Bassist Dan Swaim
Doc was well known for teaching bass at both collegiate and public school levels for 39 years, effortlessly shifting between classical and jazz genres.
Kansas Music Review and Orchestra News featured his articles as invaluable instruction guides for string bass teachers. He had an intense dedication to sharing his knowledge of music.
Early Life and Education
Dan, or “Doc,” as his students called him, was born in Winston-Salem in 1934 and attended RJ Reynolds High School before enrolling at University of North Carolina for two years while playing with Winston Salem Symphony. Later he went on to earn degrees at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and Indiana University Bloomington.
He taught double bass and music theory at both the collegiate and public school levels for almost 40 years, becoming known for his dedication to providing quality education to young bassists – publishing articles that served as instructional guides for string bass teachers.
Beginning his efforts on the Suzuki Bass School in 1988, becoming Suzuki’s inaugural bass teacher trainer and giving presentations worldwide. He also helped establish an ad hoc bass committee which revised original books I and II of the series.
Since leaving Cracked Podcast Network, former creative head, Brian Reitman, has been involved with multiple projects. These include Small Beans – an online comedy network funded through Patreon; content production for iHeartMedia; and being part of 1Upsmanship team podcast.
His professional career spanned more than 39 years. Throughout that period he taught double bass at both collegiate level and Wichita State University, while performing with orchestras like Atlanta Symphony, Dallas Fort Worth Symphony, Phoenix Symphony and Wichita Symphony; also Kansas City Music Center Festivals as well as Brevard Music Center Festivals.
Swaim was an innovator in the Suzuki bass world. His articles published in Kansas Music Review and Orchestra News served as instruction guides for string bass teachers, while he also presented at major conferences both domestically and abroad.
Achievement and Honors
After graduating with honors from Forbush High School in East Bend, North Carolina, Swaim joined the Marine Corps. Assigned to 3rd Battalion 6th Marine Regiment at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina and beginning his first tour of duty in Iraq in August 2005.
He published instructional guides for bass players in both Kansas Music Review and Orchestra News articles that have become invaluable resources, while beginning development of Suzuki Bass methodology in 1988. As one of the first bass teacher trainers for Suzuki Association of the Americas and twice at World Suzuki Method Conference. He became first teacher trainer for this approach as well.
Kurt Vonneguys and Daniel are longtime collaborators and co-wrote and produced 2010’s indie horror-comedy Kill Me Now together, and as members of Patreon-funded comedy network Small Beans Comedy Network; in addition, they produce video content for IGN and run podcast 1Upsmanship respectively.
Last week, Marine Corporal Jason Swaim was killed during Operation Steel Curtain, an initiative designed to stop foreign fighters entering Iraq through Syria. According to his family, LCpl Swaim was an intelligent and ambitious individual who believed strongly in what he was doing.
Swaim was known among his students as “Doc,” and taught at Arizona State University for more than three decades as professor emeritus of double bass. His students came from all around the globe.
He was married to Shirley Leonard Swaim for 66 years and leaves behind their three children – Christin Swaim-Higgins, Steven Swaim and Kimberly Tejada; five grandchildren Cadi Swaim, Coen Swaim, Chelsea Weldon and Jake Tejada as well as seven great-grandchildren; plus two sisters and a brother.
Dan Swaim was not only an esteemed bassist but an exceptional educator as well. Earning his Doctoral degree at North Texas State University (now UNT), he retired as Professor Emeritus of Double Bass at Arizona State University as well as having taught previously at Wichita State University and Kansas Music Review/Orchestra News which served as guides for string bass teachers.
Swaim currently co-owns Small Beans, an online comedy network founded with Adam Ganser and Kevin Epperson in 2017 that is funded through Patreon. He has produced video content for IGN as well as podcasts for Cracked website; additionally he co-hosts Kurt Vonneguys series alongside Alex Schmidt; as well as written/performed in numerous independent films such as 2010 horror-comedy Kill Me Now.