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Practice Schedule

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by TheIndieKid, Dec 21, 2016.

  1. Hello there,

    I'm looking for some advice on what to practice when I pick up my bass guitar. I've been playing for about a year and a half now and I throughly enjoy the instrument. I have a lesson once a week, but in my spare time I only practice songs and I feel I've hit a wall with my playing now. Does anyone have any tips or could even help me create a schedule? Many thanks.
  2. Do you practice any modes during your practice time ? I would recommend the basics. Practice your scales and modes in one and two octaves. This will open your ear and get you out of the "box" method/style of playing.
    mikeyjm2 and TheIndieKid like this.
  3. Once we start playing songs that is what we normally practice. I understand you want to advance, give this some thought.

    I play Praise, 6 or 7 new songs each week. So on Saturday morning I take the sheet music the director handed out and call up a video of that song. Armed with the sheet music I listen to the song and make notes in the margins how I could improve, augment, insert a run or fill, in general improve the song. Notice I said "...how I could improve" any of the changes I make to the sheet music has to be "aired" when the band gets together. Me taking off on MY run or fill with out the guys knowing I will be doing this could step on someone's toes. If no one has laid claim to that void spot, fine, I'll fill it, but if it is already full, best to not go there.

    I probably get more out of listening and seeing if things would work, than hours of rote practicing. Not sure you are now with a band and if not the improvements you make are your improvements. Keep looking for ways to improve...

    Offered for what it is worth.
    BoatyMcBoatface and TheIndieKid like this.
  4. Thank you for the advice! I really appreciate it. I'm not in a band as yet, but are you saying I should/could do this solo too?
  5. Not sure what solo means, but, sure, why not. If your instructor has given you a song, i.e.. tabbed one out for you. Nothing says you can not fill a void. OK what is a void? A place in the song that just begs for a run or fill. A chromatic walk between verses, or add a walking bass line instead of pounding out roots, or just roots and fives. try roots and threes, or roots and eights.

    Now understand you are paying your instructor good money to take you down a road. Best to not get too far ahead of where your instructor wants you to be, but after you do his homework, I see nothing wrong in trying new things. Talk to your instructor about this, he is taking you down this road, do what he says.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
    blixild and TheIndieKid like this.
  6. Also thank you! I don't practice my modes (bad of me I know! :woot:). I've been shown by my tutor that each note of a scale is a different mode, with 1 being Ionian, 2 being Dorian...and so on up to the 7th note in sequence. Is it just a matter of remembering the modes and what notes they correspond to or is it more than this?
    Gospel Bass Player likes this.
  7. Well, I'm doing a Rockschool Exam (don't know if the organisation exists in the US), which is like a qualification that goes up in grades requiring you to know some musicianship (albeit simple since I'm doing the 1st module and jumping straight to the highest band of that , which is grade 3). Among the required tasks are a group of songs to perform. Improvisation isn't required yet and it ain't what the assessor a look for, but I could try improvising over it at home for fun. I'm kind of amiss when it comes to improvising since I've only really ever concentrated on pentatonics (because who can ever go wrong with them? :))

    Another thing is that I find it hard to tell whether my instructor is taking me down the right path. He seems very knowledgable and he mentions he does things that he's some tutors not teach (which are often important fundamentals). I haven't had a tutor before him so it's hard to tell if he's good or bad. I find it strange when I tell him I've watched a YouTube tutorial or video on bass, like learning the notes on the fretboard, he said that there's no need to do that and it can be done through patterns, in this context. In my opinion, that would be a do it or drop the instrument matter.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
  8. O'h you can do pentatonic scale boring or interesting.... OK I understand where you are now. First follow the path the instructor and the book of study has you on. Plenty of time to get into improvising later. First learn "the rules" so you can improve on them ---- later. How much later? A lot later.

    Slow down and enjoy the journey.

    P.S. You guys from the UK, Canada, etc. that have the testing and grade level thing spelled out for you have a leg up on the rest of us. Back before I retired I took a horse and pony show into all of North America for our dealer sales force.

