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Practice Archives - Page 4

How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing
Ask Damian Erskine

How to Change Up Your Practice Routine When You Don’t Feel Like Practicing

Q: What does one do about practice when you just don’t feel like playing and can’t get into it? Do you walk away for a few days or force yourself to play? A: Everyone likely has a different approach, but I have a few things that I try to do before throwing in the towel and taking a break. But...

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Singing While Playing? A Discussion for Bass Players

Q: I’ve been reading your columns with great interest for the last year or so, but here’s a question I haven’t seen addressed yet: How do different bass players approach the problem of playing and singing at the same time? I’ve been playing for going on forty years now – both professionally and as a weekend warrior – and this...

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...

Learning Notes Versus Patterns
Ask Damian Erskine

Learning Notes Versus Patterns

Q: Recently I’ve been struggling with scale degrees and chords. Right now I practice my scales using in 3rds, 4ths, 5ths, etc. However my problem is being able to name the notes of the scale because for the most part I have memorized scales based on patterns (like how playing E major is the same as A major, just on...

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...

A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand
The Lowdown with Dr. D

A Quick Warmup for the Left Hand

Sometimes we need to warmup in a hurry. When I need to warmup in two minutes or less I do exercises like the ones below. Some things to remember when doing these: Start slowly and speed up as you go Keep the fingers light and flexible, don’t press any harder than necessary Don’t’ go any faster than feels easy, slow...

Simple Exercise for Increased Bow Control on Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Simple Exercise for Increased Bow Control on Bass

When using the bow, the natural tendency is to play louder at the frog and softer at the tip. We must, of course, counteract this predisposition on a regular basis. Simply playing a full bow with consistent timbre and volume requires it. Generally, we do this by adding pressure, via arm weight, to the bow as we move further from...

Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance
Ask Damian Erskine

Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance

Q: I play at a semi-professional level. I work a regular 9-to 5-job and play in the evenings. I am lucky enough that I get a few hours every evening to just shed and work on my playing and lately I’ve been doing a lot of classical etudes to work on technique and maintain my reading chops. My question is...

Beginning Exercise for Improving Left Hand Finger Independence
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Beginning Exercise for Improving Left Hand Finger Independence

The four movements of the left hand fingers necessary for string playing (to paraphrase the great violin pedagogue Demetrius Constantine Dounis) are: Lifting: Raising a finger from the fingerboard/string Dropping: Lowering a finger/Pressing a string to the fingerboard Sliding: Moving a finger along the string so the pitch rises or lowers accordingly Holding: leaving a finger down on the string...

Exercises for Improving Time
Ask Damian Erskine

Exercises for Improving Time

Q: What are some good exercises or practice routines to develop a strong sense of time? A: When I want to work on time, rhythm or technique, I think “What would a drummer do”? There are any number of ways to develop that internal clock. Here are a few ideas for you: 1. Playing Along. One of the most fun...