Navigating the “Blacktop”: Aural Skills for Upper Position Playing on Low Strings

For bass and cello students, the area north of fourth position is a terrifying place. This discomfort is commonly revealed through stiff, desperate shifts, timid thumb position passages, and a general avoidance of the area. What tools can we give young string players to increase their comfort with the “blacktop”? A university aural skills instructor and cellist and a bassist combine their expertise to present how aural skills can give students confidence in upper playing positions.