When to Stop Practicing Something???

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by beaglegod, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. beaglegod

    beaglegod Guest

    Jan 6, 2009
    Well Ive been at it for about 4 weeks now, practicing that is. Thus far all i have done for 1 to 1 1/2 hours a day are exercises ( fretting hand exercises, fingering, crossing strings, all the finger premutations, 1/8th notes, 16th notes) everything to a metronome of course gradually trying inch up how many BPM I can play each exercise cleanly.

    My question is actually two fold
    1. When do you stop practicing something and descide to move on to the next thing? When do you feel i should start drilling the seven modes and their corresponding chords (triads and 7th)?

    2.How do/did you learn scales/chords? and by that I mean did you break the scale down into little drills or did you drill one whole octave?

    I guess Im anxious to start learning to make actual music and while i am enjoying all of the various exercises im doing Im wondering if I would benefit by forging ahead just a little bit. Or maybe thats rushing things.........:eyebrow:

    Please let me know what you guys think. 1 month nothing but exercises, should I even start learning scales/modes or strictly do exercises exclusively for a few more months.

    As i told my wife one day when she saw my drilling exercises, "If nothing else comes of this, ill have one hell of a grip." :D
  2. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Why aren't you playing music? The whole point of exercises is to solve a problem that music presents.

    Stop playing the exercises now and do something musical. Jam with some CDs or friends, whatever. When you come across something that's difficult to play then THAT is the new exercise to work on. You should always be practicing stuff you can't play. I do those finger permutation exercises for about 2 minutes and that's how I loosen my arms up. Then I play a few scales on only a couple of modes over 2 octaves and that is just to warm up too. Then I get to playing music.

    What will happen if you just drill finger exercises is when the time comes to play real music all you can do is play "1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4" super fast.
  3. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    I agree that you should move right into playing to some favorite songs, with friends, etc.
    Exercises are great and you should mix them in with your playing of actual music.
    I play a set of songs and afterwards, after I'm warmed up, I go ahead and run some scales, patterns, etc. Have some fun! :)
  4. Go until you can do a major scale without thinking of it..

    Remember the metronome.. and sing the notes with it.

    Then the prior guy kind of has it.. pick some easy tune to play with.
  5. BiigM


    Nov 11, 2007
    Play music! As long as you pay attention to your technique while playing and fix any technical issues that comes up you should be fine.
    I rarely use technique exercises for my students in the beginning. But I still make sure they use proper technique when playing songs. The exercises will present themselves in the music if you get me :)
    Later on exercises are great, i do a lot of them, but make music first :)
  6. BiigM


    Nov 11, 2007
    Oh yeah I forgot.

    Get a good teacher. It's worth it! :)
  7. beaglegod

    beaglegod Guest

    Jan 6, 2009
    That aint gonna happen any time soon, Ive had a guitar teacher, bass teacher, (way back when) and 2 violin teachers.
    Im suprised the wife was so "agreable" when I bought all my rescent bass gear.
    Im relying on alot of what I remember from them, coupled with trying to find one really solid method for self study. Something that pushes me but is fun.

    Right now Im using the dummies book, the idiots guide (figured thats gotta have me covered) and a course I bought off of ebay which gets down right difficult to understand.:scowl:
  8. SmittyG


    Dec 24, 2003
    Texarkana, Texas
    Keep using the books that are within your grasp and put away the course that is difficult for the time being. I've been playing for over 25 years and I still do technical drills and scales every single day. However, they only make a very small part of my practice routine at this point. Like the others have said, it is time for some practical application plus some good ear training.

    Pick a song you really enjoy that has an easy to hear bassline that isn't going by at a million notes per minute. Learn that bass line--without looking up the tabs for it. 99% of all basslines are coming straight out of the major and minor scales so this will get you used to hearing those elements used for actual songs. You will also be training your ear to recognize pitches, chords and keys. And, finally, you will be building up the list of songs you know how to play.

    (Just so we don't derail this thread: I'm not busting on tabs or those who use them to learn songs. All I am saying is that, in this particular case, learning the songs without the tab will provide a lot better "exercise" for the student.)
  9. DocBop


    Feb 22, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Should only use technique exercises as warm up. Trouble is with exercise most are not musical so they don't relate to real playing. So much better to find a song that requires the technique you want to work on. Like 16th note learn a Rocco line from TOP. So the bassline down to where you can play it perfectly like 80 bpm over time work it up to 120 bpm. That will not only get your 16th together but having to do them with phrasing, string crossing, and feel.

    Remember the body takes between 10 and 100 repetitions to learn a new physical movement. After that speed builds naturally via playing music that requires that movement.
  10. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
    Sorry Doc, but most technique exercises are not played musically. There is always some kind of musical interpretation in any etude, whether it is running scales up and down the neck or trying to get your fingers to articulate a quintuplet rhythm.

    As an example, you can practice a two octave dorian scale because that's what all good bass players should be doing. At the end of the day what have you learned other than it's kind of like a major scale with a couple of altered notes.

    On the other hand if you practice that two octave dorian scale on one string you can work on shifting your left hand. Or you could change the articulation the slur 2/separate 2 with a crescendo going up and a decrescendo going down. It's the same scale and technically the same exercise but now you've injected some musicality into it.
  11. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    It's important to learn scales and keys and modes and all that stuff.
    It's important to learn good physical technique through drills and fingering exercises.
    It's important to learn to read and play with good time.

    But it's also important to take time in your daily practice to play and explore on your own.
    Take modes and make etudes or little songs out of 'em. Explore chord progressions. Try different styles.
  12. debassr


    Jan 23, 2008
    +1 for common sense
  13. It's also possible to arrange your practice with arpeggios so they sound like music; it's good practice for when you're eventually going to put together your own bass lines using arpeggios...My instructor made a few up for me to start with; now he expects me to design my own. So you're learning arpeggios/chords while at the same time playing stuff that you can use when playing 'real' music.