Best way to spend an hour?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Matthew_84, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. Hey TBers,

    There are many posts on here in regards to what to practice. But my question is if you practiced every single day but for only an hour each time, what would be the best way to spend your hour to develop and keep your interest?

    For me, if all I did was scales and running arpeggios up and down the neck for a couple of weeks straight I'd be pretty bored after a while and would move onto something else.

    So let's make some sort of a generalized list. I know it would be different from everybody, but that's the point... Looking for some fresh ideas here folks!

    Here's what I'm thinking right now:

    10 mins - Warm-up
    5 mins - Arpeggios (one chord all over the neck)
    5 mins - Scales (one scale all over the neck)
    10 mins - Working on something specific I need to work on (ear training, site reading, chords, developing speed, etc.)
    30 mins - Transcribing a new song, or working on a tune I already know (playing inversions over it, and improvising).
  2. Fergie Fulton

    Fergie Fulton

    Nov 22, 2008
    Retrovibe Artist rota
    If it was playing, i would have my warm up ( 5-10mins) and focus on learning something new everyday, not practice or ingrain what i already know but learn something completely new. I would base it in theory and then develop the skills to play it, or base it in a song and learn why the bass works in it ( or maybe not), or a technique then base it on the first two principals.....but always strive to learn something new.:)

    If it was reading ...........never enough time in the day to learn.:(
  3. Gaius46


    Dec 15, 2010
    Bass playing is equal parts note selection and rhythm. When you play a note is just as important (more important in some genres) as what note you play.

    I make sure I include rhythm work. That can be combined with scale or arpeggio work to maximize efficiency. Actually devising exercises that accomplish two things at once is generally a good thing
  4. BassyBill

    BassyBill Still here Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Best way to spend an hour will change from day to day. Decide what to work on each day, and don't get too rigidly stuck in a routine.
  5. Freddels

    Freddels Musical Anarchist

    Apr 7, 2005
    Sutton, MA
    Warm up? Just play your scales and arpeggios as your warm up.
  6. helterschecter


    May 2, 2011
    Learn something you want to play. The last thing your going to want to do is let a year go by and still not know any songs. I mean it doesn't take to many hours to get your basic major and minor scales down. So once you have got those down I would just play music. Find people to play with ..if your able.. and practice the songs you guys want to play during that hour..then when you guys get together to play it will be fun. And it should keep you motivated..just my oppinion
  7. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    I tend to warm up by doing scales and arpeggios then work on my right hand technique, I play with a pick 50% of the time and fingerstyle 50% of the time.... then learn something new whether it be a song or rhythmatic transitions to get them as smooth as possible and then just noodle around trying to come up with new basslines for the band.....
  8. Tampabass

    Tampabass Going Viral By 2080 Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2006
    I just try to slap as hard and fast as possible.
  9. Swampman Cory

    Swampman Cory

    Nov 9, 2009
    Los Angeles / ex-Michigan
    Endorsing Artist: Reunion Blues, 64 Audio, Mesa Engineering, Ernie Ball.
    I'm with bassybill. Practice regimens should change as you do.

    edit: I just realized that doesn't help. Whatever you do, you'll be practicing, which is great. I just wouldn't worry about finding the perfect regimen, because I'd imagine one probably doesn't exist.
  10. SolidFooting


    Jun 6, 2011
    If you consistently practice for an hour a day, you'll make great progress. How you spend that hour matters, but what matters much more is that you choose to spend an hour practicing.
  11. That's usually what I do after my wife has gone to bed in a mood because I've spent an hour playing bass instead of watching Desperate Houswives with her.
  12. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    +1, 2 octave arpeggios, pentatonics & broken 3rds
    I don't see rehearsals or work on tunes you play in a band. You need to find people to play with. It doesn't have to be the music you most love. It could be an ensemble music lesson.

    There is no substitute for ensemble playing to improve your musical reflexes, challenge your musical memory & practice hearing what is going on around you while playing. BTW, it is the best fun you can have with your bass on!

    OK Toronto TBer's, which music schools in Toronto offer adult ensemble lessons?
  13. Staccato

    Staccato Low End Advocate

    Aug 14, 2009
    Yes, to the warmup.

    If you have a passion for bass, spend some time on your signature song, or one that you've been wanting to learn, lately.

