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Practice Archives - Page 9

Rhythmic Bass Playing: Making it Fit the Musical Setting
Ask Damian Erskine

Rhythmic Bass Playing: Making it Fit the Musical Setting

Q: For a while, I’ve been focusing on developing a percussive finger style bass technique, in a similar style to yours. I have great fun with it when playing on my or own or looping, but whenever I try it in a band situation, it just never sounds as good. All the detail – and most of the groove –...

Settling into a Groove: A Guide for Bass Players
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Settling into a Groove: A Guide for Bass Players

One of the most important things we do as bass players is to create and lock into a groove. When I practice this I prefer a drum machine to a metronome. Here’s a guide to working with a drum machine to master the groove: 1. Set the tempo and style. Choose all the styles you are trying to be competent...

Understanding and Getting Around Roadblocks in Musical Development
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Understanding and Getting Around Roadblocks in Musical Development

For this column, I wanted to answer a question I received on Facebook, as it is an important component in our musical development. Q: I’ve been working on these exercises for six months now and I haven’t made any progress on them. I am very frustrated and do not know how to move forward. Do you have any suggestions? –...

Sight Reading for Auditions: Tips for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Sight Reading for Auditions: Tips for Bass Players

Q: I’m a bassist starting my last year in high school now. I really feel that I need to become a sight reader as quickly as possible due to an upcoming audition for the music university I wish to attend. A friend of mine did the audition and they ended up handing him some crazy bebop tune – not close...

Five Minute Practice Sessions
I Wish I Knew That

Five Minute Practice Sessions

Do you have five minutes of free time? Yes, you do. You may say that you don’t, but really, you do. It’s easy… wake up five minutes earlier than you usually do and pick up your bass before work. Or, go to bed five minutes later. Or, DVR your favorite TV show, watch it and fast forward through the commercials,...

Structuring Your Practice: A Checklist for Bass Players
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Structuring Your Practice: A Checklist for Bass Players

Any serious musician will practice regularly. While consistency is the most significant factor in our progress, we need to make good use of our practice time if we want continued improvement. No one set of specific materials (i.e. specific etudes, etc.) will be appropriate for everyone, but any successful long-term plan will hit on a few distinct areas each day....

Getting the Feel: A Guide for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Getting the Feel: A Guide for Bass Players

Q: What’s your suggestion for someone trying to get a better feeling on where to put a “pop” on a bass line? Sometimes I want to put a pop on a slap or a pizzicato line, but I always end up putting it on the beats 2 or 4. How to develop a better feeling, to be able to place...

Finding Your Musical Path and Overcoming Musical Ruts
Ask Damian Erskine

Finding Your Musical Path and Overcoming Musical Ruts

Q: I’m a sophomore in high school, and I’m the lead bass player in the jazz band. I feel I hit a brick wall, and I don’t really know what else to practice. I can play almost all of the music that’s given to me, and the pieces I don’t get right away I usually learn within the next few...

Speed Upp: A Look at the Programmable Metronome App for Windows and Mac
Apps

Speed Upp: A Look at the Programmable Metronome App for Windows and Mac

In this review, I’m changing up a bit from the typical mobile apps to take a look at one designed for Windows and Mac. Speed Upp is a simple metronome concept, but one that is wonderfully implemented. The app is designed for developing precision and speed, by guiding you during scale exercises and changing tempo as you go. The app’s...

Starting Your Day with Open Strings: A Warmup Routine for Bassists
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Starting Your Day with Open Strings: A Warmup Routine for Bassists

Many people simply pick up their instrument and start playing without any warm-up. While there is value to this approach, I generally advise a gradual warm-up for students. Although slow scales can often serve as a warmup, even a slow scale can be quite complex technically. After all, it involves tone production, shifting, light left hands, lifting and dropping fingers,...