Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by chimp, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    When you were growing up before you had become famous what were you practicing? And now that you have become famous and are accomplished musicians what do you practice?

    What do you recommend to some one who has the basics of bass down but needs a hand getting up onto the next step?

    Robert Jardine
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Robert,

    What I practiced when I was at college and what I practice now are pretty much the same (give or take a few clever tricks that I spent ages working on at college that never got me anywhere... :) ) - I work on the fundementals. I work on my timing, my tone, my knowledge of the fingerboard and how it relates to harmony and I work on my ear. The context changes a lot - sometimes I'll be working on a specific exercise and just do it as slowly as I can to focus on what each note is about. Other times, I'll set up some kind of ambient loop in order to put the exercise in some context. I often practice playing through jazz standards, playing a walking line, the melody, a solo and comping the chords, trying to get inside the changes, working on where the key changes in the song, etc.

    I think it's important to keep working on this stuff. It's never ending. When I was at college, the guitar tutor would sit during his lunch hour playing over ii V I progressions in band in a box, working on new phrases, new ideas, new ways of approaching the same stuff he'd be playing for years.

    Occasionally I spend some time on a new technique, if there's something I've come across that I want to try out, and most of my practice time turns into composition time at some point, but the initial ideas are just those basic things.


  3. chimp


    Dec 4, 2004
    South Africa
    my current practis routine is

    sight reading practise
    walking bass lines over jazz standards
    scales modes arppegios
    theory identifing chord progressions, interval work(inverting intervals)
    technique-slap tappping speed
    continuous scale over chord progressions
    afro-cuban rythms
    and then a jazz standard melody for fun.
    a metronome used through out the practise session

    is that a "healthy" practise session is there something which might also be helpful to my playing?
  4. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Hi Robert,

    Like Steve, I work on a lot of the same stuff I always have. I search for fundamental aspects of playing and work with various permutations of those patterns. Over the years I’ve devised a set of exercises and strategies for myself in this method and that's my first priority in practicing. I figure if I can keep the fundamental stuff together everything else will be easy! After that I’ll work on harmony based patterns, repertoire and ear training.

    As far as your own practice routine goes, I think it's important to keep asking yourself what it is you're trying to accomplish and let that be your guide. If you really understand what it is you want to be able to do it's usually not too hard to figure out how to get there. It sounds like you're working on a good variety of standard skills. If you feel inspired and fulfilled by the things you're working on, then I'd say you're moving in the right direction.
  5. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001

    could you give some details about how you're doing your ear training?

  6. Learning completely some CDs can also be a great (ang fun) training.

    I learned RHCP's BSSM completely and it was an excellent exercise.
  7. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Over the years I've used many different methods of ear training and virtually all of them have been valuable. My time is limited these days, so I'm not able to do as much as I'd like. I mostly work on the sight-singing exercises from the book Modus Novus by Lars Edlund and on adapting various pieces of music that I've heard to the bass.
  8. christoph h.

    christoph h.

    Mar 26, 2001

    i thought about practising sight-singing for some time now, but never really came around to it.

    i've heard it has many other benefits, too, so i'll stop with the excuses and start doing it.