    The guys from Canada got the message faster than the guys in the states. Your education process is a little more advanced than ours. Another reason to do what your instructor is asking of you.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2016
    Johnny Crab and TheIndieKid like this.
  9. I am one for rushing haha. It's just that (so he says) I'm one of his best students (don't mean to sound like bragging) and I seem to digest so much info without writing it down and pull it back out again when I need it. He says I'm always on track, so mahbe I've got so many things in mind so early and I just need to accept there's a wall for now?
  10. Go back and read the P.S. I added.
  11. BossOnBass


    Aug 11, 2012
    Houston, TX
    Explain to your instructor that you feel like you've hit a wall. A good instructor will be able to quickly assess why you are at the wall and give you exercises to get past the wall. The 1 on 1 feedback about your playing and frequent assessments to keep you on the right track is the benefit of private lessons over learning through YouTube. This is why you are paying the instructor.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Talk to the instructor that you are paying money, not a bunch of strangers on the internet with dubious credentials. Assuming of course that you have a good instructor whom you identified through numerous referrals, not just some guy teaching at a music store.
    Does this mean you aren't practicing your lessons? If so, that is the problem.
    T-Funk, INTP and blixild like this.
  13. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    The OP has only being playing for just over a year, and has not yet touched on any basic theory. IMO, he has a lot of other basic stuff to learn, before going anywhere near modes.

    OP : the link below stresses the point I made above. The site itself is one of the best. My advice would be, go to the study guide on the site. Start at he beginning, and slowly work your way through. This way, the lessons are in chronological order, where one lesson builds on what went before.

    Chord Tones Are Primary | Bass Chord Patterns | StudyBass
    JusttheBassics likes this.
  14. JusttheBassics

    JusttheBassics Guest

    Jun 23, 2016
    ^This. I have been a musician all my life on instruments other than bass, so when I took up this instrument I new I needed to start from the rock bottom and approach my learning differently than I had with other instruments (because the traditional role of the bass is different than say, trumpet or flute, etc.)

    The best, free, system of pedagogy I found on the internet was StudyBass. It provided me an excellent foundation for learning what is fundamentally important to understand as a bass player. I simply can't recommend it highly enough.
    fearceol likes this.
  15. There are many words of wisdom to be shared pertaining to how to study/practice the bass guitar. I must say that I have not arrived by any means. Perhaps, it would be better to tell your instructor about the "wall" you have hit. I'm sure since he is walking with you through this process he can help you overcome. Also, the Talkbass community welcomes you as we all journey towards improvement. Have fun...and be sure to listen carefully to the bassists who inspire you. We have all been where you are...sometimes, I feel like I visit the woodshed quite often myself and lean upon the shoulders of the great bass players of today and yesterday.
  16. Audible Vibes

    Audible Vibes

    Dec 4, 2016
    Minot, ND
    Ive also been playing for about a year and a half, and definitely recommend StudyBass. I've already learned quite a bit from there, especially on. It's selection and theory.
  17. Tommyc


    Nov 11, 2015
    Materially time is best spent working on what you can't do well. Physically you should always warm up with easy movements. Alternate and crossover then play a few reps of chromatic scales. I put a capo on the third fret and use it for about 10-15 minutes until my hands are warmed. Materially I run through the triads built up in thirds in a given key signature up and down the board. For example, in A major say, a,c#,e b,d,f# c#,e,g# d,f#,a etc. As the triads can be found in different places you'll reinforce your note location knowledge more solidly than with practicing scales which are pattern derived. If I'm working on tunes I try to not waste too much time playing through things from beginning to end but work on what bars aren't up to snuff. I find the time to improvise finally everyday always with a drum machine trying to link up progressions.
  18. john m

    john m Supporting Member

    Jan 15, 2006
    I recommend looking at exercises or songs written in standard notation (bass clef and later other clefs).

    Do this for scales and modes too. Tab? your choice, but most of the good paying gigs I get require the ability to sight read.

    It keeps you from looking at your hand(s), and you learn to read at the same time.
  19. oldNewbie

    oldNewbie Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2016
    Did I miss the message advising you to sing ?

    - As you play scales and arpeggios (i.e. without sheet music)
    -Anytime you are reading either tab or standard notation
    - The melody while playing along with a recording
    - Harmony vocals while playing along....

    Will greatly , greatly improve your ear and your facility , and make you a much more desirable band member in any and every situation , whether you intend on singing onstage or not.
  20. RichardW


    Feb 25, 2016
    near Philly
    What does "hitting a wall" mean to you? I find it hard to believe you're at a place where you are truly not making any progress as a player--especially if you've only been at it for 18 months. You say you "only practice songs" outside of your weekly lesson. So? Every time you learn a new song, or get more comfortable or creative playing a song you know, you are making progress.

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