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  • Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

    Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions... »

  • Focusing on Musical Growth

    Focusing on Musical Growth

    Q: I know you’ve written a lot about ways to invent new exercises and different ways to find new challenges for yourself, but sometimes I’m not sure what I’m working towards exactly other than just trying to get better. I suppose that’s enough but… any thoughts? A: Actually, yes. The big turning point in my... »

  • How Can I Play In Any Setting?

    How Can I Play In Any Setting?

    Q: I’ve been checking out this site for a while. Love it all. However, I have a problem: I don’t know where to start. Let me tell you a little about me. I’ve played bass for quite some time and even taken lessons by some famous players. I’m the student that everyone dreams of. I... »

  • Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored

    Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored

    Q: I’m wondering how to develop an expanded knowledge of the fingerboard without falling into a rut. I have been working on “Straight, No Chaser” for a couple of months. I know I should bifurcate my practice time to learn tunes I like and add melodic and technical ideas to my “bag of tricks.” However,... »

  • Talent vs. Hard Work

    Talent vs. Hard Work

    Q: I have a question on talent. Here is some background first: three years ago, I took up learning electric guitar (aged 45) without any prior learning of music, instruments, etc. – truly from scratch. I took classes in a music school and practiced daily a half and hour to 2 hours every day. I... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Man VS Metronome

    The Lightbulb Moment: Man VS Metronome

    Scales, scales, scales. Why does my teacher always make me play scales? If I have to play the C Major scale one more time, I think I’ll puke. And with a metronome? Why can’t I just learn songs and jam with my friends? Ah, the war between playing and practicing. I know this battlefield well;... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Super Powers

    The Lightbulb Moment: Super Powers

    “We can fly!” “You can fly!” “We can fly!!” “Come on, everybody! Here we gooooooo… Off to Neverland!” With just a few happy thoughts and a sprinkle of pixie dust, Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael swooped around the nursery, singing, laughing, and soaring with the greatest of ease. It was off to Neverland for... »

  • Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist

    Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist

    Q: I’ve been playing a certain way or style (as in thump, pop or blues) for as long as I can remember. Today’s bass players tend to play a lot – it seems way busier. What do you recommend for an old school bassist who wants to update to today’s styles so it sticks? A:... »

  • Practicing vs. Performing for Musical Growth

    Practicing vs. Performing for Musical Growth

    Q: I’ve been playing the bass in a blues band for two years. Then we started playing rock and funk songs, and my practicing has always been based on what I hear and what I feel. I don’t really count in my head, and I’ve hardly worked my scales but my band keeps telling me... »

  • Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Bass Players: On Staying Motivated and Avoiding Unhealthy Comparisons

    Q: How do I come to terms to the fact that I will never be a Damian Erskine-caliber player? How do I keep myself motivated to learn when I am always comparing my sucky playing to much better players? Why would anyone – especially another bass player – want to listen to me play? A:... »