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Practice schedule?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by gammeljohan, Dec 7, 2004.

  1. gammeljohan


    Jul 16, 2004
    Do you guys have any practice schedule you follow every day?
    I.e. you play rythmbased things a quarter, then you play scales and stuff for the left hand a quarter, then slapping half an hour etc.
    Grateful for any advice how to organize your practice-time.

  2. Metal Chick

    Metal Chick Guest

    Dec 6, 2004
    I don't have, have never had, and most likely never will have a regimented practice schedule. I play what I want to play, when I want to play it. I couldn't even imagine forcing myself into a regiment.

    For me, playing is all about heart and desire. I never want to get to the point where I am bored while playing my bass. That would be just awful.
  3. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hmm. I want to play what I want to play too. A possible difference is that I want to play like a master who spent years in disciplined study, so for now it's disciplined practice - as regimented as I can muster, anyway; I spent too many years with an undiciplined, ecclectic mind to be able to learn as well as I should.

    I try to practice for two hours or more at a time (Mon. for 2-3hrs, usually 4-5hrs on Tues., Wed is usually the evening for the drummer and I to rehearse songs and work on vocal harmonies for a little while, and Sat. is whole-band practice night if we don't have a gig). In two hours I try to divide things up into something like ½-hr scales/modes/keys/arpeggios, ½-hr learning new songs, ½-hr on setlist songs, and ½-hr working on some 'pet' solo bass or bass and vocal number. Er.. that's what I shoot for, anyway.

    Metal Chick: Are you in a band? Didn't you have to 'force yourself' a little bit to learn all thirty or forty songs (minimum) that it takes to have a regular 4hr. show? Some of my 'NOT-favorite' songs that others in the band wanted on the setlist feel to me like a real chore to practice (not to play on stage, though - unless I hadn't practiced it enough!), but not downright awful.

  4. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    i start off with my warm ups(you can get bass injuries beleave it!)
    then ill do some sight reading practise
    ill do scales and modes
    speed exesizes
    more reading stuff
    go through my jazz band pieces and other pieces of interest (donna lee currently)
    then ill do theory which i dont use my bass alot with but it is important for furthering yourself on bass.

    thats it after that ill jam a bit with my dad or just relax maybe try a lil songwriting
  5. unregistered

    unregistered unregistered

    Jun 18, 2004
    more important than the time spent on practicing, and how it is proportioned, is <b>what</b> you are practicing. If you don't know what you should be practicing, then chances are, any combination of things that you guess at, done in any order or for any period of time, is not going to improve you a lot as a player. I know this because I spent years inventing practice rituals that taught me nothing.

    The way you divide up your time is personal, and up to you, but establishing specific goals is something that should happen formally, and preferably led by someone with a greater knowledge of the subject than you. You may not start to know what your goals are until later in life, it happens to everybody at a different age. If you think you know them now, set them down and seek out a teacher who can tell you specifically what you should do to get from here to there, and then work on them one at a time for as long as it takes to get them perfect. There should never be any doubt in your mind what you should be doing this week, or when you have done it enough that its time to move on to the next thing.

    I practice two hours per day, I get up an extra hour early in the morning before school/work, and then do another hour at night. An hour at a time is about as long as I can sit without getting distracted.
  6. From my experience and the knowledge of others, I think the most important thing is to just pick it up everyday and focus on getting better at something through drills or practice, and being relaxed and unburdened. The rest is putting my heart into it. Sometimes I practice (both UB and EB) for a couple hours, other times I pick one of them up for about 10 to 15 minutes just to hammer out some drills. Most of the time when I am watching a movie or show alone and my bass is there, I practice then. This is how I can practice good, not long.

    Someone unregistered said that it is more of what you practice, but I think, even past that, it is how you practice.

    The prime rule of learning is that you will learn best when interested or having fun. (and unburdened and relaxed)

    Don't get me wrong. I do not mean that relaxed practice means undisciplined practice or that you just need some time alone in a dark room (Honestly, a pitch dark practice room allows me to focus. If I need music, i get a music light. Less mental distraction.), but not feeling pushed to do it allows for better practice as long as one is focused.
  7. Whafrodamus


    Oct 29, 2003
    Andover, MA
    I play all day everyday. My record for one day is about 10 or 11 hours. I have only had a few days where I haven't ever picked up the instrument.
  8. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Well, when I was newer at bass, I did alot to memorise the Major scale up and down the neck in all positions. And that means I can be playing a song in a Major (or minor as they are relative) key and know exactly what notes to stay away from. Of course later on you'll want to know other ways of transitioning chords which I don't know the names for, but I've picked it up from other famous players. Also, it'll help gain relative pitch of the instrument.
    And I'd also do stretching excercises to get a 1 to 5 fret stretch. It's not essential, but it's something I wanted to do for playing the prog metal stuff my band does. (Oh, and to brag about my reach, :D)
    The Bass Fitness book is a great warmup. And it also trained my three finger technique, so my fingers don't ever think about where they are going. It kinda just happens. (you have to think of the notes of course, haha)
    And then after that I was pretty much completely warmed up. Sometimes for fun, I'll put my iPod on random and start playing along with songs and learning the ones I still haven't gotten to yet.
    Also, I'll just start experimenting with things I can do to the bass (musically, of course). Write a new song. Figure out a new cool riff and extrapolate other cool melodies from that. I love creating different atmospheres of emotion through my music. And also try doing it in a very creative interesting way.
    Then I'll start doing some speed routines. Usually, I like to do these last as they can be the hardest and I'd like to be completely warmed up. And I don't want to do it first and then wear myself out so much that I can't do any fun stuff.
    It takes 1h30m minimum to 3-4hr max. I don't have all the time in the world, even though I wish I did :scowl:.
  9. The best thing to do is get whatever your practice schedule is and try to get it as enjoyable as you can so it makes you want to practice if you can do that ( as well as being discipline )
    Then your on the road to fine musicianship
  10. I lock myself in a hot, dimly-lit room and play boring scales and arpeggios. When I get completely un-motivated I put on an old recording of my mother yelling..."PRACTICE YOUR INSTRUMENT PROPERLY!" That usually raises the hairs on the back of my neck sufficiently to motivate me for another 10-15 minutes.

