How Much Do You Practice?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by TerribleTim68, Aug 21, 2019.

  1. I'm sure this has been debated a million times, and I know a bunch of you are going to say "If you can't dedicate the time required then you shouldn't bother...." But seriously, for those of you who play as a hobby, guys who are NOT in a band, have no intentions of playing live, just like to sit at home and noodle on a chunk of wood, how much do you really practice? How often do you pick it up and how long do you goof around on it before you set it back down?

    I'm not looking for any sort of "This is how long you need to do this" answer. I'm just curious. My days of playing in a band are long behind me. Been there, done that. Now days I just occasionally like to sit in my room and thump out some notes or goof around on some rhythm I came up with in my head at 2am when I couldn't sleep. I work a full time job, have a wife who I like to spend time with and have some other hobbies that eat up some time too. I'm just curious, of the guys out there like me, how much do you sit down and play, and for how long?

    And to cap it off, for the guys like me who are NOT in a band actively playing and have no intentions of going down that road, where do you turn for improving your skills? Or do you bother with instruction at all?
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. JCooper


    Oct 21, 2009
    I’m not in a band right now, and don’t know what the future will bring, but I still have good gear and do still play it.
    I tend not to go much more than a couple of days without plugging in and working on something.
    Sometimes just warm up and noodle, sometimes learn a song or two.
    Spotify and Yt is where I get instruction, I suppose.
    DJ Bebop, MVE and TerribleTim68 like this.
  3. Yeah, I tend to look to YouTube a lot myself. Between the free stuff posted by Scott Devine and TalkingBass I feel like there's a lot out there without spending a lot of 9or any) money.

    Who are your go-to YouTube guys?
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  4. JCooper


    Oct 21, 2009
    I have definitely spent time with Scott’s videos.
    I realize that I may actually search specific pieces or songs or exercises or questions when I use Yt that way.
    I do like hearing a range of takes on an idea, whether it’s fingering specifics or how to play a tune or passage.
    DJ Bebop and TerribleTim68 like this.
  5. Element Zero

    Element Zero Supporting Member

    Dec 14, 2016
    I’m not playing in a gigging band right now. I do however play at my church once a month and another church once or twice a month and jam with friends once or twice a month. To be honest. I haven’t “practiced” in over a decade. I just play. I’ll spend a considerable amount of time rehearsing the current week set list if I’m playing that week at church... and by considerable I mean I’ll play the 4-6 songs 30-40 times during the week before that Sunday. Typically when I wanna play (and this morning was no exception) I’ll play for 2-4 hours. I rarely mess around for a few minutes and put it down. If I feel like playing, ima play until my fingers, arms, legs, shoulders, and back feel like I’ve actually played for a significant amount of time.
  6. JCooper


    Oct 21, 2009
    I don’t put any expectations on my time investment per session, but I’ll certainly go longer if it’s feeling good.
    I do certainly still get great satisfaction from actually nailing something I’ve been working on!!
    DJ Bebop and TerribleTim68 like this.
  7. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    When I was in middle school/high school I averaged 4-6 hours a day. It helped that I played 3 hours in school for various music classes/groups and during high school had 12 hour practices on weekends for one of the groups. College hit and that number became 4-12 hours a week (noting I was not a music major). Now that I have a full-time job, I try to get in at least an hour or so a day with the occasional longer weekend session.

    Ultimately play what you have time for, but do not expect to improve if you are not playing. For me, I try to keep a somewhat regular playing schedule, because playing helps me keep my sanity. :woot:
  8. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    i play every day. i gig when i can. i practice (tunes) as the need arises.
  9. ahadl2500

