What's Lisa doing now? Or....

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Lisa Weiss, Sep 17, 2001.

  1. What's it like learing music when you're over the hill?

    I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong forum...feel free to kick me in the butt! :D

    I think Bruce L. was saying a couple of weeks ago, that he's like to see more posts on what folks are currently working on, so I thought I'd start things off with my latest musical endeavors.

    I've just started learning to read music, which isn't as bad as I originally feared. It's not kicking my butt anywhere near as bad as theory! :D

    My teacher has me working in the first 5 frets of the E and A string. When I can sight read that at a reasonable speed, he'll start me on the D! We're keeping it strictly to quarter notes right now, so I don't have to contend with anything hairy until I get the hang of it, which is extremely cool!

    Theory, on the other hand is driving me insane! I feel like there's something just out of my reach going on, but can't quite grasp what it is! :eek:

    We're also working on some Latin Rhythms, which is pretty bizarre, since you play some notes on the down beat, and some on the up. Being an ex-dancer, that's giving me fits! I can manage to carry it for 3-4 bars, then I completely lose track of the count.

    Last week we started on different time signatures as well. We're currently working on 3/4 time, which is very cool, since a good bit of ballet music is actually a Waltz, so I'm thankfully catching onto that right away! :D

    So, my recommendation to all you young guys out there who want to put off theory and reading? Do it now while you're still young!!! I can guarantee that this would be much easier if I was only 25 years younger!

  2. Lisa -

    Good post!

    On the theory stuff, the only clue I can give you is that it all breaks down to basically simple math. Just substitute numbers for notes and things make sense, at least to me.

    Latin rhythms. Whoo. I do 'em for a living, and boy getting our white brains to wrap around those afro-cuban ideas is kinda hairy for a while. The best advice I can give is to listen a LOT to some good stuff, Irakere is my "listen all the time" stuff right now. There's a good thread on just this topic here in "General Instruction".

    What am I workin' on? Uh...um....I NEED to work on something!!!!!!!!! :eek: I'm always working on improving my understanding of latin/afro-cuban rhythms, luckily I've got two "professors" in my band, and they're always helpful. Also, I need to get off my butt and start working on my straight-ahead jazz playing, it's been too long since I've done that.
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I've got two or three Irakere CDs and I find them quite frightening! They are my only Latin albums that I don't even bother to play to my fellow Latin Jazz band-members as they are just so complex in terms of arrangements, rhythms etc.

    I'm just thinking about what I need to work on now - Summer's over in the UK - I've had my "vacations" - one playing Jazz and one relaxing in Greece and it's time to get working on improving my playing again. My regular Jazz course at the local University doesn't start until October and I went to a Jazz workshop last Wednesday and felt really "rusty" at Jazz. The break also had an effect on my tumbaos!

    So today I dug out some of my Aebersold stuff and started playing along with #60 - Freddie Hubbard tunes - firstly because they are enjoyable but also because they have some challenges in improvising over the tunes.
  4. Yeah...my biggest exposure to Latin Rhythms is Carlos Santana! :D Maybe a little Cha Cha, Rumba, and Tango. The dance steps for those all work on the down beat, like most rock and roll. I never got into the Mambo or Samba, which do the weird up beat thing, so it's killer to relate to.

    Tonight we started working on chord tones, which is kind of cool, and more reading. I have this hideous problem with looking at the neck when I'm playing. That makes sight reading a bit of a problem. :eek: Adam gave me a couple of things to try to keep my eyes off the bass and on the music, so I'm hopeful I'll be doing better with that soon.

  5. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Portland, OR
    I'm working on reading music, which is pretty hard for a terminal slacker like me. But, I'm doing it out of a need to better myself as a musician. I'm also working on making rock and metal riffs. I have a bad habit of starting out making a metal riff, and ending up with some weird freak out music....so I guess off to Metal Theory 101 for me...it's kinda hard to understand music...

    Oh, and I'm learning to cope with the fact that I'm trying to compete (w/myself) with these guys who have been playing bass for years, and I just don't have the skill nessicary yet, and I'm just leanring to accept that, and not almost have fits when I can't write music as well as some of these people, which, by the way, is harder than it sounds.
  6. Joe_Atlanta

    Joe_Atlanta Guest

    Sep 13, 2001
    Stone Mountain, GA
    Wow, sounds like a pretty well rounded approach, Lisa. One thing to keeep in mind is to save a little time at the end of your practice just to play and have fun.

    What am I working on. Well, after a couple of years of just working on learning tunes (too many bands, none working enough), I'm trying to get back into better study habits.

