear came from studio improvisation sessions.