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  • Exercises for Improving Time

    Exercises for Improving Time

    Q: What are some good exercises or practice routines to develop a strong sense of time? A: When I want to work on time, rhythm or technique, I think “What would a drummer do”? There are any number of ways to develop that internal clock. Here are a few ideas for you: 1. Playing Along.... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: You Make It Look Easy

    The Lightbulb Moment: You Make It Look Easy

    “Are you ready for bed?” “Yes, mom.” “Did you pick out a book to read?” “Yes!” “Did you brush your teeth?” “Ye-es” (with a slightly sarcastic tone). Twenty-odd years later and I’m still brushing my teeth, as I’m likely to do for another twenty years, and hopefully another twenty after that. Needless to say, I’m... »

  • Making Theory Work

    Making Theory Work

    Q: I’ve tried to learn music theory many times. I’ve studied it in a classroom setting, private lessons and on my own, but it just doesn’t click with me for some reason. I’m classically trained, so I can read bass music just fine, but when I play anything that relies heavily on memory or improvisation,... »

  • Improving Time and Rhythmic Accuracy

    Improving Time and Rhythmic Accuracy

    As important as playing with good intonation is, it is even more important to play with good time and rhythmic accuracy. Most of us know that counting, subdividing and practicing with a metronome can help. However, there are things we can do beyond these initial steps. Below are a few suggestions, and a few games,... »

  • Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

    Exploring Vertical Harmony in Bass Playing

    Q: I have never studied an instrument aside from bass. In watching countless guitarists pick up my bass and rip out some cool lines (and the left hand of pianists), I’ve realized that I’ve never really found an effective way to internalize “vertical harmony”, and thus my lines lack coherence as a whole. How do... »

  • Quickly Figuring Out Available Notes For Given Chord Types

    Quickly Figuring Out Available Notes For Given Chord Types

    Q: I’ve been trying to learn how to figure out what notes are available for any given chord type. I’ve read columns here (yours are very helpful), Googled it, bought books… I just seem to get more confused at every turn. Once I think I’ve got it, I’ve lost it. Do you have any quick... »

  • Exploring New Ways to Practice Chord Changes on Bass

    Exploring New Ways to Practice Chord Changes on Bass

    Q: I was wondering if you had any new ways of practicing playing through changes? I have been working on my arpeggios and modes but feel like I’m just hitting a wall. A: I don’t know if this counts as a new way of playing through changes, but there are an endless number of options... »

  • Janek Gwizdala Publishes “All The Good Stuff – How I Practice” Instructional eBook

    Janek Gwizdala Publishes “All The Good Stuff – How I Practice” Instructional eBook

    Janek Gwizdala has a new instructional book out. All the Good Stuff – How I Practice revolves around his practice regimen, and the book is full on getting the most out of your instrument, your hands and your ears. Gwizdala dives into more than practicing with tips on getting focused, inspiration, pacing, and finding solutions... »

  • Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing

    Connecting Written Rhythms to Your Bass Playing

    Q: I can read the notes on the staff and I can tell you if it’s a 16th note or a whole note, and yet, I can’t seem to play the rhythm. Any advice on fixing this? A: As I’ve said before, learning to read music fluently takes a lot of practice, just like learning... »

  • Getting Comfortable with Odd Time Signatures

    Getting Comfortable with Odd Time Signatures

    Q: Lately I’ve been finding myself in situations where tunes with odd time signatures are called up on gigs. I’m finding it a challenge to switch gears on the fly and be able to come up with a grooving bass line and not lose the one. How do you handle – and prepare – for... »