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Student Strategy

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by footprints89, Jun 27, 2012.

  1. I just started teaching bass and acquired my first student last week. We went through beginning exercises, and I introduced him to the musical alphabet today. What should I do with him next? I had some ideas, but I was curious what my colleagues would do. What is the next step, and if it's a song, what song?
  2. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    I don't know ... I would go with how I learned and follow a similar path if I can't think of a better way to do things.
  3. That's the issue; I didn't start on bass. I started on guitar and just jumped right in on bass. I don't want to take the wrong approach with a beginner.
  4. You need a lesson plan - take one of the how to books and start on page one. Bass Guitar for Dummies would be a good selection. You and the student go through the book together. Take a look at www.studybass.com it's free and may be another good choice.

    Both follow a systematic approach and takes you through all the gotta know stuff like how to hold the bass, how to tune it, how to make sound, i.e. fingers, pick or thumb. Things that you probably would not think to get into - as this is your first time.

    Good luck.
  5. miltslackford


    Oct 14, 2009

    I wouldn't get too heavy with theory or exercises to begin with.

    Personally I would start with just getting something, anything musical from the student.

    This good be chugging away on the root notes for 'Livin on a prayer'. It could be playing the cool bit of 'The Chain' by Fleetwood Mac. Whatever it is, you need to tailor it as well as possible to the student, so ask the student what they like. It's that simple really, just ask them what they like, find something as quick as possible and then write down as simplified version as you possibly can.

    The important things in the very early stages of learning are, as MalcolmAmos has said, getting a good sound by placing the left hand fingers in the right place, plucking and holding the guitar. All the basic things like not supporting the weight of the guitar with the left hand, not bending the left wrist etc etc.

    So try to get this across, and a simple tune. The key thing is to build confidence and curb any tendencies toward bad technique from the earliest stage possible. The more time you focus on scales the less you'll have for very simply establishing safe technique and a sensible sense of rhythm (i.e. counting and playing 4 beats or something similar).

    The ideal scenario in the beginning is that you give them something they love, which is easy, so they practice a lot at home and stand a chance of doing what you've asked of them.

    Then later, move toward a systematic approach. My students have 5 headings for their practice routine which are 'Scales, chords and harmony, rhythmic awareness, pieces and improvisation'.

    But in the beginning you've got to get them hooked, so you have to find that thing that excites them. Some students are very forthright, which makes them a doddle to teach. I find the most difficult to teach are the ones who can't say what they like, or even what they don't! Sometimes it takes a while to stumble on the right thing, for example with one bass student I have it's boogie-woogie. Suddenly he started practicing loads because I've given him boogie-woogie to do. A good question is 'what have you done the most of at home'. Sometimes students look things up but they don't tell you, but this is what you need to know because if you work with it your using their natural motivation which is critical in the early stages. It takes a while for students to move on to being motivated to be more well rounded, but it does happen.

    Well hope you enjoy teaching!
  6. Clef_de_fa

    Clef_de_fa Guest

    Dec 25, 2011
    ok so since you never had any formal teaching on bass or guitar ... well I would start by the simple stuff like how it is tune, how to hold it, I would start with showing the note in the five first fret on the bass and what it is in standart notation and with all that ... time to have a little fun, show him a very simple blues progression. like A7, D7, A7, G7D7 and back to A7 ... with a movement like :


    so you could jam with him on the guitar while he plays that shape over all chords.
  7. Thanks for all the input guys. I taught guitar for two years and had a pretty set procedure for teaching. I'd obviously change things when needed for certain students. Teaching bass lends nearly no similarities besides the basics of tuning, holding the instrument, and intonation. I was thinking next week I'd show him a typical blues pattern like the one above. I've also been considering introducing him to reading.
  8. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    From the newbie student perspective, of I may chime in...
  9. R&B

    R&B Both kinds of music: Rhythm AND Blues! Supporting Member

    Fat fingers! ...if I may chime in...

    My suggestion to my instructor was that we follow the Hal Leonard Bass Method. The book gives a lot of tips and has the musical notation. The CD is fun to play along with. Structure without drudgery. So far so good. He is able to concentrate on improving my technique as opposed to writing lessons.

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