What should a bass teacher teach?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by RicPlaya, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    I've talked to several so called bass teachers in my area, they both asked me what songs do I want to learn. I responded there hasn't been a song I wanted to learn that I haven't. It seems most of these guys want to write out tab for me and show how to play smoke on the water. I want to learn how to play bass, the basics, the building blocks. I can play a lot of songs from tab but I want to learn more than during this part of the song play the 5th fret on the E string. I want to know why. What should a good bass teacher teach? What should I look for when I interview potential instuctors.
  2. LoJoe


    Sep 5, 2002
    Concord, NC USA.
    I don't know what they should teach, but here's what I got. I had been playing about 6 months before I started lessons. The first lesson was spent by the instructor just figuring out where I was. He had me do some of my "best licks", play some of the songs I'd learned etc.. then he quizzed me on scale theory, chord formation, modes, etc...of which I knew zilch. I was a total root banger. He started me out with just correcting my hand position along with some basic excercises to use to get in the right habit of it. We then moved on to fret board familiarity (being able to identify any fretted note anywhere on the neck), and then onto the circle of 5ths, major scales, minor scales, and then the dreaded modes. Along with each theory lesson, he also gives me something "fun" to work on like a little slap pop rif, or a walking line to get a handle on. At first I thought a lot of this stuff was boring and useless, but gradually I found that I was automatically analyzing songs in my head for key signature, modes that could be used etc.. and it all just started to jive. After 6 months of lessons, he now mixes it up pretty good with some additional theory (has me working on sight reading notation now) along with some chops building excercises for speed and dexterity. I know that there is a lot of this that I could probably suck out of the many books and videos out there, but there is something about having to complete an assignment and be ready to show an instructor that keeps me driven and keeps me plugging away at even the boring mundane skill building stuff. He says that he does have a lot of young students that bring a CD and say "I want to learn this song" and that's all they want. He custom tailors his lessons to fit the individual student instead of a canned one size fits all program. He also is the one that makes the "Extreme Slap Bass" CD/Book program that you can find on Ebay. Here's his Website. Best decision I ever made. I am in three different bands now and turning down offers to join more.
  3. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany

    reading standard notation

    harmony theory

  4. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
  5. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
    It doesn't seem like finding the real teachers should be difficult, does it? I'd like to submit that there's a third category of teacher out there. Yes, there are the natural born teachers who could probably teach you calculus as well as the bass. Everybody knows about the hotshot players who can't teach their way out of a wet paper bag.

    But there's also a rather large group of guys you can learn a lot from - IF you know the right questions to ask. But YOU have to be on top of what you want to learn, what you need to work on, etc.. I'm firmly convinced that any random group of students will form wildly varying opinions about these guys, from great, to poor, to frustrated because they're not getting anything out of it they couldn't get with a good book, a metronome, and a bunch of woodshedding. (All of which are necessary with the teacher too - which can lead you to ask questions about their necessity. To me the value in a teacher is telling me - your phrasing is wierd. You're chopping off the last beat of every measure, etc... Not doling out books you already own a page at a time, or transcribing songs you could probably learn after a while. Teaching you to transcribe is a worthwhile skill though.)

    If you don't have clear goals, they'll end up just transcribing your favorite tunes for you, half an hour a week.
  6. how to play bass....good
  7. My teacher taught me songs at the start then we did stuff from a book...some jazz, early rock stuff like that...we do some scales, triads, 7ths, 9ths stuff like that

    Now she just helps keep me on track with songs i have to learn for a 25 min solo...its at the end of NEXT year so im learning early...at the moment its Chromatic Fanstasy and some other stuff im learning at the moment..good fun

    You could always tell the teachers that you want to learn more theory behind songs too

    good luck
  8. What do you guys pay for a lesson and how long does it last...1/2 hour, 1 hour???????
  9. herrera


    Feb 15, 2002
  10. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Boy, I hope everybody at TB reads this thread...at least the first two posts.

    RicPlaya describes exactly the wrong type of teacher (in a thread just started by Osama_Spears, Gard tells him to RUN AWAY from any "teacher" like this, coincidentally) to have, while LoJoe has found exactly the right kind of teacher to have.

