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  • Finding Your Voice vs. Conventional Bass Playing

    Finding Your Voice vs. Conventional Bass Playing

    Q: I have really been obsessed with wanting my own unique voice and approach on the bass. Do you think that I’d be doing myself any harm in the long run if I avoid conventional approaches to learning (like scales, changes, learning blues lines, etc…) in an attempt to develop something new? A: That’s an... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Antici…pation

    The Lightbulb Moment: Antici…pation

    It’s 6:57pm. I made it — and with three minutes to spare! Sixty minutes ago, I was at work, way across town, biting my fingernails as I shut down my computer for the day and ran out of the office. Thankfully, the traffic gods smiled upon me and aside from a few inescapable red lights,... »

  • Learning Music: A Discussion on Bass Tab, Notation and Ears

    Learning Music: A Discussion on Bass Tab, Notation and Ears

    Q: I have been interested in music all my life, but never played an instrument. Now that I’m retired, I have taken up playing the bass for the last six months from an instructor. I started out learning the notes on the bass itself and one song using notes. But since then, all of my... »

  • Improving Your Musical Ears

    Improving Your Musical Ears

    Being a musician requires a great number of skills. However, the aural component is by far the most prevalent. So, to perform at the highest levels, we must have good listening skills. Ultimately we need to hear, and understand, exactly what is happening around us. Only when we can do this can we respond in... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: A Quarter Note For Your Thoughts

    The Lightbulb Moment: A Quarter Note For Your Thoughts

    Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the college admission process — the worst part about being in high school. Clearly, a full day of classes followed by extra-curricular activities and homework isn’t enough to deal with; there are standardized tests to study for, essays to write, schools to visit, interviews to prepare... »

  • On Musical Expression and Playing Freely

    On Musical Expression and Playing Freely

    Q: I’ve been wondering about what people really mean when they speak of “music as a language,” and how this applies to improvising. When I take a solo, I feel like I’m just running the same patterns over and over again and never really doing anything different from song to song. What thoughts do you... »

  • Thoughts On Multi-Instrumentalism

    Thoughts On Multi-Instrumentalism

    Q: What is your opinion on playing multiple instruments (for example double bass or piano) versus focusing on one instrument? I noticed a double bass in the background of one of your recent videos and wondered what your thought process had been when deciding to take up a new instrument. A: I was primarily a... »

  • Playing Music with an Open Mind

    Playing Music with an Open Mind

    Playing music is a curious thing. We excite at the opportunity to play with and for other people. We look forward to it, prepare for it, take pleasure in it, and enjoy the feeling of making music together. Sounds perfect, right? Well, the funny thing is that the more you play in a “formal” scenario... »

  • Truly Listening: Playing Bass with Impaired Hearing

    Truly Listening: Playing Bass with Impaired Hearing

    Q: I’m an intermediate level hearing-impaired bassist who cannot identify notes or pitch or key by ear. I play songs by memory. How would I go about breaking through to the next level? A: Wow, this may be the hardest question I’ve ever had to attempt to answer. The impression that I have is that... »

  • Musical Growth: Finding Those “Aha” Moments

    Musical Growth: Finding Those “Aha” Moments

    Q: What were some of the breakthroughs or “aha” moments in your bass playing? Specifically, what are some of the things you’ve learned that unlocked a higher level of knowledge and technique? A: That’s an interesting question… and the answer tends to be different for everyone. Everyone learns differently and is likely to have different... »