In order to master anything in life, motivation, determination and commitment are required. Any master craftsman has spent many years studying and perfecting their trade. You have to be devoted, focused and disciplined enough on a daily basis to perfect your craft. For those of you who have seen the movie Star Wars, two characters come to mind, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda. Both of these characters grew and developed through years of study and awareness until they became Jedi Masters.
When practicing our craft of bass playing, it is important to understand the many diverse aspects and techniques required for being a master player. Below you will see a list of some of these “Aspects of Playing” that we should focus on.
Aspects of Playing
* Arco Playing
* Bass Method Book(s)
* Chords/Extensions/Substitutions/Chord Scale Relationship
* Composing & Arranging skills
* Concerts (Observing)
* Ear Training
* Exercises/Licks/Patterns/Phrases/Digital Patterns (isolate left & right hand)
* Fundamentals/Hand Position/Intonation
* Listen, Listen and Keep Listening (*Note: Music is a language. We need to hear it spoken before we can speak it. Everybody listens to music in his or her own way. The professional should listen differently, concentrating on form, shape, lines etc.)
* History (General Music History/Jazz History/Rock & Commercial Music History/History of the Bass and it’s Players)
* Preparing to Gig
* Recording/Being Creative
* Reading (Sight Reading Notated Music/ Bass Magazines/Books and Autobiographies of artists you admire)
* Rhythm Study
* Scales and Arpeggios (Major & Modes, Melodic Minor & Modes, Harmonic Minor & Modes, Blues and Penatonic, Whole Tone and Altered Scales)
* Slap Technique
* Style Analysis
* Tapping Technique
* Transcribe Tunes/Solos/Analyze Players
* Videos (Instructional and Concerts)
* Walking Lines
* Working with others
* WWW (The internet is the worlds library at your fingertips, an endless resource of music, transcriptions, charts, people, and information)
This list is a little overwhelming isn’t it? Let’s simplify these ideas and organize them so that we are getting the most out of our practice time. On a blank piece of paper, I’ll show you how I might organize these ideas:
Daily Practice Log
Area of Focus
Time of Practice Session
Scales and Arpeggios
*Focus on Fundamentals/Hand Position/Intonation
* Depending on your goals, Area of Focus & Time of Practice Session will vary.
* Always practice with a metronome and increase Tempo as you progress.
* This Daily Practice Log is simply an example of how your practice session might look, be creative and come up with your own.
* Always pay attention to your tone.
* Practice all exercises through cycles of fifths, major seconds, minor thirds, major third cycles.
* Don’t take on too much, remember to have fun.
* Study privately with a respected teacher/player in your area.
* Bottom line, be consistent and focused with your practice session and you will be amazed at your progress.