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Discussion in 'Jazz Technique [DB]' started by ljazz, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    Do you use a regimen when you practice? If so post it!

    My typical practice time looks like this:

    10-15 minutes warmups. Chromatic, string crossing.
    20-30 minutes scales - pizz and long tones with bow.
    10-20 minutes thumb position
    10-20 minutes etudes
    20-whenever, tune learning

    Do the more experienced players structure their practice time?
  2. Right now, I am doing less improvisation and ear stuff than I would like, as I am digging through Simandl again with the bow in tow.

    5-10 mins: bow warmups
    20 mins: Simandl exercises
    20 mins: Etudes and other melodic pieces
    15 mins: Improvise (without the bow), currently using 'Blues for Alice'
    15 mins: Trying to figure out tunes, trying to sing notes etc. Yesterday this was Bill Evans' 'Waltz for Debby'.
  3. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    I agree, I'm not too sure how productive it would be. I've known players on other instruments that only work on tunes.... perhaps feeling they know all the other stuff well enough.

    I'm wondering how much time people spend on mechanics compared to tune learning and improv.
  4. I feel that less time should be put into scales and more into playing changes. Scalar fragments are fine, but just running scales per se seems pointless when they're never gonna be played. Improvisation needs to be practiced, and this is where scalar fragments fit in. IMO.
  5. Depends what type o' music yer playing
  6. MacDaddy


    Jan 26, 2002
    Provo, UT, USA
    I strongly believe that a lot of improving as to do with a ton of scale work. It helps intonation, tone recognition, etc. I try to spend 30% of my practice time on scales. :D
  7. sean p

    sean p

    Mar 7, 2002
    eugene, oregon
    playing scales allows me to focus on aspects of the sound other than notes - vibrato, bow placement, dynamics, general tone, left hand strength, etc.

    the idea here, of course, is that if we get all this stuff together apart from improvising, reading or whatever, it's going to come through anyway while we concentrate on the task at hand.

    i find that i get distracted and less productive if i'm working on tone while reading. but if i get it automatic beforehand, everything feels golden. one thing at a time.

    sean p
  8. You can often tell in solos who has put their time in on scales, arpeggios, and etudes. Its usually not a bad thing, either....

    That's my $.02
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I usually start by warming up with 2 octave Ma, mi, and dominant scales in all 12 keys at a predetermined metronome marking, and then using the following subdivisions for each scale one at a time:

    Half note, Quarter note, 8th, triplet, 16th.

    After that, it's whatever subject/topic I happen to be working on at the time. Lately, that's been Thumb position exercises.
  10. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    One thing that I do in everything but my practicing is to set goals..... short and long term.

    Maybe goal setting around my practice objectives would help me to keep my focus. For example, by the end of next week I'll have the Eb major under my fingers, and all twelve by summer.

    One of the biggest problems I have is knowing when it's time to move on to something else (sorta like me continuing to post in the newbie criticism thread). Perhaps focusing on a particular goal, hitting that goal, and then moving on would keep practice time fresh(er), and improvements coming.
  11. Hi Guys,
    I do find this Thread interesting. I myself have become very Lazy in my practice time. It is good to see others practice habits. I admit I dont practice scales as I should, I seem to jump into what ever lesson my teacher has me on at the time. I go threw the scale of the Key of the music of course but I really should be more Set in making my practice time meaningful. One thing I have noticed is that many of you practice for an Hour or more a day. Do you have a set time of day that you set aside for Bass only? I practice a good bit but is more in blocks of time instead of say one hour at a time. I dont know if that is a good or a bad thing.


    If the world didnt suck we would all fall off.....
  12. JazznFunk


    Mar 26, 2000
    Asheville, NC
    Lakland Basses Artist
    I always try to get in 2 hours a day, not counting rehearsals. Sometimes though, rehearsals are my practice for the day depending on what's going on.

