…making better bass players with Kris Rodgers A.K.A Dmanlamius
Ok, practice is important. Consistent practice more so. You probably know that already though, so let’s take a look at some practical examples.
Of course, not everyone has the time to practice. Some people have too much time to practice, and this can be as destructive as not practicing enough.
Firstly, always make sure your Bass is at hand! Keep it out of its case, and as close to you as possible. Psychologicaly, that little effort to actually get it out of the case, set it up, etc etc, can be enough for people to not bother. More so, if they’ve just had a busy day at work/school/college.
There is also a psychology as to how much we ‘should’ practice. Look, at the end of it all, we want to do this because it is FUN, right? It’s important that we make the process as fun and engaging as possible, or its just not worth doing, and we would soon get bored. But at the same time, we need to see positive changes, or we will feel we’re not making any substantial progress.
So, my recommendation would be 30 minutes a day of practice. A perfect situation would be 30 minutes of focused practice, and another 30 minutes of noodling, jamming, messing around. That way, you will make good progress, but it will also stay fun and fresh.
What do I mean by focused practice? Well, that could be going through the songs you have learnt, and really focusing on getting them right. Be strict with yourself. Get the timing down perfect. Get the notes down. If you hit a dud note. Stop, and start again. Be hard on yourself. If you’re learning a new song, shut off all external influence (music, other people, T’V, etc) and concentrate. Be serious about this, as it will pay you back massively in the long run.
And on the complete flip side of that, in the second thirty minutes, do the opposite. Mess around. Noodle. Have fun. Randomly explore notes. I normally will have my Bass with me when I’m watching TV, or something on youtube. Not really focusing on what I’m playing, but its there with me. Just playing random stuff as and when it comes. But again, as mentioned above, it is important your Bass is easily at hand to do this.
Remember when I said that too much time can be destructive above? Well, what I meant by that was that six hours of not really doing anything, and not really focusing won’t get you anywhere quickly. You could argue that that is six hours of practice, but I’d say it isn’t six hours of quality practice. That is the key.
Now, if you can lend more time to your practice schedule, do so. But again, try and split it in two. You don’t want to be doing ALL focused practice as it may stop being fun. But you don’t want to be doing ALL fun practice, because you won’t be learning properly.
And again, if you can’t lend enough time to practice. Say, 30 minutes. Do 15 minutes of focused practice, and 15 minutes of messing around.
And in a worst case scenario, just pick up your Bass for a couple of minutes, and do some focused work.
Also, you don’t have to do this in your house. I often take my Bass out with me, and practice in woods, fields etc. You don’t need an amp to do this. Keep your Bass nice and close to you, and you’ll feel the notes vibrate through your body. There is something very rewarding about playing a musical instrument outside. A new environment, wherever that may be, can be very inspiring. Try it!
Lastly, please understand that practice is a means to an end. The end being becoming the Bass player you want to be. The road will be frustrating, and you may want to give up, because its just too difficult. You may not see any positive changes for a long, long time. You may feel the effort you put in is not worth it. But trust me when I say, that if you persevere, you WILL come through the other side. I wrote a short story that applies to this and staying positive here, if you are interested.
So, the overall key here is to split your time on Bass between fun time, and focused time.
Keep on keeping on my friends. And never forget the old saying “an ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory”, so stop reading this, and pick up that Bass!
There is a lot of content on this site! I am sincerely trying to reach out to you as if there were no geographical boundaries.
The first port of call on your Bass journey should be the “Lesson tree”. These are lessons that start off easy, and slowly progress.