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Practice/Study Curriculum

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Asher S, Mar 28, 2009.


  1. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    MA
    I'd like to propose this thread as a sticky.

    As a "compartmentalizer", I find it much easier and more fun to practice when I have an organized set of tasks, designed to meet my personal goals. So for several weeks I've been compiling a list of GENERAL curriculum topics (not specific exercises), to make sure I cover everything.

    I realize that some topics will not be of interest to all players, but in the words of Al Franken on SNL "and that's... OK". I've tried to organize this in some fairly rationale manner (I hope). I'm posting this here to see if I've missed anything important (again, not specific techniques, but general areas of practice & study).

    So, *in no particular order of importance*... :

    theory, harmony:
    • scales, modes, arpeggios
    • double stops & chords
    reading/transcribing
    • rhythm
    • sight reading
    • ear training, transcription
    • playing melodies AND basslines
    hand training
    • fretting hand, eg fingerstrength (24 combos of 4)
    • attack hand: pluck, slap, pop, tap, pick
    improvisation and composition
    • basslines
    • solos
    • original compositions

    I welcome all critiques, corrections, and comments.
     
  2. aljbass91

    aljbass91

    Mar 25, 2009
    i think this is a very good idea. i'm JUST starting off on bass, and will not be able to afford lessons. i was curious as to what would be a good idea to actually practice, since no one will really be showing me. asher, how do you think practice time should be divided between all these topics?
     
  3. Asher S

    Asher S

    Jan 31, 2008
    MA
    I don't think there's a simple "correct" answer. One good piece of general advice I received was to spend twice as much time practicing your weakest skills vs. what you know. So if you're no good at sight reading, spend more time on that than on something you know well (e.g. maybe playing by ear).

    Something else that's helping me not get overwhelmed (and under-practiced) and to keep things fun rather than chore-like, is to practice one different key each day rather than all keys every day. For example, I will practice all my scales, modes, arpeggios, chords, harmony etc on the key of E on one day, then the key of F the next day etc. But that's because my time is quite limited nowadays. If you're a high school student you may be able to do more each day (yes, life DOES get even busier after high school and college). If you're older, and especially a parent, then you know what I'm talking about.
     
  4. sackvegas

    sackvegas

    Dec 1, 2006
    Great thread...I'm strugling with this myself right now, hitting a huge rut in my playing and not learning anything new...HELP!!
     
  5. I like what you have done, I have been trying to make up my own road map. Sure going to give yours a try and then customize it.
     
  6. An excellent teacher of mine has broken bass playing down into 6 'compartments' these hold pretty true for me and i try to work on each every day

    Technique/Fretboard knowledge
    Reading
    Ear Training
    Rhyhmic/time/feel
    Repetoire/stylistic awareness
    Improvisation/Composition
     
  7. chicagodoubler

    chicagodoubler

    Aug 7, 2007
    Chicago, that toddling town
    Endorsing Artist: Lakland, Genz Benz
    Add to that

    Dressing cool
    Ego regulation/ hanging with the cats
    Talking to girls/ club owners/ all things music business
    Things drummers wish we would work on more
    etc...
    :p


    I always take time to talk to my kids (and adults alike) about the additional stuff we need to survive the gig gauntlet.

    Nice thread!
     
  8. WillPlay4Food

    WillPlay4Food Now With More Metal! Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2002
    Orbiting HQ
    Here's something inspired by tim99 that I made into a graphic to use for theory practice:

    [​IMG]

    Just pick one from each category to give you something to practice for the day.
     
  9. bassalo

    bassalo

    Jan 23, 2008
    CT
    +1. As a parent, it's nearly impossible to play between 7am and 8pm. As for the thread, great idea. I hope it becomes sticky.
     
  10. derekd

    derekd

    Feb 16, 2009
    KC
    A couple of more things I would mention. With regard to theory, circle of 5ths/4ths, ability to recite every note in every key, which facilitates the ability to transpose a tune on the fly. Very handy skill to have.

    Also in the area of theory, I can't think of anything that has been more helpful for me when playing bass as an extensive knowledge of triads all over the board. Major, minor, augmented and diminished. Root, 1st and 2nd inversions, on every string set, up and down the board.

    Finally, I know you mentioned finger strength, so you may very well include stretches and dexterity exercises also, but I find that warm ups/exercises that get you working on all 3 of those help me the most. I like the list.
     

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