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  • Is It Okay to Multitask While Practicing?

    Is It Okay to Multitask While Practicing?

    Q: I’m hoping that you can chime in on a debate my friend and I have going. He tends to multitask while he practices (Netflix shows streaming, social media feeds running, etc.) I always give him a hard time about because I feel like when you practice, you shouldn’t be doing other things but he... »

  • 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... »

  • What To Practice When You Don’t Have Gigs

    What To Practice When You Don’t Have Gigs

    Q: My question to you is this: what do you do when you’re not playing with a group and have no gigs on the horizon, particularly what to practice? Without a set of songs or even a style to give the context of what the bass should be playing, I find myself grasping for inspiration... »

  • Practicing Slower Tempos

    Practicing Slower Tempos

    Q: I don’t know about you, but when I was a younger and less experienced player, I used to dread playing the faster, up-tempo passages or songs. But that all seemed to resolve itself with practice, and now as an older – hopefully wiser – player, I have come to realize what I have should... »

  • How Can I Play In Any Setting?

    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... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: Creative Space

    The Lightbulb Moment: Creative Space

    Every now and then, you may get lucky enough to do a gig or to jam with players in a truly creative and inspired way. You get to play in the greatest sense of the word, and better yet, you get to be your best musical self. You feel a sense of camaraderie with your... »

  • Should I Study Music Written For Other Instruments?

    Should I Study Music Written For Other Instruments?

    Q: I was recently talking to a guitar player friend about feeling bored with practicing, and he recommended that I try to incorporate studies from different instruments into my routine. You’ve talked about using drum rudiment books to practice rhythm, and that totally makes sense, but what could I gain from studying a book on... »

  • Does It Take 10,000 Hours To Master An Instrument?

    Does It Take 10,000 Hours To Master An Instrument?

    Q: What would you say that it takes for someone to master an instrument? I’ve heard the “10,000 hours” thing but sure not all 10,000 hours are created equal? A: I couldn’t agree more with you that not all hours in the shed are created equally. Time spent with well-considered goals for yourself – practicing... »

  • Should I Learn Older Music To Understand Newer Music?

    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... »

  • 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... »