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How do you discipline yourself to go through a bass book?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by villarddefender, Dec 18, 2017.

  1. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    That's a great book. I'm trying hard to plough though it, but a start to finish read it isn't. I tend to dip in for stuff I think I need, and maybe one day I'll read the whole thing.
    banditcosmo and villarddefender like this.
  2. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    If you have to "discipline" yourself to do anything it means you simply lack the desire to do that thing. With desire comes drive and discipline.

    Maybe you need to admit to yourself that you really just don’t want to do it.
    villarddefender and lfmn16 like this.
  3. There's a lot of truth in this, but it might not be the complete case.

    There are two kinds of aims in everything you do - whether you call them aims, targets, goals or objectives doesn't matter. There are two types:

    1. The aim which gets you out of bed in the morning. Highly motivational, high level and also pretty vague , like "I want to be great at playing bass". These aims are important, because without them you will do nothing. But they are not measurable. At no time can you call yourself, for instance, 73% of the way towards being a great bassist.

    2. The aims which are measurable. You need these to know you are making progress. I have done two exercises this morning. I've ironed out that excessive staccato in that walking bass line. And so on. The problem is that these aims tend to be pretty banal. No one wants to get out of bed to practice scales, unless they have another motivation to do so.

    So, you need both sorts of aim. One to know where you are going, and one to know of you're getting there.

    Do this. Keep a diary:

    1. Get a notebook. On the first page, write down what you want to be able to do on bass. "I want great fretless intonation"/ "I am going to make people want to dance"/ "I want to be able to build long, flowing walking lines which will blow people's socks off". Whatever. This is to keep you anchored in why you're doing it all in the first place.

    2. Turn over. On the next page, write down the date. Write down what you are going to work on in the week and the practice activities you are going to do that week.

    3. On the facing page, write down every day what you do.

    4. At the end of the week look at what you have done, and write down three sentences: which of the weekly aims you achieved, and whether you think the aims were useful in retrospect; which you didn't achieve and whether you need to modify these aims; any interesting things you learned about your bass playing during the week.

    5. Think about what your aims should be for the following week.

    6. Repeat the cycle.

    Keep looking back at the first page. As you progress, you may want to modify these motivational aims.

    Every couple of weeks read your whole diary. And see how you're getting on. Then you'll see your progress.
    villarddefender and Nashrakh like this.
  4. interp

    interp Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2005
    Garmisch, Germany
    The idea that some people are just geniuses and can achieve tremendous results without lengthy and focused effort is a dangerous fallacy. There is no secret. ALL of these people—McCartney, Jameson, Jaco, JPJ, Entwhistle, etc.—spent thousands of hours in intense practice and study, whether from a book or not.

    There are no shortcuts, not even for "geniuses." Without desire there can be no focus or discipline.
  5. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    IMO the above is the definitive answer to the question posed by the OP. If a person has a genuine interest in progressing, then discipline will come naturally.
    villarddefender and interp like this.
  6. jamh2000


    Aug 15, 2001
    - Finding 'the right' book- the stuff you need to learn, at a level that pushes you but isn't too hard- is as important as the study itself. Sit down and decide what you want to learn.
    - Do a bit every day- marathon not sprint. Don't get addicted to doing more and more and burn out. It's OK to be the tortoise because after a year you'll have kicked the hare's ass.
    -Do not get intimidated by the amount of stuff there is to learn. Choose one thing, forget the rest, and spend time on it. Then choose another thing after a few months. After a year or two.....see above comment, you'll be way ahead
    - Get mentally in the zone that this is a two-three year project....and then enjoy it and don't worry.
    villarddefender likes this.
  7. It doesn't come naturally. You actually have to make it happen. Becoming disciplined is hard work. Nothing kills a genuine interest like a failure to organise. Get a study buddy. That helps.
    aborgman and villarddefender like this.
  8. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Yep, true dat. I’m studying for a Masters...you’d better believe that I want to complete it and do well, but the discipline of studying by myself, by distance education, is HARD. Which is why I should not be on Talkbass right now :laugh:
  9. I used to run distance education at Master's level. Lots of people drop out. Those who have a study group to work with are much more likely to complete. Best of luck!
  10. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Wow! I am in some GREAT company. I don't even know what's in a bass book.
    villarddefender likes this.
  11. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    McCartney has said many times he does not know how to read music.

    I'm not opposed to anyone working through a bass book. I've used them myself. I was only trying to make the point, not very successfully I guess, that while working through a book is fine, it's no substitute for just playing and listening and playing and listening and playing and listening. And then playing with others, and listening. And playing.

