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What's Your Practice Routine?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by chanson, Mar 11, 2009.

  1. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    I decided this afternoon while on a bike ride that I really need to approach bass playing more seriously. I think this best way for me to do this is to have a dedicated and scheduled practice routine. For me personally, I think treating music practice like a workout routine would make me stick to it the most and give me some structure. I usually have the chance to play about 1-2 hours every night and I was thinking of trying out something tonight such as:
    15 minute warm up/scale practice
    15 minute speed practice with a metronome
    30 minutes to learn songs

    This would add up to an hour of playing. I was hoping that my some of you could share your bass "workout" routines and give me some inspiration and ideas.
  2. dexter3d


    Jul 4, 2005
    If seriously, I cannot imagine what can you learn in 15 mins per day. Well, maybe it could be still useful, but you need to be _really_ focused on what you practice.
    Practice routine depends on your goals. But whatever you're doing, learn to read music, and master entire fretboard.
  3. alembicguy

    alembicguy I operate the worlds largest heavey equipment Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2007
    I practice for an hour and a half every night Monday thru Friday.My practice time almost always deals with learning new songs for various fill in gigs.
    I have my ultimate practice setup right in my living room so its easy to just grab a bass and plug in.
    My practice rig is a bass into my Cafe Walter with a drum machine or Ipod all out to a set of headphones.
  4. I agree with Dexter that it all depends on your goals... you'll get out of it what you put into it.
  5. chanson

    chanson Supporting Member

    My goal is really just to have a balanced practice routine. There isn't anything I really want to learn, aside from the songs. And in response to Dexter, I already read music and pretty much know the entire fretboard.
  6. Then it sounds like you reached your goal! You have a balanced practice routine... what if you were to do scales on Monday & learning songs on Tuesday then speed on Wednesdays... etc. Kinda like working out in the gym... different muscles on different days. It would allow you to spend more time on one thing????
    Just a thought.
  7. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    !0 min. warmup.
    30-45 min, of learning new songs.
    Another 20-30 min, of soloing, grooving, over drum machine.,
  8. jazzbo


    Aug 25, 2000
    San Francisco, CA
    You would learn more than what you would learn doing zero minutes per day.

    When life was one time not allowing me to practice very much at all, my bass teacher's advice was "acknowledge the bass" everyday. I just had to pick it up and hold it for a moment. Really wonderful advice. It led to practice more than I thought I would. But even when I couldn't play, simply holding the bass for a moment kept it in my mind as something I get joy from and want to do.

    Anyway, in regards to what to do to practice in your time and what I do, have you seen Pacman's Sure-Fire Scale Practice Method 3000?! I like it and use it. I usually play some tunes I like, (maybe Song For My Father, Four on Six, Satin Doll, Freddie Freeloader, Footprints, What Is This Thing Called Love, Black Orpheus, St. Thomas, Tenor Madness, etc.), whatever I'm feeling. Maybe some R&B tunes as well. Maybe I'll fiddle with some changes that are intriguing to me. Maybe I'll play some Latin. It really depends. Scales are always a part of what I do though.

    Also, get yourself a notebook, and check out the Practice, Practice, Practice thread.
  9. DudeistMonk


    Apr 13, 2008
    Newark, NJ
    Muscle memory stuff (scales, arpeggios, patterns) = in front of the TV, this frees up actual practice time for other stuff.

    Other Stuff = Song per week, playing over various changes, rhythm and reading stuff...basically whatever my instructor gives me.

    Of course anything for a band trumps all that and I also spend a little time here and there jamming to drum loops, playing with tones and noodling to keep it interesting.
  10. beaglegod


    Jan 6, 2009
    I do an hour or two practice per day, everything is on a rotational basis.
    ex: 1 major mode 1 minor melodic mode ,1 miscelaneous scale, 1 Chord per day.
    I do a breif review of course all of modes and chords each day but focus that day on the ones scheduled, doing them over two octaves,inversions , premutations ect.
    Same gos with rythem studies one note value, or combination exercise per day such as triplets, 1/16th notes etc. And each day I pick a different key to work in.
    I try and at least touch on everything each day even if Im not going to spen a lot of time on it, simply to keep refreshing my memory in the hopes that one day Ill actually grow a memory.:)
  11. Let's just say tomorrow I plan to take my bass and amp and headphones and my Ipod Doc with speakers around the campus tomorrow. I'm gonna play and play and play. Probably start around 3 and play till I don't feel like it no more. Everything will be in my ear unless folks ask to hear me play haha.
  12. Band: vocal rehearsal on Sat afternoon and full band on Wed or Thur night.

    Me: I've been playing for 35 years, so while I do practice for about an 1-1.5 hours 3-4 days a week, it's mostly me playing what ever I feel. Sometimes it's songs the band is learning... sometimes it's scales, arpeggios, or just plain wanking... sometimes I play my favorite riffs, songs, etc. My favorite however, is to play the bass and watch basketball at the same time. :cool:
  13. anon65884001

    anon65884001 Guest

    Feb 1, 2009
    7min bassline of my only from goodnight nurse
    -good for warm up
    -improves consistency
    -helps 2 string cross
    0-30min review and improve the songs that i can play
    -to improve my skills
    -to be able to tell my buddies what i can play
    0-20min learn new songs
    -for the next practice's second step
  14. froglips


    Feb 9, 2009
    No routine, as that would feel too much like work, or forcing myself to do it in some way.