    O_S and anyone else looking for a teacher, please don't "shop" for a teacher by price. Find the teacher like LoJoe describes and travel any distance and pay any price.

    If you're (not "you" personally O_S, the general "you") just looking for someone to show you how to play bass parts to songs you're either unable or (worse) unwilling to learn by ear, that's cool, but IMO you're wasting two people's time and your own money.

    In this month's BP magazine the great Ron Carter lists four or five important things aspiring pros and pros alike need to do to be the best players they can be, and number one is "Find a teacher. Period."
  11. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Craig Garfinkel,

    I think you hit the nail on the head, most of you guys did, this helps! I am decent now without any instruction I just want to make sure I get the right instruction. thanks everyone!!!!!!
  12. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Doesn't Robert Hurst teach in the Detroit area? He used to advertise bass lessons in the Metro Times.

    I agree with Craig - if the teacher is just teaching you other people's songs, you're wasting your money... unless he's showing you how to analyze them.

    Try to seek out private bass teachers, not those who teach out of a store or studio. Often, they will hire people who can play several instruments, but are not specialists in any.
  13. I am getting lessons at a place around here , and the guy said his main instrument is bass,sure he plays piano and guitar...but it main instrument is bass guitar. I'm nervous yet excited...I dunno what to expect.

    Any tips?
  14. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    What should a bass teacher teach?

    I would want to know how to properly choose what notes to play over whatever chords I find on a piece of sheet music to a song that I've never heard before. To just do that on the first try.

    Also, techniques to keep proper 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, etc... time to music rich with syncopated eighth, sixteenth notes or better!

    That would be great!
  15. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Well, that's a good goal to shoot for. But, if you don't already know the basics, you just can't jump straight into that stuff - that'd be like sending some guy who's only taking the second pilot lesson of his life into the cockpit of an F-16.
  16. Mirek Kocandrle

    Mirek Kocandrle

    Aug 26, 2003
    Dear Ric and Jeb, as a Berklee College of Music instructor I can't resist to give you couple of pointers. I'll keep this short! The teachers' job is to teach you how to master the instrument. It is up to you to choose how you will utilize that knowledge.
    My program focuses on these areas:
    1. all scales (major, minor,pentatonics, modes) all over your instrument 4/4 and 3/4 meter
    2. all types of chords all over the instrument 4/4 and 3/4 meter
    3. reading( notes and chord progressions) no tab
    4. learn songs: standard(jazz and rock), transcribe by ear
    5. play all styles of music
    6. improvisation

    Of course, good teacher will answer questions about other important topics like how to play with a drummer, sense of time, gear, business etc.

    Ideally, the lesson should comprise of what you need to learn to make a living as a bass player (if that's what you want to be) and what you'd like to learn, something fun...

    Thank you for listening, check out my new web site for more information:www.mirekkocandrle.com

    regards, Mirek K.
  17. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire
    Hey Mirek,

    Great to see you here on the TB board!

    To all talk bassers: Mirek Kocandrle is a first rate bassist and teacher. I have seen Mirek perform in most all styles of music and his playing is strong and clear. His teaching is well thought out and founded in experience.

    Mirek is also a leading authority on the history of Rock and Pop music. http://www.mirekkocandrle.com/rockbooks.html

    I encourage all to take advantage of Mirek's willingness to share his wisdom.
  18. OldDawg


    Jul 4, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I just stopped lesson with my current teacher and looking for a new one in the Los Angeles area. The problem is the lessons got boring. First I am not a beginner I played MANY years ago and then played guitar and wanted to get back into bass. I was doing my work on the fundamentals as the teacher asked. Working on major scales, reading, more reading, and some boring duets. I would request some material on other scales or arpeggios, also the tunes childish. I said there must be hipper tunes that would make the same point. The instructor gave me a bad time for questioning the material.

    My point a teacher needs to get the student to work on the various fundamentals, but needs to get some material that the student is insterested in to make them want to play/practice more. Even make it a reward system. A good instructor should be able to adjust their materials so to get the subject across in a way the student enjoys.
  19. James S

    James S

    Apr 17, 2002
    New Hampshire

    Right ON!
  20. Mirek Kocandrle

    Mirek Kocandrle

    Aug 26, 2003
    Bassart1: Yes, right On!
    Mirek K.