I need a practice routine.

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by count_funkula, Jan 8, 2002.

  1. I need some help. My practice time is sporadic and unproductive. I need some kind of routine to get something out of the time I spend with my bass. You guys out there that have a diciplined practice time, what do you do? I know the actual activities involved in practice will vary from player to player depending on level and needs but what I need is an outline to get the most out of my time.

    I tried taking lessons a while back but the nearest instructor was an hours drive one way and I just didn't have the time. As a result I'm kind of stuck with figuring it out on my own.

    Any suggestions?
  2. what level are you at? If you are beginning, here's some things that might help. Some of them might sound a little dumb but believe me they will help you get your act together:
    1) Play every note on every string, saying the name of the note as you hit it. For instance, start on the B string - B, C, Cb, D, Db, E, F, etc... do it with sharps too. All strings, all frets.
    2) Get a metronome and a pair of drum sticks. Set the metronome to a comfortable tempo and click the sticks to it. The object is to make the metronome 'disappear'...this will kick your timing in the ass.
    3) Play major, minor, dominant, and diminished scales in every key. (to a metronome of course!)
    4) Take some time to learn some fun stuff, like the new Train song, or whatever.
    5) I try and take time occasionally and spend 15-30 mins just 'letting go' - just pick a key (or not) and play what you are feeling. Take risks...try new things...try to play what you hear in your head...this is to kick your soloing in the ass.

    Hope this helps.
  3. fclefgeoff

    fclefgeoff Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2002
    I generally try to set aside at least 20-30 minutes a day to practice but it is usually close to impossible for me to find time every day. I always start by tuning my bass (I cannot stress this enough). Then I like to spend 15-20 minutes practicing scales (you can usually pick up a gigbag book of scales for $10 from Barnes & Noble or a local music store). Start with a basic major scale. Memorize the fingering pattern and try to play it all over the neck with a metronome and at varying tempos. After the scale work, check your tuning again (trust me, this is a good habit to get into). After warming up with the scales, I will generally attempt to play along with a recorded piece of music that interests me (something from my own CD collection). You would really be amazed at what licks you can learn/copy/steal from listening to another bass player closely. Before you know it, you have spent 30 minutes practicing. Do this daily and amaze yourself in one month. :eek:
  4. I guess I would call myself an intermediate player. I have a regular gig at my church. The music we play is usually pretty simple stuff and I keep my lines really simple.

    When I practice I usually play the basic scales (major, minor and penatonic) in a couple of forms. I have a little chromatic exercise I do in the first position to strengthen my hands develop accuracy.

    Dann Glenn once told me to play through the major scale three notes at a time every day. I do that but I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be listening for or learning from that.

    One of the things I'm most excited about is I have been learning the melody of the songs we play in church. I am starting to see the benefits of that in my bass lines.

    We recently lost our guitar player so our band now consists of piano, drums, me, and 9 singers. I really need to practice something that will help me make up for the loss of our guitar player.

    After writing all of this I'm thinking maybe there is nothing wrong with my practice routine afterall. Maybe I'm just getting impatient.
  5. it wont happen overnight, it takes hard work for a long time...I remember when I started playing jazz...I was wondering if I was ever going to 'get it' but once about 3 or 4 months afterward I stepped back and compared my playing to when I started. It was noticeable better. Take baby steps.
  6. Thats something to think about Ed. I was taking lessons from John Adams. He used to be a professor with the University of North Texas's jazz department so he does know his stuff.
  7. Just make sure that you don't make it seem like a chore. Enjoy it man. Like practise when you most feel like. Don't really force anything

    Just my little snippet there
  8. Hey hey, take it easy dude. What i'm just saying is your not really going to get anywhere if you just force yourself, if you hate to practise, you are going to start hating to play and then bad things happen.
  9. I practice for about two hours a day, including about half an hour of warm-up type material

    Sometimes I just work on one song, or one part of a song. Sometimes I write my own songs, or a solo or something. Just let it come out natural I say
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    As Ed so eloquently points out - the exact opposite of this is true! That is, you won't get anywhere unless you do force your self to play the things that seem hard!

    At every Summer School I've been to this is the one big thing that the tutors always say - there is no point practising things you know how to do and find easy - you have to put the time in on the things you can't do or find difficult.
  11. red-hot-bassist


    Sep 18, 2001
    i bought a book called the improvisors guide to bass playing (i think thats what it's called) it has loads of stuff from scales to big things from mingus, i do not get bored now as i realise how much i suck so i go practice more
  12. Get a piece of music. Learn it. Play it. I play a 24 bar Jazz standard.

  13. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    I cant believe I didnt see this thread.

    I just posted a thread titled Practice Routine/Time Alotment. Its a detailed break down of a 2 hour practice session. Just substitute what Im practicing for what you want to practace, and the length of your practice if you want to.
  14. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    How many 24-bar jazz "Standards" are there? I can't remember any off the top of my head - most common is AABA - 4X8 bars = 32?

    I mean I know there are all sorts - I just played a 14 bar one, but I wondered what you were thinking of?
  15. Tronictq


    Jan 23, 2001
    I currently drive 2 hours once a week for a lesson.

    Here's how I am currently practicing,

    I practice appregios, scales, at all different speeds ( 2 octaves ), sight reading, listening!! If you beleive it or not, listening can work wonders.... but it's not simply listening, think about what your listening to too!

  16. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    What exactly does AABA mean? this form is actually in one of my method books, it doesnt really explain it. all it says it that its the most common form in jazz and the example the book gives, is a tune called Ive got Rythm
  17. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    KungFu nailed it.

    In "Rock" circles, AABA could be-
  18. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
  19. BassMan2000


    Sep 27, 2000
    By the way if you plan on doing scales. Know the note names! Not the patterns! I can't stress this enough. Say the name of the notes as you play for the clearest example do C Major, then say the name of the notes, C D E F G A B C. Don't reply on patterns, you'll get stuck. Also play the apperigo(sp) for C major it goes C=root E=3rd G=5th B= 7th, and say the note names. Start at a slow tempo, and don't rush :). If you want anymore lessons just pm me, I'll help ya out :)
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Who can't spell then!!?? ABBA is completely different to AABA. ;)

    Hey ED - do you know any 24 bar standards? I was scratching my head and wondered at the significance of that remark from Dr. Mike?

    PS there is a Brazilian tune in our band's set that goes ABABABABAACABAB !