    Your list looks a bit too academic, and should have more fun built-in before the halfway point! Add more fun into practice...
  14. Yeah, I was thinking of once a week or so just jamming along to songs I love. I do agree that I need to jam with others. I'm waiting for a cab to arrive, it should be anyday now, but was told that 6 months ago.. don't ask... long story, but I'm also wanting to be a bit better for when I start jamming. My main concern is my ear. It is exceptionally bad... So I'm working on some ear training courses at the moment, but other than that I should be fine.

    As for the schedule, I dont know, I kind of like it. I agree that a strict routine everyday gets tedious, but usually when I do work on some stuff, even if it takes me a couple weeks to really get it down, I feel like I let other stuff slide. A routine with some basics thrown in, would keep them ingrained, but turning my warm-up into those is a great idea as well.

    Thanks guys,

    and 251 there is merit in what you said about playing in a band and learning to hear what's going around me as I do. You're right... I'll start playing with others sooner than later.

    To be honest, I've always been a little worried about playing with others because of how bad my ear is and I'm worried I'll look like a dolt. Unfortunately none of my friends play an instrument so I pretty much have to meet strangers. Anyways, I'll find someone on Craigslist or something in the same boat as me to start.
  15. senp5f


    Jan 27, 2008
    Santa Barbara, CA
    You're gonna get awesome if you consistently practice an hour a day. You'll be amazed how fast you get good!

    Tell us a little more about what kind of music you want to play -- it makes a huge difference.

    If you're playing rock, pop, R&B, country, Latin -- basically anything -- you are spending way, way, way too much time on scales and appregios and stuff. You need to spend as much time working on your rhythms and feel as your note selection.

    For home practice, find some drum tracks to play along to, or play along to your favorite stuff and really focus on locking in the feel and the groove. Then find the best drummer in your town and try to play with him/her once a week.

    As others have said, playing with other people is the best way you can improve your instincts and reflexes. It's awesome that you want to woodshed everyday, and I totally encourage it. But playing with others is what's gonna get you there.

    And if you start playing out enough, you'll realize that the really $$$$ to be made playing bass comes from playing half a dozen notes per song and putting them in just the right place. That's why we're in the rhythm section and not the scales or appregio section!
  16. Yes, I do need to focus a lot more on my rhythms than I have been.... Geez the stuff to work on never ever lets up...

    Guys, I have a question about my ear training. Thought I might as well just add it here rather than starting a new thread. I posted one months ago but it didn't seem to help me that much...

    The reason why I know I have a bad ear is that I can't sing to save my life. Give me a keyboard and a tuner, play an A and I'll sing you an Eb (six semi-tones too low). Play a D and I'll give you an Ab (same thing). But in some cases, I'm closer than that, so it's not like my intervals are perfect either. So, my ear is really, completely off. Yet when I sing it, I feel like I'm dead on. When I raise my pitch so that the tuner recognizes what I'm doing as the desired note, it sounds way too sharp in relation to the keyboard or bass, and when I lower it an octave, it is way too flat.

    My voice is a bit of the culprit, if I hum a note, then I am only a semi-tone or two off, and when I do this, the note I'm signing is lower, so I do think that I'm generally singing too low rather than too high.

    So, I've been doing these relative pitch ear training courses, where I sing both pitches to an interval, but if my voice is so off then I'm probably doing more harm than good.

    I know it sounds crazy, but can you guys think of anything to help me? I've tried transcribing songs but yeah.. I don't know.... I never compare them to a score so I don't know if I'm right or horribly, horribly wrong... I did look up Happy Birthday and found I had one note wrong and was in a different key altogether.
  17. 251


    Oct 6, 2006
    Metro Boston MA
    Try to take a relaxed approach about your ears. Patience. Doing the exercises will pay rewards. Playing with others, it won't take too long for you to learn from mistakes. You truly are only ever a half note away from the 'right' note. Just remember what you have done. If you didn't like the way it sounded, avoid doing it that way again. Then notice, the audience heard music when you heard a mistake. BTW, did I say get the group in front of an audience, often? Playing for an audience also needs practice. :cool:
  18. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    IME, if you have two hours, spend the second hour singing and learning melodies/lyrics with a keyboard. Record yourself and you'll improve over time. Then bring your singing/bass playing together up to speed.