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Practicing Archives

Making Bass Exercises More Musical (and Fun)
Ask Damian Erskine

Making Bass Exercises More Musical (and Fun)

In this video, I’ll be talking a bit about how I try and apply exercises in a more open and musical context (aka, have more fun with them). There are a few minutes of talking and then a lot of playing around with the ideas we’ve been covering for the past few weeks. I hope you all get something from...

Is It Okay to Multitask While Practicing?
Ask Damian Erskine

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 feels like, as long as...

Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities
Ask Damian Erskine

Staying Motivated Without Playing Opportunities

Q: I read your column for years, but I don’t know if you have answered this already: I have been playing bass for many years and, due to circumstances beyond my control, I cannot find people in my hometown to play (long story, small Greek city). I am taking some jazz theory lessons (via Skype), but I am stuck in...

Incorporating What We Practice
Ask Damian Erskine

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 abstract life concepts into our...

Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed
Ask Damian Erskine

Dealing with Feeling Overwhelmed

Q: How do you deal with feeling overwhelmed with everything you want to/feel you should be working on? A: I’ve written a column in the past relating to how to maximize your work flow and time management. I thought that I’d take a bit of a different approach this time, although I would encourage you to read that column as...

New Year’s Resolutions for Bass: 5 Ingredients to Get You Results
Talking Technique

New Year’s Resolutions for Bass: 5 Ingredients to Get You Results

I ran a survey a few weeks back asking bass players what they struggled with the most. With an overwhelming majority, the response had to do with practicing. Specifically, how to: Practice effectively so as to see improvement. Not be distracted. Know what to work on next or where to even start. Some people formulated it perfectly, asking for very...

How To Structure Limited Practice Time
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Structure Limited Practice Time

Q: I work a “real job” – as in four 10-hour days a week. I get up at 3:15 am Tuesday through Friday, commute to work, put in my 10 hour day, plus a half-hour for lunch, and by the time I get home from my afternoon commute, it can be as late as 6 pm. I’m usually pretty tired,...

Staying Creative While Practicing
Ask Damian Erskine

Staying Creative While Practicing

Q: So I reach a point now and again where I feel like I’m not practicing musically or in a creative way. Instead, I seem to be practicing things that are useful (technique, location of notes on the fretboard, arpeggios, inversions, and scales) but the way I’m going about it feels rote and not much fun. I don’t want to...

The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig
The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment: Rehearsal — Treat It Like A Gig

Your phone lights up with a text message about a gig next Saturday night… score! You’re available, the money is decent, and your drummer friend recommended you. It’s an overall win! You accept the gig and receive a follow up text: “Let’s rehearse Tuesday night.” Thankfully, you’re free, but you realize that you only have 48 hours to learn all...

Talking Technique: Why Practice Technique?
Talking Technique

Talking Technique: Why Practice Technique?

As musicians, wouldn’t it make sense to focus exclusively on musical applications and learn by practicing mainly songs? Why isolate technique drills and put so much focus on the mechanics, seemingly devoid of any musical context? Why waste an opportunity to build ears and creative skills at the same time and instead reduce practice to apparently mindless, non-creative and non-musical...