    When I'm done...I breathe a sigh of relief, run to the fridge and grab and beer and then hurridly run to the TV to flip on the Price is Right or something.

    (Actually, I don't do ANY of these things...and I actually find arpeggios FUN)
  11. Metal Chick

    Metal Chick Guest

    Dec 6, 2004
    Actually, I'm not in a band. Still, I don't believe that having to learn thirty or forty is the same as having a regimented practice schedule. Practicing is something you do every day, but learning thirty or forty songs obviously isn't going to take a lifetime. I think I'd go insane having to do the same thing over and over again every day.

    Many musicians I have met that have a rigid practice routine or practice for a ridiculous amount of time every day are simply forcing themselves into doing something they don't want to do and deceiving themselves into thinking that it doesn't bother them. This is a terrible thing to do to yourself, because dishonesty kills art.

    Of course, if you can practice for five hours straight a day and actually enjoy it, good for you.
  12. Uh-oh I think I'm going insane :D
    There are different types of musicians here some do it for a hobbie , some do it for a living , some do it to get laid , some do it to get famous , some do it for personal satisfaction , some do it for show
    Whether you like it or not everyone spends alot of time on their instrument but depending on what type of musician you are would give you the amount of time needed to get there
    ie: Doing it for a living ( You have to spend alot of time here )
    Doing it for show ( Just practice a few slap riffs for the amout of time needed then your away ) etc
  13. unregistered

    unregistered unregistered

    Jun 18, 2004
    A musician who doesn't enjoy practicing had better find another line of work, quick. A musician enjoys practicing because, if he is doing it correctly, he can look back over the months and years he has been doing it and easily see how the quality of his art has increased over that time.

    How many thousands of thousands of sketches do you think that every meaningful painter ever made before he wound up in a museum. How many thousands of hours do you suppose Charlie Parker sat around playing the same lick over and over again until he got it right.

    If this is what you think about practicing, I'd suggest another hobby.

  14. why r u playing a long @$$ freakin 4 hour show? :eyebrow: 4 hour shows would put me to sleep or just get me agitated, no matter who it was.
  15. Ozzyman


    Jul 21, 2004
    Well, would a 4hr Dream Theater show make you sleppy? (it better not! *shakes fist*)
  16. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Dude - that's the normal show for the whole twenty-some years that I've been more-and-less involved in local and touring bands; 9:00 to 1:00, or 10:00 to 2:00, or somewhere in that range. It's always like either three sets with twenty-or-so minute breaks, or four sets with ten or fifteen minute breaks. I can at least speak for rock bands in the Wisconsin/Illinois/Michigan area, or country shows north to south US, anywhere between California and Ohio. Where and what do you play, and how long is a show for you guys?

    Do you mean that you'd go to a club or honkytonk (as a customer) for four hours, but would want the band to only play for what? -three hours?

    What do you mean by put you to sleep or get you agitated? I suppose if I think about it my self, I guess I can't remember the last time I spent 4hrs in a bar UNLESS there WAS music (whether I'm a customer, musician, or audio tech) - but I'm into music.

    I love music - hours and hours of it.


    (EDIT) Whoah.. That kind of bothers me how you took my word "awful" from the setence "...feel to me like a real chore to practice (...), but not downright awful", and tagged it onto the end of my question to Metal Chick. You should probably edit that as to not be mis-quoting me, huh?
  17. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hi, Metal

    You're certainly right and wise to say that self deception is a terrible thing to do to yourself - that's surely true. But when I look at your broader principle I can't help but think that there probably isn't anyone here who hasn't rightly admired someone who invested their comfort, or even risked their property or health or lives, and dutifully put themselves in a less-than-comfortable situation for something they love. One example that easily comes to mind is a good mother - faithful even to her own hurt. More applicable to our topic would be a student struggling to master their field of study. How many great achievers have said "it was tough for a few years, but I'd do it all over again!"

    I love music, and I love the bass. I expect that I'll have to struggle to master the bass - it would be pretty presumptuous of me to think that I'm going to be whisked away on cloud to place where I can play like Patitucci.

    Wishing you the best -

  18. ive never seen a single band play in a stadium for 4 plus hours.
    4hours for maybe 2 to 4 different bands is an obviously different story.
  19. haha long live dream theatre! :D
  20. Getao


    Jun 17, 2004
    Menlo Park, CA
    When I practice viola I always start with a scale and a set of arpeggios linked with the scale (IE do an E scale, then E maj, E min, C maj, C# min, A maj, A min arpeggios). Then I do thirds, sixths, and octave double stops.

    The scales and arpeggios go in the same set order (1 note a bow down to 24 notes a bow, etc etc etc) each time.

    Then I work on an etude focussing on a specific thing.

    Finally, I work on w/e pieces I have to do, usually doing a run through and then specific sections and then a final run through again.

    The point of having it regimentized is so that I don't HAVE to spend 5 hours to get done I can in 1 and a half. With this schedule, unless it's near crack-down time for a performance of some sort, I'm done in an hour to two, depending on how much effort I put into the major pieces.

    With jazzbass, instead of working on an etude or a piece, I practice walking lines or solos on certain chord progressions, often utilizing recorded CD's.

    Because it's regimentized, I don't get as sidetracked just jamming and not getting as much done.