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Performing Archives - Page 2

Making Theory Work
Ask Damian Erskine

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, I generally just play by...

The Lightbulb Moment: A Quarter Note For Your Thoughts
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: A Quarter Note For Your Thoughts

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of the college admission process — the worst part about being in high school. Clearly, a full day of classes followed by extra-curricular activities and homework isn’t enough to deal with; there are standardized tests to study for, essays to write, schools to visit, interviews to prepare for, and meetings with your...

Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Challenges to Good Intonation in a Live Situation

Good intonation is a lifelong concern for every double bassist. We train our ears, we work constantly to match pitch, and we devote large sections of our individual practice sessions to improving it. Among other things, the sheer size of the instrument demands our constant attention to pitch. Sometimes though, even players who normally have impeccable intonation can have issues...

From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance
Ask Damian Erskine

From the Shed to the Stage: Translating Practice to Performance

Q: I’m having a difficult applying what I’ve learned into playing. When I play, my fingers can’t seem to do what they did when I practiced. Is there any suggestion to making things stick? A: The first word that pops into my head is repetition. Lines, licks and harmonic devices – such as arpeggios, scales and so on – need...

Secrets of Playing Great in a Group Setting: Listen, Acknowledge and Respond
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Secrets of Playing Great in a Group Setting: Listen, Acknowledge and Respond

Be it on the bandstand, the concert stage, or the corner of a bad club, most musicians yearn for great musical communication in an ensemble. Great musical communication between players leads to great ensemble playing. If you have experienced it once, you will want it again. To have the shot at this, we need to: Play our part, with complete...

When to Play with the Harmony: A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

When to Play with the Harmony: A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: The (new) guitarist in my band has mentioned a few times that I’m not “holding it down” because I don’t always play the root, and he finds it “detracts from the song.” He is an extremely good musician and I respect his opinion. However the chords in our songs are super vanilla. Our vocalist says she loves the way...

Playing Music with an Open Mind
I Wish I Knew That

Playing Music with an Open Mind

Playing music is a curious thing. We excite at the opportunity to play with and for other people. We look forward to it, prepare for it, take pleasure in it, and enjoy the feeling of making music together. Sounds perfect, right? Well, the funny thing is that the more you play in a “formal” scenario (such as a gig or...

It’s All in the Hands: Time to Dust Off the Old Axe
I Wish I Knew That

It’s All in the Hands: Time to Dust Off the Old Axe

I’m sure than we’ve all heard the saying “it’s all in the hands.” Many of us, myself included, are willing to support this statement. But is that really all there is? Is our musical voice the same regardless of what we play or what we play through? After all, we’re the one picking up the instrument, and our years of...

Overcoming Stage Fright
I Wish I Knew That

Overcoming Stage Fright

Do you ever get nervous about performances? I certainly do. I’ll spend hours and hours learning material, charting it out, listening to it in the car, and getting everything in order for the gig, and even after all of that, I’ll still be nervous! For some reason, I think that everyone else will be cool as a cucumber, right? Wrong....

Consistency: From the Practice Shed to the Bandstand
Ask Damian Erskine

Consistency: From the Practice Shed to the Bandstand

Q: I seem to have an issue with consistency. I seem to be able to pull certain licks and lines together when practicing, but it always falls apart when I’m actually playing with the band. Any tricks to develop consistency? A: Tricks? No. But I do have some thoughts. 1. Context I had a realization after something similar to what...