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Some input on a practice regiment

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by queevil, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. queevil


    Aug 6, 2009
    Hello everyone,

    I've been playing bass for close to 11 years now. I play well but I really want to step it up a notch. Lately I've been pondering coming up with a practice regiment but I really don't know where to start. My aim is to be a versatile bassist as opposed to a bassist that does one or two things or plays a style of music really well. I just want to be good all around. I want to be a well rounded musician. John Paul Jones is one of my heroes not because he can play bass well but because he is really a great, well rounded musician. I'm just using him as an example.

    As far as a practice regiment goes I feel like there's so much I need to practice to get to where I want to be. Technique, theory, reading, ect. Like so many I'm a working family man so I need to make the most of my time. However, I have a family that is very supportive of music.

    A little about me. Playing for close to 11 years. I know a bit about the rudiments of theory but nothing too advanced. I understand how chords and scales relate to one another. I know what intervals sound like. I can look at the bass clef and pick out a note and play it but really that's what I'm limited to as far as reading goes. Oh, and I can look at sheet music and tell what the interval is between two notes. I recently started playing worship music and it's been a rewarding experience. However, when my bandleader says something like, "hey, lets try doing this song in the key of F rather than C", well I'd be lost. Thankfully he's really patient and I've actually taught him a thing or two about music. My main instrument is a fretless J bass. That's just what I like. I feel like I have a pretty good ear. I can name pitches really well. When I listen to music I try to listen analytically rather than just casually. My main technique for my right hand is the plain 'ol alternating two finger method.

    I like going into a situation that requires me to play music that is been rehearsed already but I don't want to be relegated to just playing music in those situations. I want to be able to be called up by a bandleader that knows I'll be able to play the music they're playing whether I've heard it before or not. Right now I'm not there.

    I think that learning different techniques is important but only so I can be versatile.

    I'm sorry about such a long winded post but it would be ridiculous for me to ask the question that I have without giving you all the above information.

    FWIW, my financial situation is definitely going to improve in the forseable future and when it does I'll start looking for a suitable instructor but does anyone have any advice on a practice regiment until then. Thanks a lot everyone!
  2. i've asked that question at least 3 times and i never really get an answer, maybe its one of those things that CAN'T really be answered
  3. Chris K

    Chris K

    May 3, 2009
    Gorinchem,The Netherlands
    Partner: Otentic Guitars
    First of all you should work on you ability to play from chords sheets and lead sheets.
    You can train this by getting lots lead sheets of music in your style and play them along with YouTube, cd's, mp3 or the like. It will train you to play music you have never heard before.

    (Keep in mind to better not accept gigs with music you do not know if they can only provide you with texts with chords - you'll make lots of mistakes you can do little about. If you know the stuff, it is less of a problem.)

    Secondly, learn to play from music notation, later on to sightread/-play.

    A good question always is: if they want you to fill in, what facilities do they offer? If they are too lazy to document their music, they shouldn't expect you to work miracles.
  4. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    I can help ya with the word: you mean to say regimen--unless you want to call out the cavalry! ;)

    IMHO, it's well worth the effort to learn to read with some fluency. My advice is to build some sight-reading into your practice regimen. When you get fatigued, do some other practice. Repeat the next day.

    Reading the left hand parts in simpler Bach pieces could be fun...
  5. Ewo

    Ewo a/k/a Steve Cooper Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2008
    Huntington WV
    Thought of another thing...

    You said you'd have trouble transposing, on the stand. Heck--practice doing it! Just choose a tune you know well, pick a different key and go to it.

    To simulate doing it live, play to a click (slow the tempo down) and keep going even if you make a mistake, just as you'd have to do on the stand. Recover from the error on the fly, IOW.

    Rinse and repeat: another tune, another transposition. Quit when you're fatigued--and avoid memorizing the tune in the transposition. That ain't the objective of the exercise.
  6. queevil


    Aug 6, 2009
    Thanks for the advice so far everyone.

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