    When I'm not in school studying with my teacher on a regular basis (which pretty much sets my practice regimen for me), I'm working through various tunes for gigs, writing original songs, practicing scales & arpeggios both pizz and arco, and working through the Ray Brown and Rufus Reid books. I generally try to break up my practice time into about half mechanical/technical work, and the other half into improvising and the application of the mechanics I've just practiced. Any additional time I have over 2 hours is gravy, and I work on learning tunes I've wanted to learn or just playing freely.
  13. ljazz


    Dec 10, 2002
    Cookeville, TN
    I'm probably different than most in that my best time of day is about 4 in the morning!..... but I can't really practice then 'cuz I'd wake up everyone in the house.... especially if I'm bowing. So, I'm stuck doing it at night. After a long day at work and classes, I tend to much less creative later in the day, and more likely to put it off.
  14. Groovski


    Sep 20, 2002
    My happy place
    I have split my practice time between my electric and my upright. I found that if I don't play my electric, after a week or 2, when my band plays a 4 hour gig my fingers get really raw, sooooo,
    15 mins. electric 5 string - scales calling out the notes in meter (usually pretty slow)
    15 mins. electric 5 string - songs I am learning to sing
    15 mins. 4 string electric trying to funkify my slapping so I don't sound so white

    15 mins. upright bowing scales in meter
    15 mins. calling out notes that I am tring to learn to read in meter
    15 mins. goofing off play my Big Girl free style YEE HAW in meter ofcourse
  15. EFischer1

    EFischer1 Guest

    Mar 17, 2002
    New York, New York
    I usually do about 3 hours each day

    1st hour - Scales, Arpeggios, Etudes (Sturm, Simandl, Rabbath, Robinson, Hrabe, etc.), excersizes (long bows, etc.)

    2nd hour - Solo Work

    3rd hour - Orchestral Excerpts
  16. I try to break up practicing into 1 hour 3 octave scales (this is a new task) with the bow long tones, 1 hour Simandl and whatever else I am working on with my teacher (sometimes I will play the Simandl exercises pizz as well as arco), 1 hour jazz (tunes melodies both arco and pizz, walking, soloing).
    The problem I am facing now is that I can become obsessive on one thing and go for 1 1/2 to 2 hours just perfecting a shift or intonation or my bowing on something I am working on. When I'm finished I feel like I am about to drop and the rest of my practicing is not very productive. Does anyone else have a similar problem and how do you deal with it?
  17. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I get it out of the bag in the morning, unless I had nowhere to go the previous night in which case I have it out of the bag. I then intend on laying it on the floor in the middle of the kitchen (which bisects your average NYC apartment). It usually takes me at least 15 or 20 to actually lay it down. I spend the rest of the day working on whatever until I get bored, lay it down and putz around the house for a few minutes and then go back. I work on whatever interests me or that I think that I need to fix ASAP. First note is usually about 11:30. Last note is right at 10:00pm -- apartment living.

    Of late what I'm working on is mostly The Stick. Some classical stuff, but generally melodic whatever it is. Long bowing on open strings as well as 4-8 reps on each note chromatically, per string, up to the highest D on the G string, and up to this spot on each string. Getting straight tones and working on getting a nice vibrato. That I will likely never use too much of. I spend some time making Steady Eddie swing. The other thing that I've been doing lately is playing whatever comes and putting myself in the mindset of a virtuoso, applying liberally my AT work. Sound a bit nuts, but it has been opening some serious doors for me.

    You guys are all really organized (read:OCD). But, that's bass players for ya :)
  18. Hours a day of practice!!! I assume you guys don't have day jobs. What would you suggest for a practice session for someone who only has 15-20 minutes a day (on a good day)?

  19. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    You're a jazz player? If so, I'd spend that time trying to work on everything at once.

    Maybe pick a tune. Spend the first little while playing the scales that are contained in that tune. Then spend the rest of the time with Band-in-a-Box or something similar, playing the melody, walking bass lines, soloing.
  20. Not jazz-bluegrass. However I dearly love to listen to jazz and want to incorporate some of that into my grass.