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Effective Practicing

Discussion in 'Double Bass Pedagogy [DB]' started by JonBurr, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. JonBurr


    Sep 29, 2008
    Yonkers NY
    I read an article about a study of piano majors and their practice habits (one of those included in this survey). Students of all levels started sessions with approximately the same errors per minute - but the better players decreased those errors during the session. The ones who got better focused on correcting their errors, where the lesser players played to hear themselves play.

    What do you tell your students? What works for you? How do you structure your own practice routine?

    Here's a link to my own post on the subject.
  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Jon, I read your post and I'd think you might be interested in the Kinesthetic training thread I started a while back:

    I don't teach but training myself to focus on the aspect where you have to allow the body to learn on it's own and not let the mind get in the way. Any path that leads to "automaticity", where the learned skills can be called upon automatically are worthwhile. I think that's what rote learning attempts to do but I think the aspect of "if you fail, do it harder" is actually counter productive.

    Slow deliberate practice so far seems to be the best course of action to me, and only when certain actions have that sense of "automaticity" that you notch it up to the next level.
    Remyd likes this.
  3. The one and only correct response.

    You have to take your time with every little detail, not just to get to a point where you understand a concept intellectually, but that you have to do so with a clear sense of focus and direction (i.e. "deliberate") in order to physically experience whatever it is you're focused on (i.e. "kinesthetics"). Repetition itself won't help you, but certainly deliberate, mindful repetition is the best path to mastery.
  4. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    Actually I think there's one more part to the equation that would helps things along: being put into a situation to perform under pressure. This is something I got out of reading "The Talent Code", and that at least in my subjective experience that the more your put yourself in pressure environments.

    Historically, for musicians, you would be tested by having to perform for others in a gig, audition, jam session, etc. Usually those experiences are sporadic, unless you were around in the 50's/60's and were able to go to jazz sessions for hours on end every night. The greats were tested on a daily basis. There's no doubt that it also contributed to their skills. We dont' have that type of thing anymore.

    I haven't heard anyone come up with anything like this so I thought I'd share. I think it's worth coming up with ways to put pressure on yourself, even if it's simulated in the shed. Ideas:
    * Visualization and imagine that you are performing on the band stand or in front of 300 people. Imagine that they're staring at you and listening intently on your playing.
    * Recording yourself playing and trying to come up with the perfect take in a limited number of attempts (i.e. max 3 tries).
    * Allow yourself to only play a well known piece once a day and challenge yourself to do it perfectly. If you fail, dont' give yourself a second chance to try it again.

    Come up with your own. Just about anything that puts a certain "scare" in you if you mess up.

    I've been doing this for a while and it seems to help alot during gigs. I dont' get nervous anymore playing heads and flow past the mistakes.
  5. Good advice, though you're assuming the end-goal is to perform. I would imagine there are many amateur musicians out there who just want to play music for themselves and with friends.
  6. Tom Lane

    Tom Lane Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 28, 2011
    Torrance, CA
    I think Huy makes an excellent point. Unless you're lucky enough to become a *house* bassist some place it's tough to get that kind of training. Along these lines, my teacher makes me perform for him at every lesson. Talk about pressure - I know I can't get anything past him because he hears everything. Anything you can do to help you hear what's going on and learn to respond to it seems well worthwhile for a jazz musician.