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Structuring effective practice sessions

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Joe Bananas, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. Hello all you bass lovers out there!
    I am a newcomer to this world and looking for advice on how to build up a decent productive practice routine.
    I am able to invest two daily hours practicing/studying but feel kind of lost when it comes to what to do. So, could be nice to structure those two hours spending time blocks in especific aspects of playing.
    One of the goals I am really interested in achieve is to sightread music with my bass in a fluent and comprehensive way. I consider that could provide me with enough independence to work in other aspects by myself.
    A very important fact is that since I live "far from civilization" at this very moment is hard for me to get a teacher.
    Thanks in advance!
  2. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    The lessons on the "Studybass" site linked below are designed as a teacher would set out a course for a student.
    My advice would be to go to the beginning of the lessons and work your way slowly through them.
    The lessons are designed in a way where one builds on what went before.

    StudyBass - Free Online Bass Lessons

    Here is another set of lessons where (unusual for You Tube), one lesson builds on the previous one.
    Once again, start on lesson one and work your way consecutively through.

    Bass Lessons - YouTube

    These two links should keep you busy for quite a while.

    Best of luck...and welcome to the "low end". :bassist:
    vishalicious and Joe Bananas like this.
  3. No other place but Ireland. Thanks mate! Been living in Cork City for two years. Then moved through Galway, Sligo and west area in general. Planning to repeat ASAP.
  4. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006
    Yep...Ireland...there is no other place !! ;)

    As far as sight reading is concerned, while the "Studybass site does a good job of covering the basics, a book I found to be very helpful is :
    Amazon.com: simplified sight reading bass de pres: Books

    You said you have two hours a day available to practice. My advice, if possible, would be to break them up into two one hour practice sessions, with a good break in between. Your brain, hands, fingers and wrists, will all thank you for it. ;) Little and often is the best approach.

    One more thing. Dont neglect technique. Learning good technique from the start will have you playing to the best of your potential, and just as important...doing so in a safe way. While nothing is written in stone, there are tried and trusted ways of playing which help to prevent potential injury problems further down the line.

    Here is a link to a thread about getting started. It is worth a browse through the whole thread . In post #5 I give some basic advice on good technique.

    How to get started? | TalkBass.com
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
    vishalicious likes this.
  5. fearceol has given you some good sites, if fact just about all you need for right now. Go get in the shed. Yes I know doing what.....

    IMO - Scales first. Scales teach us two things; 1) gets our fingers moving and 2) teaches us where the notes are on our fretboard. The sites he mentioned will give you the patterns and a chart of the fretboard.

    As we are primarily a harmony and rhythm instrument chord tones (notes of the chord) end up being what we deal in mostly. See a chord name, or later hear a chord and your fingers are already moving to find those chord tones on your fretboard. Again fearceol's sites will give you what you need.

    Here is a little thing that explains how music thinks. Songs are made of melody, harmony and rhythm. Your bass can provide all three, however, right at first I would recommend you leave the melody (the tune) to the solo instruments and you concentrate on harmony and rhythm. Here is that little thing:

    The songwriter has placed harmonizing chords at specific places in the song. Harmony happens when the melody line has some chords under it that share some of the same notes the melody has active at this specific time in the song. As the songwriter has placed them at those specific spots if we play the notes of that chord we too will harmonize with the melody being played and sound good. So one other thing you need to be working on is what chord tones make up a chord. Chord Formulas And then what rhythm is needed for THIS song.​

    As to sight reading that is something you work on every day or rust develops and is a great example of how we lose the ability to do things if we do not use those things.

    Good luck and welcome to our World.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2015
    vishalicious likes this.
  6. vishalicious


    Mar 31, 2011
    Yonkers, NY
    That Simplified Sight Reading book that fearceol shared looks good. The idea of learning rhythms and notes separately is intriguing.

    I'm working my way through the Hal Leonard Bass Method, and one of its main focuses is teaching how to read the bass clef in small chunks. So far, its working, but I'm slower than just about everyone I've read about on here who's used it, so in a month, I've only gotten the first 4 frets of the E and A strings under my fingers.
  7. fearceol


    Nov 14, 2006

    I would not worry about being slower than someone else. Everyone learns at their own pace. If you keep at it on a regular basis you will make good progress.

    The "Bass Method Book" is good in that you are kind of killing two birds with the one stone, i.e. learning chord tones, basic theory etc as well as reading.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2015
    vishalicious likes this.
  8. JamPlay


    Aug 9, 2012
    JamPlay Berklee
    having taught music for decades and seen results in this area, the key seems to be in making the connection from single note on the staff, to recognizing the significance of the note in a sheme of notes, a musical idea, or phrase. To do this requires you to take a step by step approach and developing a "whole language" approach. Take an idea like this; B D# F# B..They exist as single notes, or another view as a B major triad. Zoom out and now think of songs that have this pattern, in this key. Songs have particular vibes and this is a direct correlation to keys and key signatures. Here I'm thinking Stevie Wonder's Sir Duke, the opening four notes.

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