    The Son thread got me to pull out my copies of Funkifying the Clave and True Cuban Bass. For some reason they haven't done a thing for me just sitting on my shelf. :eek:

    One of the bands that I play in uses mainly Afro/Cuban rhythms and I have been learning bass lines by having the drummer sing the conga lines and listening to piano player. One thing that helped me on the tunes that have the bass on the and of 2 and 4. The drummer told me to feel it kind of like a New Orleans second line thing, just leave off the 1. That was a rhythm that was already in my fingers and my feet, so it helped.

    With my fretted bass in the shop, I've picked up my old fretless. Doing modes slowly, listening for tone and pitch. Also, have pulled up "All The Things You Are" in band in a box, slowed it down, and started walking in different neck areas.

    Still working on tunes, currently a Beau Jocque number for my Zydeco band. "I want them high notes, Chuckie!"
  7. merlin

    merlin Guest

    Ok can i ask some advice? I have been playing for close on 4 full years now and in my band i have learnt soo much. Yasee the guitarist i chose has 8 yrs experience and very classical so i learn things off of him.

    I was wondering about getting a teacher sometimes next year. After my full time study finishes in June. I put it to my guitarist and he was like "*** do you need a teacher for? go on the internet and learn scales etc, plus u know heaps already".

    But i dunno, its something i have wanted to do. Do you think there are teacher's who are capable of taking someone like me who is beyond the basics, yet lacks in areas like theory etc??? Or is it too late?

    I want to be able to learn slap techniques, arpeggios etc. I know triads and the like because we use them and lagato styles in my metal band.

    any advice would be good.


    I am one of those who devotes like 2 hours a day on the bass, but i want more godammnit! :p
  8. Merlin,

    I was actually talking to my teacher last lesson about this very thing. He told me that he started playing bass in his very early teens, and didn't start getting into the theory aspect until he was in his twenties.

    I was actually making a reference to learning this so late in life myself.

    He told me that in some ways, it was a bit more challenging, but that it really expanded his musical mind.

    I personally don't think it's ever too late to learn new stuff, and the theory aspect can only help. I tried, originally, to learn stuff on my own, but I found it really difficult to understand some of the concepts that were presented on paper. I believe I'm making much fast progress with a great teacher.

    Here's a little antidote that might put things in perspective. When I first started learning the bass last year, I had a great teacher recommended to be by JT and a couple of other folks here. I started taking lessons with him, but he was about 40 miles away. I was teaching evening classes in his area, so it wasn't a big deal.

    When the grandkids came, I had to quit taking lessons, and in the interim, my workshop gig dried up, so I had no reason to go out there. I started looking for a new teacher closer to home.

    I started taking lessons with Adam about 6 months ago. Last month, when I got to class, he said his old teacher had just left...he'd come to *him* for a lesson. This guy turned out to be my original teacher, and he was my age and had been playing bass forever!

    The morale of the story is, you're never too experienced to learn more, and even the pros take lessons occasionally!

    Sorry for the long post, but I hope it helps! :D

  9. Excellent point, Lisa. Even though I'm considered a "pro" by some here (why is beyond me! :eek: ), I still try to sneak in the occassional lesson with D. LaRue when time and finances permit.

    You're never so good you can't learn something new, and you're never too old to learn it. There's no way you can say it's beneath you to take lessons, there's always someone that knows something you don't and they can teach you. Taking lessons is the most direct way to learn, and having the immedate positive or negative feedback helps tremendously. You can't see little simple errors that a good teacher will be able to point out immedately, and can help you correct.
  10. I played music for 10 years before I knew there was such a thing as theory. I played clarinet in school and just knew how to play the notes written. Why one note might follow the next, I had no idea.

    I've told this story here before, but once I started playing bass, I was forced to understand some theory, and my general level of musicianship on any instrument exploded. I had to spend so much less time thinking about what note to play, I could actually concentrate on how to make it musical.
  11. merlin

    merlin Guest

    I guess that answers my questions in a nutshell. thanx guys/girls. I guess i should start reading notices boards and ringing some places. Mind you i don't or can't get lessons until about June July, but its never to early to start looking.


  12. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    excellent point Gard,
    Ive been playing bass for longer than some ppl at this site have been alive, (16 years) and if theres one thing i learned, especially since i started to study theory a bit more, and get into some different styles, is that I didnt know near as much as I thought I did. Ive learned quite a bit just by taking informal lessons from a couple of people at this site. But the face to face lesson is always best for reasons stated.
  13. That's great Merlin! I'd like to offer one other piece of advice....definitely shop for a teacher. I'm not talking about price here. If possible, talk to the potential instructor first, and see what his plan of study is. You really want to not only fnd someone you're compatible with, but find someone who's not just going to try to teach you to "play songs".

    My first bass teacher actually asked me that...what did I want to accomplish. did just want to learn to play some songs, or did I want the whole shootin' match.