Having a hard time practicing

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Felken, Oct 25, 2016.

  1. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    I feel like I've done everything. I don't know how to progress. I feel my parctice isn't musical enough. I've played along songs on my iPod, I've read books, I've done sheet music, but I want to practice in a band enviroment.
  2. fingerguy

    fingerguy Inactive

    Aug 2, 2016
    So stop posting about it and start looking. Music stores, Craigslist, groups which you can find with Google searches, and so on are always having people/bands looking for others to jam with.
    Woolber, GKon and Bodeanly like this.
  3. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    How about this? Rather than practice as a bassist, practice as a solo musician. Get the Real Book Band in a Box CDs/downloads, and start playing melodies and solos, like a sax player would. That will put you in a new musical frame of mind. Or just start playing styles of music different from what you are used to.
  4. A band environment isn't where you want to be practicing. The other members would probably not appreciate you wasting their time.

    Sounds like you want to jam, get out of your comfort zone and experiment musically. I'd check out the open mic scene or find some jamming buddies (CL, FB groups...).
    RichardW and 4stringmachinepete like this.
  5. Grumry


    Jul 6, 2016
    Find a radio station or spotify channel or something that you don't normally listen to and try to jam along. It'll train your ears and it's always good to learn outside of your comfort zone.
    Bodeanly and Felken like this.
  6. Felken


    Jun 28, 2016
    Ottawa, CAN
    Exactly! I don't want to practice with guys, I want to play, cover some songs or even write some.
    InhumanResource likes this.
  7. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Agreed, getting in any kind of band will kick your ass if you've always just played by yourself.
  8. elgecko


    Apr 30, 2007
    Anasleim, CA
    In the words of the great Frank Zappa, "if you want an appliance to love you, you'll have to go in there and getcha one!"
    CntrlScrtnizr likes this.
  9. How can you do this when you feel your practice isn't musical enough?
  10. Bodeanly


    Mar 20, 2015
    I thought I knew everything until I got on stage. My advice: find a stage and a couple of fools who like the same loud noises that you do.
  11. twinjet

    twinjet Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Sep 23, 2008
    IE, Blues night at your local dive bar.
    Bodeanly and Remyd like this.
  12. InhumanResource


    Dec 28, 2012
    Find some jam sessions and go get your butt kicked by playing with more experienced players. Find a good teacher and buy a few lessons. Audition, audition, audition for new bands. Even if you aren't going to work with them in the long run the experience is valuable. Play, play, play!
  13. play different kinds of music. find a band and get to it.
  14. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    Agreed that you should find people to play with. I think it's the experience of putting practice into action that will really show you what you have down and what you don't.

    My advice is to keep an eye on Craigslist, and swing by anywhere in your area that gives music lessons/ has practice spaces for bands. I'm willing to bet you'll find flyers looking for musicians. You can also leave a flyer with an email adress (don't use your main one!) and see what happens.
  15. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    practice = stuff you do by yourself, like scales and modes, finger exercises, working out lines for songs you're learning, studying theory, etc.

    rehearsal = playing with other people on songs, hopefully with the goal of playing out live somewhere.

    You need both, I think, to really develop your technical chops and to grow as a musician. And once you get in a band, you'll find practice becomes more fun and fulfilling since it will, presumably, be focused on becoming better at rehearsal and playing out live.
  16. andybp85


    Jan 3, 2015
    Jersey City, NJ
    Guitar Center (employee in the family)
    There's no substitute for playing with other people, especially in a jam/no-pressure situation. If you just play with other people and spend no time practicing by yourself, not that I'm recommending it, but you'll see your musicianship grow by leaps and bounds. If you want to be in a band, it's the most important thing you can do.

