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The Lightbulb Moment: The Lesson Agreement
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: The Lesson Agreement

Many people question the validity of music lessons. Are they worth it? Why do they cost [enter amount]? And what’s the point of having a teacher when you can learn on your own? That’s the topic of Ryan’s latest “Lightbulb Moment” column.

What’s the Trick to Slap Bass?
Ask Damian Erskine

What’s the Trick to Slap Bass?

This week’s “Ask Damian” column focuses on the subject of slap bass - in two parts. First, the basics, and second, the rhythm patterns. Damian expands on this to explore learning all styles in this new column.

Is My Bass Teacher Right for Me?
Ask Damian Erskine

Is My Bass Teacher Right for Me?

This week’s “Ask” question was sent in by a reader who is pretty new to the bass, and pretty frustrated with his bass teacher. So he reached out to Damian for advice. Check out what Damian has to say about the student/teacher relationship.

Where To Start with Music Theory
Ask Damian Erskine

Where To Start with Music Theory

A reader sent Damian one of the most honest questions we've seen, focused on his lack of understanding theory and his desire to change that. Check out what Damian has to say on “Where To Start with Music Theory.”

The Lightbulb Moment: One Song To Learn
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: One Song To Learn

Ryan’s new “Lightbulb Moment” started out with a question: “Is there one song that contains an exemplary amount of bass playing knowledge?” She picked one and broke it down completely. (The tune may come as a surprise!)

How To Play Through Difficult Tunes
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Play Through Difficult Tunes

This week, someone asked me how to play through "Giant Steps," so I made this video to break down my process. We'll dive into working through difficult sets of changes and talk about how to think about it.

How Do I Start Practicing Jazz?
Ask Damian Erskine

How Do I Start Practicing Jazz?

Q: I’ve heard some jazz (usually newer stuff) that I like and I’m thinking that I should work on it. You and others also mention that it’s a good thing to practice in general, too. But it’s so confusing and most things I find online (and your columns) are usually too advanced for me. How should I start? A: The...

Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?
Ask Damian Erskine

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 been led by a lot...

Do I Have To Like Jazz To Improve My Playing?
Ask Damian Erskine

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 to achieve, in a way....

Lesson Plans for the New Year
Ask Damian Erskine

Lesson Plans for the New Year

For this first installment of the new year, I thought that I would try and help motivate us all. I thought about the new year, new goals, fostering forward momentum and the dreaded new year’s resolutions popped into my head. Instead of encouraging all of us to go to the gym and stop eating pizza for breakfast, I wanted to...

Working with Printed Transcriptions
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Working with Printed Transcriptions

Studying transcriptions of masterful performances can provide a wealth of learning material for a musician. Musically speaking, we will gain the most by completing our own transcriptions, entirely by ear, of course. However, there is still a great deal to be gained by working from published transcriptions by other musicians, provided we approach them in the right way. Certainly there...

Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Music
Ask Damian Erskine

Overcoming Learning Disabilities in Music

Q: What advice do you have for someone who has problems with playing 16th notes and has learning disability in math? I have goals to play music in my own gigs and play at a couple venues, but I’m doubting whether it’s even possible to play on one’s own. A: I don’t think that a learning disability should hinder you...