    ahadl2500 Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    Greenwood, IN
    Just realized I missed your last question. For improving...
    1. Private lessons (always the best option for music IMO)
    2. Learn music that expands your horizons. For me, I like doing improv using charts from Real Books. I also spend time learning songs from the book Standing in the Shadows of Motown. If you have never played a Jamerson part, learning how to truly play his pieces will make you a better player.
    3. Youtube it. I personally hate video lessons. I seem to be in the minority though.
  10. Yeah, that was sort of the case for me too. Back in High School I was in local bands. We practiced literally every day after school for at least 2 hours and then full days on weekends along with the occasional gigs. After high School it was pretty much "go to work, go to the practice room" every day. I stepped away from it in the mid 90s and probably didn't even touch my bass for about 12-15 years. Recently, after my little brother passed away (he was a bass player too), I've just found that I enjoy goofing around on it here and there. I was never a "great" bassist, just pretty much stuck to the groove and tried to keep things solid, no flashy crap. I never learned tons about scales or soloing, was never great at playing fast or all over the place. Now, at 46, it's hard to go back and try to learn all those things that you never learned back then and never were good at anyways. But it would be nice.
    DJ Bebop and ahadl2500 like this.
  11. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    I'm not able to practice as much as I'd like... I tend to get distracted super easily at home most evenings and when I do have time to play, so I generally try to get a solid few minutes in to warm up, work on a song or two or noodle or work on riffs or something. Getting more than 20-30 minutes in is hard most days, but I find it helps to make myself get that time on the bass daily even if I don't stick to any set routine.
  12. Wanker_Joe


    Sep 26, 2017
    I pick up my bass every day. Sometimes it's only for 10 minutes; sometimes I can get a few hours in. I've managed to keep this up for nearly 25 years so far, only missing out when I'm physically unable to play bass because I don't have access to it (or another one) or whatever. As for what I practice? It's pretty variable. Sometimes a new technique, sometimes a new song, though typically I just sit down and play music until I'm done playing music. I've always been self taught so I don't use anything for instruction, though I do like to cop techniques, ideas and licks from musicians I see playing live around town.
    rutrho, RiffwRiter and TerribleTim68 like this.
  13. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    After 51 years of learning technique and practicing to build skills, playing in rock, country, jazz, swing, and stage bands, now I only "practice" when I'm learning new material or working up a part for recording.

    I do, however, occasionally hone my skills and work on dexterity and scales.
    At this point there's not much I can't play, except for fast Francis Rocco Prestia style TOP bass parts. And that's only because my hands and fingers don't work like they used to. :) - :( Getting old sucks.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2019
    eJake, bulldean and climber like this.
  14. Yeah, that's been my main focus lately. Just trying to focus on scales and simple dexterity. That 12-15 years away kind of did its number on my hands. Those fingers don't move how they used too. :laugh:

    It's funny because when I work on those things my wife thinks I'm strange because all she hears is this odd thumping. It's hard to explain "that's what I need to work on..." to someone who has never done it or seen that side of "music".
  15. catcauphonic

    catcauphonic High Freak of the Low Frequencies Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2012
    Seattle WA
    I play in 2 bands and have lately been blessed with an odd schedule that allows me plenty of free time to practice in between band practices and rehearsals, but I've not been taking advantage of it like I should.

    I think I got spring fever that hasn't gone away yet, but I'm hopeful that since summer is on the wane, I'll get back to a more constructive practice routine. If I can manage to wean off of TB a bit more, that'll certainly help :)

    For enjoyment, It's just not something that can be forced. Sometimes it's okay to set it down for a time and it'll be even better when the mood does strike.
    Cheez likes this.
  16. nilorius

    nilorius Inactive

    Oct 27, 2016
    Riga - Latvia
    I play 20 years, before an hour, know 15 minutes.
  17. B-Mac

    B-Mac Just like Aretha Sang... R-E-S-P-E-C-T Supporting Member

    30 minutes to 60 minutes a day...but sometimes I do skip a day :-(
    Practice and playing aren't the same thing.
  18. Thumpin6string

    Thumpin6string Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2013
    Shoals Indiana
    No where near enough.:rollno:
    FenderB likes this.
  19. TheLowDown33

    TheLowDown33 Supporting Member

    Jul 4, 2009
    Obligatory "Not as much as I should".

    I try to practice every day, but that is just not feasible being a full time engineer and playing in two bands, plus going to the gym every day and anything else life decides to throw at me. When I do get to practice...and I mean truly practice, not just playing through the chord changes of pop songs for my cover band, I try to do a lot of chop builders, as well as diversify my scale knowledge and deepen my understanding of the fretboard. I dont have the time to devote right now, but if I ever find myself in a musical lull, I'd like to seriously study jazz. I know that it will be easier if I can get out of my own way, so I figured if I cant put in the sit-down-and-study time now, I might as well prep myself by really becoming proficient inside the scales.
    TerribleTim68 likes this.
  20. 9Thumbs


    Jul 3, 2013
    Near Boston
    I Like to spend at least an hour a day, mostly on an upright to keep my hands strong and the calluses on my fingers
    Mili and Slough Feg Bass like this.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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    Sep 23, 2021

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