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  • Focus and Time

    Focus and Time

    Q: I’ve been playing bass for five years, and I see that bass players that have been playing for three years who are way better than me! I focus on my modes, then on chord structure and then I focus on arpeggios… and it becomes hard for me to get technique down. What do you... »

  • Classical Pieces for Beginner to Intermediate Level Bassists

    Classical Pieces for Beginner to Intermediate Level Bassists

    This week, Dr. D. tackles a reader’s question about incorporating classical music into his practice routine. Q: I have recently started the switch to upright bass, I have been practicing technique and working my scales (pissing off my roommates) but I want to bring a third portion to my practice and incorporate some beginner classical... »

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  • Ready, Set… What To Play?

    Ready, Set… What To Play?

    Q: When I’m in jam situations and someone asks me to “kick it off” or start something, I just freeze and draw a blank. How do you know what to play? A: This is something we’ve all dealt with at some point. The problem is all in our minds. Our analytical and critical minds see... »

  • Doing the Best You Can

    Doing the Best You Can

    Q: I tend to get very nervous before any live performance. How do you deal with performance anxiety? A: Everyone, at some point in their development, gets nervous before a gig or feels inadequate to the task at hand. It’s natural. The best thing you can do is over prepare! Still, the nerves are there.... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Music as a Language

    Ask Damian Erskine: Music as a Language

    Q: I often hear people speak of music as a language but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how to relate to that idea and make it useful. Any thoughts? A: You’re not alone. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’ve been in the same boat you’re in. I... »

  • Plucking Patterns: Right Hand Exercises for Bass

    Plucking Patterns: Right Hand Exercises for Bass

    Q: You covered playing chords on the bass and going beyond the roots. I use chords a lot when I compose/write and when I practice different things. I often find myself short when it comes to rhythms and different strumming patterns over the chords. Do you have some good ideas for strumming patterns? A: The... »

  • The Lowdown with Dr. D: Mastering a Difficult Passage with Repetition

    The Lowdown with Dr. D: Mastering a Difficult Passage with Repetition

    In the course of mastering a difficult passage, we will end up playing the passage many, many times. However, if we do so blindly, we just waste our time. In fact, such mindless repetition can be detrimental. Additionally, if our mind wanders, then it is unlikely that we are actually improving the passage, so again... »

  • Practice Routines

    Practice Routines

    Q: How would you describe a good practice session and how would you break it down? A: I think I’ve probably answered this in different ways in past columns, depending on the topic. In short, I’d tailor the practice time and routine based upon your own personal attention span and needs. I have the problem... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Uneven Playing?

    Q: Whenever I play, I tend to speed up, and my play is kind of choppy and uneven. Do you have any tips to help my playing become more consistent? A: I’ve probably touched on this in previous articles, but it’s worth repeating. The best way to work on any facet of your playing is... »

  • Ask Damian Erskine: Practicing on the Road

    Q: Do you practice while on the road? If so… how? A: Actually, I tend to be more inspired to practice while on the road because I tend to be very ‘high’ on music while traveling and doing what I love! I get very single-minded and focused when on the road and can’t seem to... »