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What do we really need to reach our goals?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jul 29, 2020.


  1. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    Bass players communicate in the language of music using the medium of bass. We need to understand the syntax and grammar of the language first then construct words, sentences and eventually stories. The bass won’t help us learn the language or create interesting stories but it can help or hinder us when we communicate using the language. IMHO!
     
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  2. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    Vocal chords are like strings on a bass. They vibrate to create sounds when you talk, just like bass strings vibrate when you pluck them. They both communicate ideas in different languages. You can only fully communicate an idea if you understand the language. If you speak a sentence in a foreign language you don’t understand then you’re copying the sound parrot-fashion and not using the language to convey your own feelings. Learning a foreign language along with all its subtlety, dialects and nuances allows you to engage others in conversation. A master of the language is fascinating to listen to and can hold an audience. It takes a life time to master but learning is fun when surrounded by experts in the language who encourage and correct you, such as parents when you first learnt to speak. A good bass teacher should do the same. Communicating in “bass” with other musicians allows you to improve your “spoken” bass language skills. Improvisational jazz is one example of a conversation using the language of music. Learning English, for example, is much harder as there are millions of words and hundreds rules to create sentences. But most people communicate ideas and “improvise” conversations in their native language without even thinking about it. The ideas come across but we don’t even think about the medium (voice) or the language. Most people won’t achieve this on bass unless playing in a professional jazz band five nights a week but that doesn’t stop us trying to be as good as we want to be for the type of music we play.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
    Dr. Cheese likes this.
  3. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    This is a great way to advocate for music education.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
    BasEd likes this.
  4. RayWithFlats

    RayWithFlats

    Mar 22, 2020
    on the 1
    Yeah, mentality is very important, my biggest step forward recently was when I stopped playing as if I had something to prove and just played. It was kind of a gradual thing so I don’t know if it was technical, theory or just maturing as a person.

    Either way, the fact that you’re even asking the question is a good sign you’re on the right track and willing to think about all aspects of your playing. Good luck Doc and if you do find the answer remember to let us all in on the secret!
     
  5. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    My bass playing has improved over the years but I’ll never be Victor Wooten or Jaco Pastorius because I don’t want to practice that much and even if I did they may have mental or physical attributes I don’t have (I’ll never be Usain Bolt no matter how much I train). I can play the songs I need to in my band and have much better time and feel than I used to which is good enough for me.
     
    staccatogrowl likes this.
  6. NeroJazz

    NeroJazz

    May 2, 2011
    Denmark
    Read the book “Effortless Mastery” by jazz-pianist Kenny Werner.

    He goes (very) in-depth about the mentality behind musicianship.

    It won’t change the way you play, but it could have a profound effect on the way you approach your playing.
     
    BasEd and Dr. Cheese like this.
  7. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I had a really good lesson today. Sometimes, it is good to hear someone say what you already know is true. He just told me to stop worrying about basses and to stop worrying about what I did not do in the past. He said just concentrate harder while practicing.:)
     
  8. dbsfgyd1

    dbsfgyd1 Supporting Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    Richmond , Va
    Interesting post. IMO, the man makes the bass, not the other way around.
     
  9. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    I’ve just got the Kindle sample of this book. Sounds interesting. In the intro he says “My belief is that, if you can talk, you can play.“.
     
  10. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    Another quote from the book Effortless Mastery... “In many cases, the decision to study music has robbed them of the ability to play music.“
     
  11. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    Another good book I’ve read is “The Music Lesson” by Victor Wooten.
     
  12. NeroJazz

    NeroJazz

    May 2, 2011
    Denmark
    What would this solve? How is forcing yourself to do something going to evolve your playing?

    A different approach could be to let go.
    Let go of your obsession with gear, with your own inadiquacy and your failed expectations.

    Accept the fact that music is a new language you’re learning, and in some ways you’re still a kid.
    How do parents teach their kids how to speak ? Through slow, deliberate repetition, one word at a time. Music is no different.

    You need to learn 2 basic things:
    1. The alphabet
    2. How to use the alphabet
    With the alphabet you build, speak, write and understand many languages.
    Translated to music, you can play many styles of music using the same basic alphabet consisting of scales, chords and rythm.

    When learning to speak, you do not start out with 3-4 languages at once. You learn one and you learn it well enough to speak with others. Music is no different.

    Learn one style and deep dive until you can play tunes in that style effortlessly.
    When circumstances require it or you just feel like it, move on to another language.

    The way to get to effortlessly master a tune can be visualised like this:
    upload_2020-7-31_14-19-47.jpeg

    This is taken from Kennys book, which I strongly recommend anyone to read.

    TL;DR: Rid yourself of poor selfesteem and obsession with shiny objects.

    Accept the fact that you are on a never ending path of learning a language and decide for yourself which part of the language you want to master first.

    Once you get to that point, take your bass and the practice diamond shows above, and get in the shed. ;)
     
    BasEd and Dr. Cheese like this.
  13. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Fair enough!
     
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    I should read it for sure.
     
    BasEd likes this.
  15. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    My teacher helped me realize something about myself. I have a short attention span, and I am very easily distracted. The result is that I tend to know a little about a lot instead of a lot about a little.
     
  16. RayWithFlats

    RayWithFlats

    Mar 22, 2020
    on the 1
    Do you write originals? If so, you could focus on blending styles and genres and turn this perceived negative into a positive. Always remember, there are two types of growth as a player; adding new knowledge and techniques but also learning how to maximise what you’ve already got going on. Good luck.
     
    lowdownthump and Dr. Cheese like this.
  17. BasEd

    BasEd

    Jun 27, 2017
    I once went for banjo lessons. My teacher said I was in too much of a rush to play the next song and never nailed the one I was learning. Took me years to realise he was right. I can spent months now perfecting a single song on bass, especially if it’s challenging. I don’t always have the luxury of time when learning new songs in my band but they get better the more I gig them. It’s important to really listen to your playing and how you lock in with other band members in order to be part of the “musical conversation”.
     
    Dr. Cheese and RayWithFlats like this.
  18. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    Lessons and books and playing along with Interweb videos are fine, but how often are you playing with other people in the styles you want to improve in? Vocabulary and syntax are important, but so are conversation sklls that only come from having, gee, conversations. ;)
     
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Due to COVID-19, I have been playing by myself since the end of February. Tomorrow, I will pay for a church rehearsal for an online service, I will not be playing my favorite styles of music.
     
    Passinwind likes this.
  20. Passinwind

    Passinwind I know nothing. Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    That’s still more than many of us have going on right now. I’ve played all of two jams since mid March, tonight would’ve been the third but the host canceled this morning.
     

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