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Gary Willis

Instructor Berklee Study AbroadContemporary Performance (Production Concentration)First Year Abroad

In Their Own Words

“Creativity was always central to how I learned music, and it’s central to how I teach. Creative problem-solving is the best way to describe it and it’s led me to investigate a variety of paths as part of becoming a musician—from creative instrument design by looking at the instrument as a user interface, to unique right hand solutions, to fingerboard harmony concepts that exploit the symmetry of the fingerboard, and a wide range of other directions that have all contributed to my experience."

“I basically want my students to learn how to teach themselves. Technology and a musician’s role in society is changing so rapidly that mastering a single set of skills is no longer enough to prepare for a constantly evolving future."

“My experience was that although I went to music schools, I never had an instrument teacher, so that forced me take a very direct approach to solving problems and learning that I believe I wouldn’t have adopted had I learned the instrument in a traditional setting.”

Career Highlights

  • No Sweat, Bent, Actual Fiction, and Retro, released as solo artist
  • Cofounder and coleader of the jazz fusion band Tribal Tech
  • Worked with Wayne Shorter, Allan Holdsworth, Hubert Laws, Dennis Chambers, John Scofield, and Michael Brecker
  • Performed master classes in over 20 countries
  • Author of Fingerboard Harmony for Bass, 101 Tips for Bass, Ultimate Ear Training for Guitar and Bass, and The Gary Willis Collection
  • Codesigner with Ibanez for the signature fretless GWB1005, GWB35, and fretted GWB35F