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  • Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

    Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype),... »

  • Incorporating What We Practice

    Incorporating What We Practice

    Q: In your opinion, how does what we work on when practicing make it’s way into our playing? I’ve been thinking about the best ways to incorporate what I shed into my “vocabulary.” A: There are as many ways to incorporate what we practice into our actual musical vocabulary as there are ways to absorb... »

  • Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed

    Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed

    Q: How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed with everything you want to/feel you should be working on? A: I’ve written a column in the past relating to how to maximize your work flow and time management. I thought that I’d take a bit of a different approach this time, although I would encourage you... »

  • New Year’s Resolutions for Bass: 5 Ingredients to Get You Results

    New Year’s Resolutions for Bass: 5 Ingredients to Get You Results

    I ran a survey a few weeks back asking bass players what they struggled with the most. With an overwhelming majority, the response had to do with practicing. Specifically, how to: Practice effectively so as to see improvement. Not be distracted. Know what to work on next or where to even start. Some people formulated... »

  • How To Structure Limited Practice Time

    How To Structure Limited Practice Time

    Q: I work a “real job” – as in four 10-hour days a week. I get up at 3:15 am Tuesday through Friday, commute to work, put in my 10 hour day, plus a half-hour for lunch, and by the time I get home from my afternoon commute, it can be as late as 6... »

  • Staying Creative While Practicing

    Staying Creative While Practicing

    Q: So I reach a point now and again where I feel like I’m not practicing musically or in a creative way. Instead, I seem to be practicing things that are useful (technique, location of notes on the fretboard, arpeggios, inversions, and scales) but the way I’m going about it feels rote and not much... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

    The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

    Your phone lights up with a text message about a gig next Saturday night… score! You’re available, the money is decent, and your drummer friend recommended you. It’s an overall win! You accept the gig and receive a follow up text: “Let’s rehearse Tuesday night.” Thankfully, you’re free, but you realize that you only have... »

  • Talking Technique: Why Practice Technique?

    Talking Technique: Why Practice Technique?

    As musicians, wouldn’t it make sense to focus exclusively on musical applications and learn by practicing mainly songs? Why isolate technique drills and put so much focus on the mechanics, seemingly devoid of any musical context? Why waste an opportunity to build ears and creative skills at the same time and instead reduce practice to... »

  • Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?

    Q: I’ve read some interviews of yours, and you mentioned that when you started studying jazz, you weren’t actually all that into the music, but you came to appreciate it later through study, etc… I’ve been trying to work through standards, exercises through chord changes and bebop/chromatic-type stuff, but I don’t know what I’m trying... »

  • 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... »