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Question for Instructors

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by LakeEffect, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    Apologies if this has already been discussed, the keywords I searched brought up numerous and plentiful results that were a little overwhelming to sift through.

    I have been playing for about six months, attempting to teach myself, mostly focusing my efforts on technique and ear training. I am, however, fortunate enough to finally begin taking lessons in early May.

    My question is, as an instructor, what do you wish every student who walked through your door already knew (considering they are specifically coming to you for instruction in the first place), especially when they already have passable technique?

    I want to hit the ground running when I get there by taking some initiative and covering some basics (hey, I'm excited after all!). Is learning all the notes of each key a good place to start? That is what I'm working on now, and I'm making progress. Is there anything else, something I could learn from readily available free resources that they will be pleased we can "fast forward through"?

    Thank you for your suggestions!
  2. Portphilia


    Jun 8, 2012
    One piece of advice I can give you is that if you don't already know them, learn where all of the notes on your bass are. It will help you get familiar with the instrument, and it should certainly help speed up learning things that your teacher may show you.
  3. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    Working on it! I have certain areas down just from practicing major scales, but I'm trying to fill in a few problem areas. Thanks for the tip, keep em coming!
  4. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    Where the notes are on the fingerboard. And how to practice more than 5 minutes a week, haha.
  5. aprod


    Mar 11, 2008
    A good teacher will take you as you are and work on building from your current knowledge base. So don't worry about trying to get to a certain level. Find a good teacher, one who teaches the chordal approach as opposed to learning a bunch of scales.
  6. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    This. And the best thing you can do to make your learning experience better/faster is keep an open mind. Yes, you have your favorite kinds of music. But learn whatever is put in front of you by your teacher. At his camp in 2001, Victor Wooten said something to me that has stuck with me. "I learn a lot more from things I DON'T like than from things I do. If you stay in your comfort zone, you will never learn anything."
  7. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    two fingers - I can dig that advice, and I'll roll with it. Thank you.
    snarf - interesting comment but I will remember to continue practicing more than 5 minutes a week, I guess?
    aprod - Is that something I should just ask, or is there a way to tell? I'm interested in what you mean by that.
  8. Snarf


    Jan 23, 2005
    Glen Cove, NY
    You will be a very special student indeed if you make good on that. :D
  9. aprod


    Mar 11, 2008
    Yes, you could just ask. This is the approach Carol Kaye teaches. I have found it to be very successuful. Basically you are learning chord tones which improves your ear to hear the changes in a tune. Just using a major triad and minor triad you can play a whole lotta songs. Check out her website. She has a list of teachers that employ her method and maybe there is someone in your area.
  10. DougD

    DougD Bassman7654

    Sep 19, 2002
    North Las Vegas NV
    Man, what a great attitude! The best thing to do is to try NOT to fall into any bad habbits. Its a lot harder than you think to unlearn them.
  11. 5ubWooferDo9


    Mar 13, 2013
    As an instructor I find it helpful when a student has clear goals and knows what they want to achieve from the lessons and with the instrument.
  12. anonymous111813

    anonymous111813 Guest

    Mar 1, 2011
    That is really important indeed. As well as a basic knowledge of chord progressions...
  13. I think it would help your instructor if you told your instructor what type of music you want to play. Reason.....

    If you said Jazz, well then standard notation comes into what you will be needing. Because that is the sheet music jazz players pass among themselves.

    If you play Country, good luck finding standard notation sheet music on Country songs. Yes you may find some lead sheet music on Country and this has the lyrics, treble clef and chord names, but no bass clef is shown. So playing a bass line is left up to you to compose. So you need to learn how to play from fake chord sheet music and since there is no bass clef you need to know how to build a bass line from what chord name is on that music. Again Country musicians pass fake chord sheet music among themselves and you will be expected to be able to play from fake chord.

    What type of music you want to learn and then what type of sheet music you will be using is something your instructor needs to take into account. If you are just starting out and plan on relying on your ear right now, well, good luck with that; you will be playing from a music stand and sheet music for quite some time. Sure a good ear will help, but there is lot of "stuff" that must come first. Which of that "stuff" your instructor starts you on is important.

    Always helps to let the instructor know what you want, if you do not do this you will get his "Learn Bass 101" and his "101" may not be what you need - to get started with the music you want to play. Be specific and he will be able to zero in on your needs.
  14. I like a student to lsiten to them when I say: "You might be learning stuff that is easier than what you usually play."

    Because, typically, they can come in and play a ton, but not read a note or real book/chords. And when we start looking at notation, I lose them within a month.

    Heck, I could play Primus before I could play a note on bass, even though I graduated with an Ed and Performance degree on Trombone. I know bass clef (too well..), but adapting it to something I knew how to play without reading took patience.
  15. LakeEffect


    Feb 21, 2013
    Well... I practice significantly more than that already, and I'm not even paying anyone yet. If I know myself, spending my hard earned student loan money to learn bass will not result in reduced dedication. :D

    Thank you for the tip. I would have never thought to look into this, there is someone in my area, shot them off an email this afternoon!

    Everyone else, thank you for the suggestions, all taken into account. Great to get a feel for what the valued "building blocks" are. I know an instructor will be able to teach me regardless of where I'm at but I'd like to express some dedication and make use of the meantime, after all, I'm not going to just look at my bass for the next month and a half because I decided I'm going to take lessons this summer. :hyper:

    Cheers everyone, looking forward to hearing if anything else comes to mind!

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