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Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by sheepdip, May 13, 2004.

  1. sheepdip


    Apr 14, 2004
    It's time for me to start getting with the program. I am just starting to play the Bass. I have spent the last three months doing finger exercises (permutations etc. I didn't want to start lessons stark naked). The problem is I need to know how to structure my practice time. I have a formal education in piano and it is nothing for me to sit down and spend 4 or 5 hours practicing and i'm not about to give that up there is too much Chopin out there for me to learn. I think I could put 1 1/2 hours a day into it but need to know the best way to structure it from some of the instructors out there. Reading tabs is not an option for me, I want to sit in front of a piece of music and play it from notation just like I do with the piano. :help: :meh:
  2. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    I have a thread around here called "Practice Practice Practice." I would recommend checking that out.

    Being a musician, you're already ahead of many, so you know what works for you and what doesn't. I can give you a general idea of some good things to consider, and I can give you what I do, and combine that with what other members here contribute, and you should have something.

    First, I highly recommend checking out two things. First, Ed Fuqua, (although the post may no longer exist, and you may have to PM him), has a great routine for practicing scales and arpeggios. Check his stuff out. Also, Pacman has a "sure-fire scale practice method". That definitely deserves an extended look.

    I'm quite simply a huge advocate of well-rounded routines, focus, and basics.

    By well-rounded, I'm referring to practice including ear training, rhythm studies, learning songs or what-not, sight reading, etc. By focus, I mean avoiding distractions, and knowing where you're going. But by nature of your experience in classical piano, focus probably won't be an issue.

    I think a warm-up is very important. Starting with something quite simple and relaxing can do wonders for your confidence level. In particular, I have several things I can do. One of them includes a simple drill based on 1-6-2-5 changes. It's something I know well, so I don't have to think too much, and it settles me into playing.

    After warm-up, I think this is a great time to go onto what challenges you. This way, if you don't have a long time to practice, you accomplish something, instead of doing scales or something right off the bat, then having rehearsal cut short and not getting time to work on the thngs that need the most attention.

    Personally, I warm up, then I delve right into a jazz tune. I learn the head and walk through the changes. Something I need to do more is doing this in all keys. I don't do that nearly enough. I internalize the head, or melody, of the tune and get confident with it, so I can really hear it. Then, I work on walking through the changes. Sometimes I give myself little restrictions, like working just within a certain area of the fretboard, (always an area where I'm not too comfortable).

    After I've gotten the meat and potatos of the rehearsal down, I can work on some sight reading, (there is one main book I use right now, by Rufus Reid). I can do some rhythm exercises. I can work on scales and arpeggios.

    In my mind, the important things to remember, include focusing on the role of the instrument. Generally speaking, your role is as rhythm, foundation. (Should you choose to approach bass in a different way, then you adjust, accordingly.) But, normally you must remember that rhythm is job #1 with bass. Focus on having strong rhythm, strong groove, a very strong sense of time. This is essential. Focus on technique, as bass is an easy instrument to play with poor technique.

    Make sure you focus on what you struggle with most, and try and get some lessons.

    Good luck.
  3. I was just going to start a thread just like this one sheepdip. The other day when I was practicing with my band I realised (sp?) how much practicing I still need to do :)
    So I looked in my books for anything reagarding practice and I ended up finding a really nice routine in a Jamey Aebersold volume.
    The routine consists in 6 steps and the time you should spend on each one of them. After some modifications to fit my objectives, that's what i got:

    1) Warm-up -min.
    2) Slow Melody (tune) 5min.
    3) Scales/phrases/patterns 15min.
    4) Improvisation Exercises 15min.
    5)Transcripted Solo 15min.
    6) Special disciplines 10min.
    7) Learn a new tune 15min.
    8) Ear training 30min.

    I have some doubts about where to put the ear training on the order. I also removed some phrase application time and putted it in Improvisation time since I don't want to learn that way. Special Disciplines is fast-tempo playing, rhytmics and this kind of stuff.
    So what do you think about my routine? are there any changes you think should be done?
  4. sheepdip


    Apr 14, 2004
    Well, that looks pretty good to me. I wasn't quite sure how to regulate the time to put into each discliplin.