    There's a few big life lessons here: if you want to get good at something, there's no short cut to learning besides actually doing it. I'm a programmer by day, and it took me years to realize that you can read the documentation for whatever code library you're working with for a week straight; you're not going to learn nearly as much as reading the actual code and changing stuff and then seeing how the thing runs... or breaks, which a lot of times results in even more learning than if it works. Same thing applies to playing music (and this is why jamming is super-important): if you find yourself totally out of your league and barely able to keep up, you're going to learn far more about what to do (and what not to do!) next time than if you knew every note and spent the whole time bored and daydreaming. Don't ever be afraid to try and fail. I'm a firm believer that you screw up everything the first time you try it; be prepared to handle it, learn from it, and keep going. And if anyone has the nerve to get mad at you for screwing up, as long as you are doing your best and not costing anyone money or ruining some objectively important performance, pay no mind to them. They were where you were once, and they're being nothing more than an arrogant hypocrite.

    Finding people to play with can be tough, especially if you're young. The bar I run an open jam at is awesome about letting in people under 21 for the jam as long as they don't drink, but I know many bars will not be so open and you can't blame them for it - they could wind up out of business or even in jail if anything happens. Don't be afraid to call and ask, and if you get denied ask if they know any places or anyone who would know any places to find a jam. Go to your local music stores, coffee shops, depending on what kind of music you want to play maybe your local skate shop or... jazz... store? (Where do jazz people hang out anyway? I jest, much love ;) Think about where musicians go to hang out and meet people and go there and meet people. My mom gave me some advice once that's pertinent here: if you want to find a girl that likes to dance, you should look for her at the dance. Go out and meet as many fellow musicians as you can. You never know if any random one of them is looking for some equally motivated bass player to start their first band with!
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2016
  17. J.D. Detroit

    J.D. Detroit

    Nov 12, 2015
    Good advice on getting out there and playing. Get that experience no matter how good/bad you think you are.

    Playing open-jam nights with musicians of all calibers is good a way to find your strengths and discover weakness -especially in a band setting.
    This way you can find what ground you stand on as a player and practice on what areas need improvement.
    Hopefully you can be inspired to learn new material, songs and tricks wanting to be able to jam certain songs/improves with others at the jam nights.

    Your in a rut -happens to everyone at some point. Take a break for a few days and do something else you enjoy to get out of that head space. Come back to it.
    Rinse and repeat as necessary.

    Spend more time noodling around and not just in the books. Discover ways to express what you already know instead of flooding yourself with so much.
    Experiment with different angles to hand technique, amps settings and strings even. Whatever it takes to get inspired. The most musical players seem the most uninhibited. Myself Included. Try to get to a point where you're feeling the music and having fun with it - not pressuring yourself thinking about it.

    Best of luck.
  18. Blackjac97

    Blackjac97 Supporting Member

    May 27, 2012
    Other people ruin music for me
  19. This is good advice, but be wary...

    Most blues musicians are HACKS. They over play, play too loud, and play endless, boring solos. Hacks. I've been to hundreds and hundreds of blues jam nights, and it's very, very rare when you have blues musicians who really know how to interact and play "with" a bassist, instead of usually playing over, and on top of the bassist and the drummer. Go to blues jams some until you're comfortable with the different feels/styles (Chicago vs swing vs a stomp, etc.), and the different ways that the chords are arranged. For example there's multiple ways to play 12 bar blues, and there's also 8-bar and 16-bar blues. There's other styles, but most of it is 12-bar blues of some style or sort.

    Get used to the blues, then MOVE ON to more challenging music with better musicians at better jams.

    Always go to a jam or two where you feel like you're way out of your league.

    My advice is to focus less on pop, blues, rock or metal, and get into R+B or funk, and then also jazz. Those types of players weed out the hacks more and better jell with the rhythm section.

    Lastly, my other advice is to pick up and practice another instrument, too. It'll make you far more rounded as a musician, and you'll have new insight from those instruments on how to play your bass, too. The ukulele is a good one since they're cheap and portable, with similar string spacing. Piano is awesome, sax... anything really...

  20. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    Yup, go to a Blues Jam and get your butt kicked.
    You will learn a lot, then repeat this process.
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