    I just pick up my bass and/or guitar off and on throughout the day, and either try to figure out the bass lines from the T.V. programs and commercials I am watching throughout the day, go through music books I have to continue learning specific tunes I want to learn, and while I am doing all of this I am also practicing at different speeds, with different picking/plucking techniques.

    In other words I practice off and on for probably 2 hours or more each day during the week days, and probably 4 or more hours each day of the weekends. I do what I want to do when i want to do it so it is always fun for me to do and never feels like work.

    This is the entire reason I can not take lessons, as it feels too much like work, or being forced to do things I may or may not even want to do at the time.

    If you are looking for advice, I would say that you must practice at least 1 hour per day. In that hour you need to practice whatever your instructor told you to work on, a tune or two of your choice to work on, and at least 15 minutes of that time just having fun with your instrument doing whatever you want to do.
    If you do not have an instructor, then you will need to use the time that you would normally work on that stuff to work on specific things like scales, plucking hand technique position, chord progressions, music theory, and basic songs that force you to implement all of the above. You can get all of this info and practice material on this site, as well as links from this site. everything you need is free on the interweb, Bro!

    Hope this helps you find your way and have fun learning to play!
  15. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    used to play 5-7 hours per day.

    Now? Only really practice when there's material for a gig.

    1-Learn the tune thery on keys
    2-Learn the tune on guitar
    3-Pickup a bass --- start at 1/4 speed.. then 1/2 speed.. 3/4 speed... then full speed then 2x speed

    I do have a bass sitting around.. few times a day will pick up and dork with it.
  16. tobie


    Nov 26, 2008
    My practice routine depends on when the next gig is and what we'll play (e.g. if we'll be playing one or two songs in a minor key I'll specifically practice a few songs in those keys. If the next gig is only in 2 weeks' time, I'll focus more on new theory, new songs & trying out new things).

    Whatever the routine - I've found that I'm enjoying it a lot more if I end the session with 30+ minutes of just playing well-known songs (amazing how you keep on discovering new ideas & how good it makes you feel if they sound good!).
  17. EADG mx

    EADG mx

    Jul 4, 2005
    "Speed practice"? Seriously? Swap that for "Rhythm Practice".

    I'll post my old routine here.

    - Major scale and modes
    - Harmonic minor
    - Melodic minor
    - Major pentatonic and modes
    - Blues scale

    Do in all keys. Ascending and descending, lowest note to highest. Broken 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, 6ths, 7ths. Tone sequences (1234, 2345, etc)

    Chords and Arpeggios:
    Triads: maj, min, aug, dim
    7th chords: maj7, dom7, aug7, min7, -7b5, dim7, 7sus4

    Do diatonic chords of each key with inversions.

    Ear Training:
    - All intervals ascending, descending and harmonically
    - Scales: Major and modes, harmonic minor, melodic minor, major pentatonic and modes, blues
    - Triads: maj, min, aug, dim
    - 7th Chords: maj7, dom7, aug7, min7, -7b5, dim7, 7sus4


    Whatever you can get your hands on. I read out of the Real Book and Simandl etudes mostly.

    And a few general notes:

    - Everything with a metronome or drum loop (once you have got it up to that point).
    - Use the full range of your instrument. Always.
    - Learn how to sing all of these sounds as well.
    - Music isn't a race.
    - Play long tones. Hold whole notes at 40 bpm for their entire duration. Listen to how they decay.
    - A lot of people pay utmost attention to where their notes start, and little to where they end. Play the silence.
    - Adjust your sound with your hands. Improve it with your EQ. (I am tweaking my EQ and setup of my instruments frequently).
    - Take every opportunity to play with other people.
    - Keep your ears open.

    I think that's a good starting point. You're on the right track with the theory and rhythm practice, but maybe you're investing too much time into learning songs. If you keep up with the theory, the stamina, and the ear training, you'll barely need to take time to learn songs at all.
  18. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
    I worked on getting a practice schedule sorted out but realized it impedes me musically. I just have a guide for when I dont know what to practice. This usually consists of

    20 mins finger dex excerises with metronome all over the fretboard and with smoe exercises geared toward songs where I'm struggling ona section.

    20 mins on a band song looking at ways I can improve my lines. Looking at phrasings and upping the tempo so i can aapt to all speeds. Or time spent with the metronome just noodling and jamming.

    20 mins on either a book I'm working on (just about to start In the Shadows of Motown and really looking forward to it) or learning covers that i deem are either bass standards (at the moment I'm working through some Beatles) or I think will benefit my playing through phrasing or musical styles.

    Having said all that I figured out a cool riff which i expanded into half a song. this through out the whole schedule and it should do as its creating music, which is what we are practicing for!

    I also have my 4 string (i play 6) by the TV which i pick up everyday infront of the TV, not to practice, but just to kake sure my fingers are still used to a four string set up.

    I hardly ever practice sclaes apart from refamiliarizing myself with the major an minor across the fretboard purely because when I used to do them to death my playing started like a bass scale book. Just go by feel man!!!
  19. El Bajo

    El Bajo

    Apr 12, 2006
  20. mothmonsterman


    Feb 8, 2006
    I'm a hack,
    I just thump around on my bass a 8 hours a week.

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