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  • Practicing Slower Tempos

    Practicing Slower Tempos

    Q: I don’t know about you, but when I was a younger and less experienced player, I used to dread playing the faster, up-tempo passages or songs. But that all seemed to resolve itself with practice, and now as an older – hopefully wiser – player, I have come to realize what I have should... »

  • 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... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Creative Space

    The Lightbulb Moment: Creative Space

    Every now and then, you may get lucky enough to do a gig or to jam with players in a truly creative and inspired way. You get to play in the greatest sense of the word, and better yet, you get to be your best musical self. You feel a sense of camaraderie with your... »

  • Should I Study Music Written For Other Instruments?

    Should I Study Music Written For Other Instruments?

    Q: I was recently talking to a guitar player friend about feeling bored with practicing, and he recommended that I try to incorporate studies from different instruments into my routine. You’ve talked about using drum rudiment books to practice rhythm, and that totally makes sense, but what could I gain from studying a book on... »

  • Does It Take 10,000 Hours To Master An Instrument?

    Does It Take 10,000 Hours To Master An Instrument?

    Q: What would you say that it takes for someone to master an instrument? I’ve heard the “10,000 hours” thing but sure not all 10,000 hours are created equal? A: I couldn’t agree more with you that not all hours in the shed are created equally. Time spent with well-considered goals for yourself – practicing... »

  • Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    Q: I struggled with asking if I HAVE to learn trad jazz or if I SHOULD learn it, so take this question as both. And just as a disclaimer, I’m using “trad jazz” to mean the standards and the jazz being played predominantly from the ’20s to the ’60s and the styles that encompassed. I’ve... »

  • Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Getting It Perfect Vs. Practicing New Material

    Q: I am finding it difficult to combine not practicing what I know and practicing for perfection. I practice fretless almost exclusively, and good intonation is a constant pursuit, including with something as conceptually simple as a major triad arpeggio. Add speed and the desire to play smoothly with controlled dynamics, and one can spend... »

  • Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #4 – Motivation

    Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #4 – Motivation

    Having trouble getting motivated to practice? Just not feeling it? Here are a few simple action items to help get you going. I have found them very useful for myself and my students. Famously, there are two kinds of motivation (or impulses that lead to motivation to act): extrinsic (from the outside) and intrinsic (from... »

  • Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #3 – Put Your Bass Under Your Pillow

    Talking Technique: Efficient Practice Hacks #3 – Put Your Bass Under Your Pillow

    Installment three in my series on my favorite practice “hacks” may almost seem too good to be true. However, this has nothing to do with wishful thinking, the law of attraction (I am more of a “law-of-action” kinda gal), or superstition. It has everything to do with brain science and the power of the mind!... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice

    The Lightbulb Moment: This Is Why I Practice

    There’s an old saying that goes: if it were easy, everyone would do it. Playing music isn’t easy. Navigating the fretboard is confusing, playing with a metronome can be tedious, and there’s a never-ending list of songs to learn. Despite all of the work that goes into playing music, most of us love it and... »