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David Heyes

David Heyes: The Adventures of George for Beginner Double Bass

David Heyes: The Adventures of George for Beginner Double Bass

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The Composition

The Adventures of George is a suite of engaging pieces for the beginner bassist. A wealth of playing techniques are introduced to add variety and contrasts, including col legno, sul ponticello, bass percussion, left-hand pizzicato, Bartok pizz, simple harmonics, double stops, and much more. 1st and 4th positions are used primarily, followed by 2nd, 3rd, and half positions, and each short piece is colorful and innovative, introducing something new to enthuse and instruct in equal measure.

About George

George is a ten-year-old violinist from Wiltshire (UK) who begin to study the double bass with me in late 2019. His violin teacher, Louise Padday, phoned to say she had a very talented young student but, even though he was making excellent progress on the violin, she thought he was really a double bassist. Shortly afterward, I received an email from George's mum, Elle, asking to arrange a consultation lesson but she and George both made it very clear that he was a violinist first and foremost. I suggested we organise an initial lesson and, if it went well, to book a lesson from week to week and, if he didn't think the double bass was for him, we could end lessons when they wished.

That was about nine months ago and George really is a bassist and has a natural flair for the instrument. He is quite fearless, nothing is too much of a challenge for him, and from his second week, he was able to play simple scales in tune on his quarter-sized double bass. One week I rashly offered to write him a short piece for unaccompanied double bass and, without any idea of where this project would take us, the first piece was written. 

The Premiere

George premiered all twelve pieces on Friday 24 July 2020 in an open-air concert in his garden, surrounded by family and friends, which is no mean feat for a ten-year-old, alongside playing two new duets and a trio. George played brilliantly in the concert but, as soon as the music ended, he was running around with his friends just like any youngster.

I am very grateful to George for giving me the opportunity to write for him over the past three months and for challenging me to write pieces with musical and technical challenges in equal measure. My aim was to produce music that combined playing effects, alongside introducing new positions, keys, and rhythms but was also engaging and interesting. 

-David Heyes -Somerset / August 2020


"I've just taken a minute (finally) to read through the Grand Tour album and it is magnificent! I cannot wait to start using this when my 11-year-old finished up her first book of George's Adventures. She is loving them! Her eyes nearly popped out when she saw that she gets to stomp in the hiking one...allowing her the room to move her body like this is really great for her. Thank you, thank you for creating these little gems!" 

-Gaelen McCormick / Eastman School of Music, USA

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