    The way I pratice piano is.....Before I start I will pick up a piece of sheet music and read each note aloud, upper and lower voice thru the entire piece and look at it and try to notice every musical notation and nuance. The first 2 hours are devoted to the first 10 lessons in Hanon then the entire scales sharp and flat five or six times ea for 2 octaves, maybe the 3 minors for a change in routine, maybe the first 3 inversions in 4 keys, the chromatic scale 6 or 7 times in each hand for 4 octaves. Then I will study my pieces, usually 3 I am working on and I will play the upper voice thru a few times and then the lower voice an equal number of times and then start to put them togeather down the line. Its pretty demanding and I try to get in at least 6 times a week.

    since I am just starting the Bass I thought I would spend at least 1/2 hour running up and down each fret and string calling the note out aloud while I am holding the bass. Warm up with permutations for 15 min. Scales and arpeggios for 1/2 hour to 45min. I don't know what else I could do at this early stage of the game. Later on I can add other exercises and lighten up on the scales and arpeggios to 1/2 hour or less. How does that sound.
  5. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    Just be sure to keep the practice of scales, sight reading and use of the metronome in perspective. They're not bad things, but they are not innately musical.

    I've heard some great virtuosos whose playing lacks a musical feel - I call it "empty execution."

    Listen to music as much as you can. Really listen closely for detail and nuance (and avoid limiting yourself to listening only for bass lines).

    I call this critical listening and consider it to be qualitatively different than casual listening.

    Play musically as much as you can.

    Learning to play all of the modes of the harmonic minor scale in all keys is fine, but there are some players who can do this and, yet, they can't play a simple pop tune like Brown Eyed Girl with a musical feel.
  6. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA

    Scales, rhythm and sight reading are not innately musical?!
  7. sheepdip


    Apr 14, 2004
    I am going to hve to take exception to the first part of your post. The scales, sight reading and the use of the metronome expecially are essential to good musical knowledge and playing. I see music changing keys all the time as I play thru it, and it is essential that I know what is happening as I play thru. As far as the metronome goes, many times I hve wanted to shoot the darn thing but I see the value of it, thinking you are keeping time is not the same as knowing you are, especially in a complicated piece.

    You are correct in your statement about the virtuosos. Some pieces are difficult to put your own (Rubato) feeling into (Bach) because of the structure and period of the music but Others (Chopin) demand it You could never play one of his pieces strictly the way it is written you have to look at the music and feel the way it should be played. This is experience and that takes time.
  8. sheepdip


    Apr 14, 2004
    This came to me while I was sitting here but I'm sure I'm not the first one to think of it.

    Have any of you taken some of the classical stuff and played it thru on your Bass?????? There's nothing like the classics to finish off your playing. Try these the first is not too difficult

    Beethoven Sonatina in F
    Beethoven Op. 27, No 2 C# minor
    Schumann Traumerei
    Chopin Nocturne in E-flat Major

    Now before you say "this guy is really dry in his playing" Try it. I was raised on early R&R and Blues (I like the solid backbeat which is why I am finally starting the Bass after years of thinking about it) and started the classics because the more I played the more I realized that a lot of this stuff is BEAUTIFUL. :hyper:
  9. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    Don't forget the Bach Cello Suites.
  10. sheepdip


    Apr 14, 2004
    Oh yeah, I forgot about those. Remember, that stuff is strictly structured. There were no pianoforte's in his time and even though at first glance some of the stuff looks easy to play it is NOT!
  11. sheepdip - love your screen name :D :) .

    Jazzbo - your practice advice is excellent, thanks for taking the time to explain your recommended regime so well. :cool: :)
  12. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    jazzbo, sheepdip,

    Great musicians have superb ears and keen attention to musical expressiveness.

    Such musicians are usually knowledgeable about scales and sight reading. And have benefitted from the use of the metronome.

    But a scale alone is not usually considered expressive. Symbols on paper cannot fully teach expressiveness. Some metronomic players have great timing, yet sound boring.

    That's why I say the importance placed on these learning tools should be kept in perspective.

    Great musicians have a certain feel that is pleasing to listen to.

    I'm contending that this came more from developing an ear for musicality than from a heavy reliance on scale study, sight reading and metronome use.

    I would think that you'd have to admit that you've heard some players who can knock out any mode of any scale, can sight read expertly, and have seemingly perfect timing, yet simply don't sound highly musical.
  13. sheepdip


    Apr 14, 2004
    You are absolutly correct. It's one thing to play the music correctly but another to play it with expressiveness, that only comes with time, when you forget about playing the notes and they come naturally then you can start putting expression into the music. It is difficult when you know that the expression is needed but you haven't advanced to the point where you can apply the expression instead of worrying about reading the music.

    I think that is the last stage of a musicians growth where everything is put aside because it is second nature and you concentrate on making the music what it is ment to be, music. :crying:
  14. DaemonBass


    Mar 29, 2004
    Sacramento, CA
    Damn it all, and here I was thinking making music was the first stage all along... :rolleyes: