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My plans to become a better bassist... I'm going to need help!!

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Matt Till, Feb 4, 2004.

  1. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    I'm in a rut. Musically and as a human being. Ever since I've picked up my bass, I've wanted to do music. Not just rock star, though that's the ideal, but... music. A brief history of my college experience for those who don't know it, I tried to major in music at Edinboro University of Pennslyvania. But A) I needed an upright and B) I needed a lot more previous education than I though. So I gave up, and took up another interest, photography.

    As a person, if I had to apply a major to myself, I am a music major with a photo minor. Photo just doesn't cut it.

    My epifany I had a couple of nights ago. Take bass lessons during the summer, work my way up to become educated enough to enter a full music program, come back and major in music.

    Now here's where I need :help:

    My music reading skills are sub sub par. What *cough free* sheet music should a beginner take on.

    I also need help finding a local teacher, how would I go about finding one that was bass specific.

    Like I said, I'd ideally like to be a rock star, but this is a rare case. I'd like perhaps to write jingles and musical scores for movies etc. I did a soundtrack for a film major friends movie and though I approached it in an unorthadoxed fashion, it was a lot of fun and is something I could see myself doing for a long time. Creating a musical mood and whatnot.

    Thanks for any input.
  2. kegbarnacle


    Nov 18, 2003
    I suppose I'm a Version 2.0 beginner when it comes to sheet music. As for free stuff, the internet is gotta be the best option. The best thing to do I think is take it in parts. I used to take lessons years ago and my teacher gave me really simple sheet music that only had one note repeated across the page. It was purely to learn rythyms and be able to recognize whole, half, quarter, eighth, etc, notes. The actual note didn't matter at all. It would be an entire page of whole notes, all C's. Then half's, all C's. And so on. I'd sit there and read the page playing along - focused entirely on keeping the rythym right, not worrying about changing notes, not worrying about the beats per minute (playing really slow), only doing the rythym. Then he gave me some sheets that began to mix whole notes and halfs, then quarters, etc, still nothing but C's. Then a completely seperate part was seeing different notes on the bass clef, playing a scale on the sheet music. So you begin to recognize what note on the sheet corresponds to what note on your bass. Then you get a sheet of all whole notes that use different notes as opposed to all C's. And practice. Lots. That's why I never made it past V 2.0 beginner. My goals aren't really as lofty, movie scores and what not. Bar band is the height of it, I'm not really trying to make it big or anything.

    To find a local teacher, call the music shops. Call around a bunch. Ask what kind of music the teacher likes, try to find someone with a little overlap. Before I found a guy I really liked, I took lessons from an older foreign guy who knew music inside and out, but his interests were more in the area of Serbian music, and I wanted to rock. It was harder applying what I learned from him to what I wanted to do.

    Also, check out musicdojo.com. It's Adam Nitti's project (and a bunch of other folks). It's not free, $50 for 20 lessons over four weeks, but well worth it. I took their Jazz Improv class and I thought it was great. Very well put together. They do have a sight reading class for bassists, I believe. That would give you the material you need to practice and be the easiest way to learn.
  3. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    Cool! Thanks for the advice.
  4. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I second the MusicDojo recommendation. I took the Slap Bass II course and it totally changed the way I approach slapping. While it's not the major focus of my playing, I want to be well rounded. I'll be working on the stuff I learned there for a LONG time.

    As for preparing for becoming a music major, I would recommend the following:

    • Learn all the modes in every key, both playing, singing and spelling out the notes and intervals.
    • Learn to spell, play and sing every type of chord in any key, including the tensions.
    • Work on your ear training. A good free resource for this is:

    Pretend you just joined the Marine Corps and you know you're outta shape. :p

    Good luck.

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