teaching tips (for a teacher)

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by dirtgroove, Dec 1, 2005.

  1. dirtgroove


    Jan 10, 2003
    Taipei, Taiwan
    I've been asked by a group of students in my high school to "teach" them to play bass. :help:

    I'm not a musician in a professional sense. Some of the players I hear on this site, barely out of their teens blow me well and truly out of the water. I know my own my own short comings- My knowledge of musical theory is basic, my sight reading skills is clumsy, my technique is pretty sloppy.... ...I could go on for days- but I get by.
    In short I'm just a battle hardened weekend warrior- with a passion for holding down the low end.

    A bunch of my students asked me if I'd "teach" them to play bass. I'll be doing it for free- because I enjoy spending time with the kids, and because they asked me how to become good enough to gig.

    All I can do is teach time what i know, a few techniques that I've been taught and the few tricks I've learned along the way. I don't want to bore them senseless with too much time talking instead of playing- but some kind of a musical grounding for them would be good.

    I'm asking for any pointers, hints or ideas to keep it either interesting, educational or fun. I may have up to a dozen kids in the same hour. Where should I start?
  2. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I wouldn't try for much more than a general overview. Teach them a few scales, how to construct scales, basic music reading, maybe a few simple lines of songs they like, etc. With a group of kids like that, they're all going to take to it at differing speeds, and a general overview is about the best you can hope to impart.
  3. neilG


    Jun 15, 2003
    Ventura, CA
    I would just have them all get copies of a basic method like the Hal Leonard series and guide them through it, adding your own stuff as you see fit. No matter what, you'll always be ahead of them, and if your own skills improve in the process, so much the better. Have fun!
  4. teachbass


    Dec 13, 2004
    Ed's book is awesome.
    I was in the middle of writing a bass method when his came out.
    It is the best out there by far in my opinion. Way to go Ed!

    Show them some easy songs that they can recognize the bass line from and get them to play together as much as possible.

    It is always worth taking a few lessons from the most respected bass teacher in town to get an idea how to play and teach better.

    Just my quick 2 cents.

  5. edfriedland


    Sep 14, 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    Thanks for the recommendation!

    Make sure you make them do simple things like being able to play consistent 8th notes to a click. You'd be surprised how many people have trouble with that!
  6. bannedwit


    May 9, 2005
    Buffalo, NY

    Make sure you got or have them buy a metronome and play to that. I had such an issue but got around it by jumping in a band asap and working with a drummer. I need to practice with one more though.

    you will be suprised how much stuff with really click on your end by explaining things to others. I used to teach karate and I couldn't beleive how things came around when I taught it. You will actually benefit from doing this i think.
  7. Correlli


    Apr 2, 2004
    Wellington, NZ
    I read a quote a while ago that said "complexity is just layers of simplicity". having a firm understanding of the basics is a real advantage.
  8. westland

    westland Supporting Member


    I've been teaching most of my life (not music, though I think the principles of good teaching are universal) and if there is one great challenge, it is to find each 'simple' layer and present it lucidly, showing how that layer relates to all the others. You need to take what you know (and find out what you don't, but need to teach); organize it into a stepwise progression of concepts and practice; and provide practical application (practice, jamming, etc.). Structure and communication are your overriding objectives in preparation. And always make sure that are sensitive to whether your students are picking up what you are saying. For fun, try to get students to play together (I think this should work ... as I noted, I'm not a music teacher, but this seems like it would be fun)
  9. eots


    Dec 18, 2004
    Cornell , IL.
    Getting new students to maintain their interest is key to their learning. Teach them individually and as a class. Have each one learn their own song, one that is fairly easy so they can make claim as to knowing how to play something. This will keep their interest peaked.
    Then work towards a recital where they can 'perform' in front of the others. This will get them to practice perfection so they may be nervous but will want to have a good showing in front of their peers.
    As a group, go through a few scales (major/minor in a few keys) and show them how songs use them so they understand their relevence.
    Get youself a metronome or better yet, a drum machine to aid in tempo and finding a groove.
    If you play guitar, play a melody that they can support on their bass so as to feel important in the making of song.