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Morning Warmup

Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by Mark Clout, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. Hello all!

    I've got a half hour in the mornings before work to get some practice in. I've only been at this for 3 months...but I'm loving it!

    If I were to practice 3 things in that half hour (10 min on each, every day), what would you suggest the top 3 things might be? I get more time in the evenings to practice, but that half hour in the morning might be a good time to get the "building blocks" in.

    Thanks in advance for your input.
  2. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2004
    Richmond, CA
    This is how I do it in the morning before work:

    First 5 minutes - warmup with scales, simandl, arco, walking blues in 4, rhythm exercises, whatever. Something I have a little proficiency at.

    Last 25 minutes - the #1 thing I suck at most. Doesn't matter what it is. Just 25 minutes of solid concentrated practice. Could be a new tune, new exercise, break out the 'nome to fix my 2-feel or time, maybe learn a new melody. Whatever. Just has the be the #1 thing that I'm the worst at.

    If I don't have much time, then I'll skip the warmup. So for me, 3 hours of practicing is six 30 minute chunks of concentrated practice, with short breaks between the chunks. I try to get at least 5 minutes every morning at the least of concentrated practice.
  3. When you don't have a lot of time to practice, you need to concentrate on fundementals, esp. if you're new to the bass. When I was starting out, I did the following in the following order: 10 Open string bowing sarting with long bows and moving up to eight notes then slurred notes. 2) 1/2 position or 1st position excercises from Simandl or similar for hand strengthing, scales and arppegioes. If you have any time left, work on other excercies, or specific music, solo piece, etc. If you have a gig or rehearsal coming up though you should spend your time after a brief warm-up on the music you will need to play.

  4. I’m in the same boat, wake up, feed the kids, drink coffee and then I get ½ hour of my best practice of the day. Right now I’m writing down what I’m to practice Sunday night for the following week. For instance this is this weeks list:

    Monday - sight-reading and piano, let the fingers rest.
    Tuesday - scales from e to e, across two octaves.
    Wednesday – common patterns (changes, blues, circles) in challenging keys. Latin tempos, I got this new Latin book that is kicking my butt.
    Thursday - songs for the weekend.
    Friday – solos

    Free evenings are fun stuff like learning ballads and playing with the boombox. If nobody’s home I’ll do Arco stuff. I don’t follow my own schedules with as much rigor as I should; it’s a work in progress.

    I’m trying to figure out a good pre-performance drill. Anyone have thoughts on good warm-ups. Currently I do scales and common runs to loosen up, but I was wondering what you full time guys do?
  5. Savino


    Jun 2, 2004
    I pick a melody or piece i know really well and run it through 5 criteria.

    1. Left Hand Articulation (Really pressing the notes clearly)
    2. Right Hand Articulation (Arco or Pizz)
    3. both together
    4. musicality (vibrato, phrasing,etc.)
    5. love

    Each of the five times you run it, you focus on one thing only in that order. At the end you should be cookin with gas. Especialy if you crank the tempo a little each time.
  6. Phil Rowan

    Phil Rowan Supporting Member

    Mar 2, 2005
    Brooklyn, NY
    If you all have the opportunity to warm up with another bassist, give this a shot:

    Set the metronome to 42, real slow, and play whole notes in the following way...

    Bassist #1 starts either on the D on the G string at the heel of the neck or the harmonic above the harmonic G.

    Bassist #2 starts on the open E

    Bassist #1 goes down chromatically, while basssist #2 goes up in fourths to the open A and on, so that the two alternate from playing the Dominant 7th, and resolving to the 3rd. It's a great warm up to do this for about a half hour, because it really gets you in tune with where your fingers need to be, and you'll hear right away if something is off.

    There are some variations, such as:

    Bassist #1: D - - - C#- - - C# - - - C - - -

    Bassist #2: E - - - A - - - Eb - - - Ab - - -, and so on...

    This is all called green room, and the variation is just a stair stepping of the original. It was taught to me by my old bass teacher, Dennis Irwin. I highly recommend this excersize. There are still a lot more variations on it, and you can even get to a point where you play freestyle and it starts to sound like a Bach invention.

    Since I don't have anyone to do this with, I sing the root and play the 7th and 3rd, which is an ass whooping in itself.
  7. I play octaves on one string only. I start on the e-string, thinking of each note. It reminds me of where everything is and in moments of panic I've instinctively fingered things in ways I'd have never thought of. For variations try using different fingers (starting on 4 and landing on 1 say), and when you play one octave on the e-sting for example, hold in you head where all the other notes of the same name are on the other strings and then see if you can find them instinctively. I got the idea from Rufus Reids books. Works for me and sets me up nicely for the day - oh and I use the bow for this - it makes dodgy intonation show up more clearly.
  8. If I have only 30 minutes to warm up (like before an orchestra rehearsal):

    1. Open string long slow bow with turns (changing bow without letting string stop vibrating) D, A, E, with 6 or 8 changes per string.

    2. Open string bow retrievals (all down bows with a retrieval lightly on the string muting with the left hand) halfs at 88 [g-g-g-g, d-d-d-d, a-a-a-a, e-e-e-e, d-g-d-g, a-d-a-d, e-a-e-a, a-g-a-g, e-d-e-d, e-g-e-g, e] focusing on good down bow attacks.

    I usually tune here.

    3. F scale (or G or A) two octaves up/down - wholes at 88

    4. F scale ( or G or A ) Remington wholes at 88 - (Remington is a trombone exersize [ former Tuba player ] for pitch and good attacks ) F-G-F-A-F-Bb-F-C-F-D-F-E-F-f, f-E-f-D-f-C-f-Bb-f-A-f-G-f-G; plus the same an octave higher (almost a vomit)

    5. F scale (or G or A) two octave halfs up/down at 88 - focus on pitch & attacks

    6. F scale (or G or A) two octave quarters at 88
    a. no slurs
    b. slur two, play two
    c. play one, slur two, play one
    d. slur two, slur two
    focusing on attacks and clean string crossings

    7. Bowing drill, (tounging drill (former Tuba player)) - starting at the top, on an F scale (or G or A) two octaves 2 wholes, 2 halfs, 4 quarters, 8 eights, 12 triplets, 16 16ths, focusing on pitch on the wholes & halfs and clean articulation on the quaters, eights, tripletes and 16ths.

    8. F scale (or G or A) two octaves 2 8ths per note at 88, up and down.

    9. F scale (or G or A) two octaves 3 triplets per not at 88, up and down.

    10. F scale (or G or A) two octaves 2 8ths per note at 88, both in same bow direction [down,down,up,up,...], up and down the scale.

    11. F scale (or G or A) two octaves 8ths at 88 up & down
    a. quater, 8th, 8th, 8th, ....
    b. 8th, 8th, 8th, ....

    I try to focus on proper technique during my warm up:
    1. LH position - pitch, good shifts, no thumb pressure
    2. RH - clean attacks, clean articulation, proper bow position
    a. near bridge
    b. at balance point
    c. bow over hair

    My normal practice routine is to:
    1. Do all of the above (usuall twice each) on the major scale of the day, rotating each day.
    2. All other major scales wholes, halfs, quarters and 8ths.
    3. Orchestra music / lesson material

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