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Growth Archives

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?
Ask Damian Erskine

What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

Damian received another interesting question this week for his “Ask” column: “I wonder, as you look back, what do you wish you could have told your younger self?” Damian’s response to this is pretty terrific.

How Much Music Theory Do I Really Need To Know?
Ask Damian Erskine

How Much Music Theory Do I Really Need To Know?

A reader emailed Damian describing his struggles with music theory and asked for his thoughts on the importance of it. While there are lots of ways to look at this, Damian breaks describes some paths to take in your musical growth.

Taking Criticism in a Positive Light
Ask Damian Erskine

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 and statements of preference are...

Focusing on Musical Growth
Ask Damian Erskine

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 development came with an important...

How Can I Play In Any Setting?
Ask Damian Erskine

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 practice incessantly. With all that...

Learning the Fretboard Without Getting Bored
Ask Damian Erskine

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, I still see the value...

Talent vs. Hard Work
Ask Damian Erskine

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 did as much in the...

The Lightbulb Moment: Man VS Metronome
The Lightbulb Moment

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 metronome is always outnumbered...

The Lightbulb Moment: Super Powers
The Lightbulb Moment

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 an adventure… second star to...

Adding Some New School Playing to an Old School Bassist
Ask Damian Erskine

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: That is an interesting question...