    If you could spend 100 hours working through a bass book, or 100 hours playing by yourself or with others. Which one is going to make you better?
    villarddefender likes this.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    So anyone that is as talented as Paul McCartney doesn't need to learn to read music. It can be pretty helpful for the rest of us though.
    It's not either or. The best answer is to spend 100 working through a book so you know what you are doing, then 100 playing with others so you know how to apply your knowledge.
    Tbsx and villarddefender like this.
  13. Tried a Bach Cello Concertos book. Got about two pages in (great dexterity workout!), and just lost interest.

    Dunno why. Maybe it was because I discovered that it had everything transposed from C (original key) to D...
    villarddefender likes this.
  14. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    I haven’t made it through one yet. That is not to say I don’t practice. When gigging on a regular basis, about 5 -7 hours a week including rehearsals. 5 hours approximately otherwise.

    My problem is I’m not a visual learner being dyslexic. He trade off for that is I learn best by intuition and understanding the logic. Pretty much, I hear what I what to play and never really had an issue getting the notes out of an instrument.

    My advice for making progress is finding other musicians to play with, and learning new songs will help you significantly. Don’t neglect woodshedding the proper playing techniques from the lesson books. You will still need to do that 15 to 20 minutes a day, but the bulk of your time should be spent with other players. I can’t overstate how important to your development that is.
    villarddefender likes this.
  15. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    That is because they are advertisements to get you to sign up for his courses (that's all he talks about for the first 3 minutes of every video) which probably are well organized. The free ones are only useful to players who already know enough that they can pick up specific things they can use.

    I still work out of books but not bass books any more. I work out of music books meant for any instrument. Currently going through one about jazz phrasing, recently went through a book on major and minor key blues phrasing and one on rhythm changes.
    villarddefender likes this.
  16. villarddefender


    Nov 21, 2017
    I bet you would have done more than two pages with Patitucci bass book for dex or Bass Hannon or Bass Aerobics

    I'll eventually sign up then ;) I like your approach of working out on music books meant for any instrument: we want to be good musicians and not just good bassists!

    This morning I've limited my practice to the first 6 exercises in Hal Leornard Bass complete method and I have set my mind to not mess around before doing the exercises. Even harsher than that I told myself I wasn't going to touch my bass if it wasn't to do the exercises and it worked! The urge to play was too strong so I've channelled the energy at the right place and the magic happenned. I put a big check mark once I've mastered an exercise (can play it normally, backwardly, and at a fast pace). Instead of using a regular metronome I use random drum backing tracks in Drum Loopz app. I'm having fun as I'm learning taking small bites that are properly chewed. Thank you guys for your inputs so far in this thread I'm grateful may God bless y'all!
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
    Fun Size Nick and basscapes like this.
  17. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    PVG Membership
    Okay, first thing is. I'm going to shot down the notion that if you have to discipline yourself to do something then you don't have the desire. I'd argue it's probably the other way around, if you have the desire to do something then you'll discipline yourself to work towards your goal.

    - Start small. Set a timer on your phone for something as little as 10minutes. Put your phone/laptop/stuff that distracts you away in a drawer or another room. Somewhere that you actively have to make effort to get it, better yet turn them off completely as well. You'll be amazed how little the desire to mess around or check stuff is when stuff like that is out of sight.

    - In that 10 minutes just take an exercise from the book and shed it. If you focus on one thing at a time you'll get better one thing at a time. If you try to focus on 5 things at a time you don't get better at 1 thing at a time.

    - At the end of 10 minutes take a break. It might seem counter productive but in that 10 minutes you'll have focused entirely on one thing which makes it more productive. Take a 5 minute break and do something completely opposite that doesn't involve music then at the end of that set the timer again.

    Eventually you'll start to feel like 10 minutes passes too quickly so ramp the timer up to 15 minutes but it's a process that you build. Don't jump straight into it because a lot of it is training yourself to focus. After a few years and varying lengths of sessions I've settled on 30 minute chunks as being my most productive increments. It's pretty easy to clock in several hours a day of practise by breaking it up.
  18. I never used a book...self taught and that took massive discipline early on too.
    villarddefender likes this.
  19. Fun Size Nick

    Fun Size Nick

    Feb 21, 2006
    Hong Kong
    Many thanks! I appreciate the advice. I did my bachelor degree by distance as well and the lack of peer interaction was one of the biggest challenges. I think I may try to find some people who are studying anything remotely like my subject here, even if it’s not the same course - just to have some people to bounce ideas around with at least.
    villarddefender likes this.
  20. Jason Hollar

    Jason Hollar It Don’t Mean A Thing... Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2005
    Pittsburgh area
    I’m not sure I’ve ever made it through an entire book! I have a couple dozen jazz bass & theory books though. I’ve gone through and worked on many select exercises over the years. I find it to be a less stressful and more organic approach.

    Like some others have posted, I’ve been more focused on shedding tunes for upcoming gigs. But it’s always good to get back to the books.
    villarddefender likes this.

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