Music Student Teaches Bass Guitar and Performs on Stage

October 11, 2021 | ,

Cole Parsons is working toward an Associate in Fine Arts Degree while studying music at East Central College, his melodies also are heard outside the classroom.

Parsons, of Beaufort, is a 2018 Union High School graduate who plays bass guitar in three bands. The music he performs ranges from older blues and country, to diverse rock n’ roll from the 60s to the 80s, to contemporary rock and newer “poppy” music.

Parsons has been playing bass for 11 years. He was influenced to play by his father, who also is a bass player and, like Cole, has performed on stages in the area.

In addition to the bass, the younger Parsons plays piano, guitar, harmonica and periodically a few other instruments.

Teaching Bass

When he isn’t performing with a band at local wineries, or in the music rooms of ECC, Parsons is teaching bass at River City Music in Washington.

“Teaching has been a wonderful experience, I have really enjoyed seeing my students make progress, especially when their faces light up with pride as we overcome a particularly difficult passage of music together,” he said.

Parsons said he noticed an opening at River City Music last spring and mentioned his interest in the position to Dr. Jennifer Judd, who encouraged him to pursue the job.

“Dr. Judd said to go for it, so I interviewed, and it went really well,” he said. “I started with just one student and now I am up to six — they are all individual, personal lessons.”

Parsons added that he doesn’t have a set curriculum for his students, but encourages their individuality.

“I prefer to teach them the type of music they want to learn,” he said. “I ask what kind of music they like, or what bands they are into, and then I find songs that support the lessons.

“It is a lot easier to teach songs they want to learn because it encourages them to practice,” Parsons added.

Visit the River City Music YouTube page to see a video of Parsons talk about playing and teaching bass guitar here.

The ages of Parsons’ students vary just as much as the type of music they like to play. Right now, Parsons is teaching students with ages from 12 to 75.

In addition to his already jam-packed schedule — at River City Music, the ECC Music rooms and performing on stage — Parsons also writes music, including songs for himself and friends, and advertising jingles that he sells to earn royalties.

After Graduation

Parsons noted that he is not certain what he will do after he graduates from ECC in the Spring of 2022.

He may attend Webster University, but there are not clear plans to continue to a four-year school.

“I’m on course to graduate next semester and if I don’t go to Webster, I’d continue to grow my connections to the local music community and online, while I continue teaching and gigging,” he added.

Parsons noted that, while he enjoys performing, teaching bass has really grown on him.

“I have always wanted to be a player and now that I am teaching too, I enjoy being in between the two,” he said. “I really enjoy teaching, and that came out of nowhere.”

To learn more about the ECC music program, visit www.eastcentral.edu/humanities-arts/music/ or email Dr. Jennifer Judd at jennifer.judd@eastcentral.edu.

To learn more about classes at River City Music, or to sign up for bass lessons with Parsons, people may visit www.rivercitymusic.us.com or call 636-239-9674.