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Can one be too greedy to learn?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by kiwlm, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. Just starting out on bass, found tonnes of stuffs that I probably should learn, but ended up keeping most of them just for referencees, since I do not have enough time to practice (around 1 hour a day). But I still felt greedy, and too:

    1. surfed TB looking for songs recommendations
    2. buy Records to inspire me
    3. buy books

    But my learning have not been up to speed with my intentions!

    Can one be too greedy to learn? Probably I should just sit back and learn it step by step, like learn all the licks from the books that I have, then only proceed to buy a new book? :help:
  2. cowsgomoo

    cowsgomoo gone to Longstanton Spice Museum

    Feb 8, 2003
    hunger for knowledge is unlikely to ever be a bad thing... but I can see how you can make things difficult for yourself by trying to learn aspects of music that require a knowledge of other stuff you haven't covered yet...

    the numero uno benefit of having a teacher is the fact that they can structure your learning properly... the crummy analogy is that you don't stick the roof on a house before the foundations have been laid :)

    another problem is that it's very easy with all the learning materials available to us that we spend all our time gathering the material and not enough time actually studying it... one evening's hour would probably be better spent with a teacher
  3. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    Jazzbo's reference on this very forum "Introduction to Chord Theory" is excellent. I'd post a link if I knew how. Maybe someone else will or you could do a search.
  4. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    Greedy may not be the word. Search the internet for "Obsessive Thinking". Your statement "learn all the licks from the books that I have" is excessive. It sounds like you are flipping back and forth between searching for the PERFECT book or lesson on one hand and then working on ALL the stuff you already have on the other hand. You may be thinking about both in a manner that keeps you from doing either. There is a PERFECT thing to work on OUT THERE...no I need to work on EVERYTHING I have RIGHT HERE...no let me search the internet...no I have to practice...This thinking can keep you in a loop that is not fun. I know. I go there.

    1. Stop. 2. There is no perfect book to learn from. 3. There is no perfect song to learn. 4. You do not have to learn every lick or exercise from every book you have or will buy.

    My advice: Once each X days make a list of one song to learn, one exercise or one page of exercises to work on, one music theory/scale/chord thing to work on, and then relax and spend X number of days working on that stuff. You define the X days, but you do not allow yourself to search/loop/obsess during those X days. Do not allow your brain to go in search mode. When you start to obsess, look at your calendar, and say, no, I will obsess in Y days from now, today I have to practice. Then X days later, go nuts. Search. Obsess. Refocus. Pick a new book, song, exercise. Start over. But, the key is to get to the point where you actually do focus enough energy to actually learn one song or one scale or one exercise note for note perfectly to be able to play back. You will be better off working on 12 songs during the next year and knowing them well, than working on 52 songs and not knowing one single one. You will be better off working on four measures until you know them than working on an entire song over and over for just a few days.

    Buy a big box. Keep everything in that box and out of sight. Only keep one cd, one exercise book, and one scale sheet out to work on.

    A teacher who does not understand this can actually be harmful. I have had teachers who keep dumping stuff on me when I have not worked out the previous stuff. If you are taking lessons, you need them to make you learn stuff even if it takes several lessons, and to not go to the next step unless you learn what you are working on now.

    The answer is not in finding the perfect book or learning every single thing in every book you now have, it is simply working away with the time you have so that a year from now you know a few songs and a few licks and a few exercises note for note from memory.

  5. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    While this may be the best ever Chord Theory reference, the original poster said they had, "found tonnes of stuffs that I probably should learn, but ended up keeping most of them just for referencees". The answer to this is not new/more/better/different information.

    If you do not understand this problem, imagine finding a great book, buying it, bringing it home, searching the internet, finding another great book, buying it, searching the internet, finding another great book...and never learning much from any of those books.

    The poster may not be looking for another book or music reference on the internet, they may be looking for advice on how to focus on learning in the middle of all this information overload.

    kiwlm, am I wrong?

  6. tim99

    tim99 Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2003
    ...unless it keeps you from learning.
  7. frederic b. hodshon

    frederic b. hodshon

    May 10, 2000
    Redmond, WA
    Microsoft Product Designer
    i used to buy any and all bass books i thought i could eventually use.

    i have books i bought 10 years ago i'm just now getting around to.

    with publications going in and out of print all the time, i say grab 'em while you can.

  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    The link's in my sig, but tim99 probably has a point. Sometimes it's less having the necessary material than it is getting the spark under your ass.
  9. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    The Link is broken :meh:
  10. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Oh! Let me fix that.
  11. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Actually, I can't find it.
  12. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    Yeah, last time I looked I couldn't find it either, I dunno, got lost in the wash when the homepage was updated I guess. :meh:
  13. Yeah, you are totally correct. But there's just one minor detail that I have forgotten to put in.

    I work 9-6 as a programmer, and thus could not have a bass at my hand to practice. And in my workplace, I have access to the Internet. So I can surf the web for more stuffs, but my practice is not catching up fast enough. But yet surfing the stuffs on the net get me energized up to a level to play.

    Yeah, and some of the stuffs, I am just afraid that they will go out of print. Like I just bought Weather's Report Heavy Weather yesterday, it was a bit hard to find it here in my countryl, so I just grabbed it when I saw it. But again, I don't think I will be able to play any of those stuffs in the next 1-2 years time.
  14. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    I think you're too eager. By taking on too much too quickly, you run the risk of not learning anything right.

    Also, the saying "the more you know, the more you know you don't know" is very true. If you overwhelm yourself with too much information, you'll only feel frustrated and feel bad for not learning quickly enough. Your quote above is a telltale sign that's starting to sink in.

    What can you do about it? First of all, don't forget that you're trying to have fun. Also keep in mind that learning to play bass doesn't have to have anything to do with playing music or being musical. Like any mechanical skill, getting a sound out of the bass must be repeated a number of times before you can perform it comfortably and continuously.

    Once you're physically able to get a good sound consistently and with good technique, you can pick out some basslines you like that are not impossible to play at your level. As you get better playing the simple stuff, you'll find that the more complex basslines will start getting within your reach.

    This is a good time to start looking at theory so you have a basic understanding of chords. That way you won't play any C#s over Amin chords.

    Spend more time listening than anything else. Standing in the Shadows of Motown is a great book to have. I've had a copy for the past 12 years and there's still stuff I won't even try to play. Good luck.

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