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Self Improvement Archives - Page 2

Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt
Ask Damian Erskine

Bass in the Spotlight and Overcoming Self-Doubt

Q: A couple of months ago, I quit my band and because of the state of the guitarists in my area, I decided to start go small, with bass, drums and vocals. Now that some time has passed, I feel that everything is falling apart, which is depressing. Do you think it is a good idea to put the bass...

Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players
Ask Damian Erskine

Self Expression: Thoughts and Discussion for Bass Players

Q: Most pros say that playing with other musicians is one of the most important things a bassist can do. After practicing alone for a few years, I’ve returned to the band setting. I love gigging and I love band practice, but I find myself playing very conservatively. In no way am I trying to get crazy and show off...

Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Thoughts on Improving Your Technique on Bass

There are voluminous technical exercises designed to make us better instrumentalists. Nearly all have benefit when executed properly. Unfortunately, many people focus solely on the musical result expected (e.g. How fast can I play that trill today?) when doing technical work. However, the best results are gained when we balance our focus between the musical result and our physical actions...

Developing Your Musical Ear
Ask Damian Erskine

Developing Your Musical Ear

Q: My problem is that I dont have “ears” for music. I’ve always tried and failed, and this is frustrating me. I only play what is written, or what somebody played. I want to play my own bass lines for any song of my choice. I’ve learned scales, modes, appregios… I’m not sure what to try next. A: I know...

How To Groove at Jam Sessions
Ask Damian Erskine

How To Groove at Jam Sessions

Q: During jam sessions, I normally have a “hit and stick” approach to coming up with grooves. Essentially, there’s a lull between grooves where I end up peddling notes or playing the one. My keyboard player pointed this out and it bothers me. Is this something that I should be worried about? How do I lead a groove during these...

Pace Yourself: Thoughts on the Process of Practicing and Learning
I Wish I Knew That

Pace Yourself: Thoughts on the Process of Practicing and Learning

Whether you’re embarking on a long distance run, sitting down to a delicious plate of food, or facing a mountain of material to learn, keep one thing in mind: pace yourself. Establishing a good pace for learning material or practicing a new technique is extremely important, especially when you’re looking at a deadline. It’s easy to let time slip away...

The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely
Ask Damian Erskine

The Bass Solo: A Guide to Soloing More Freely

Q: I am at a stage with playing jazz where I feel confident playing bass lines, such as walking through challenging pieces. Given time to learn the chord sequence, I am pretty confident at playing solos over the top of backing tracks and grooves. My problem is that when playing with a jazz band – when everyone cuts out for...

Capturing Your Ideas: Transform Your Musical Inspiration into Reality
I Wish I Knew That

Capturing Your Ideas: Transform Your Musical Inspiration into Reality

If you’re a fan of the Rolling Stones, you’re probably familiar with the story of Keith Richards coming up with the lick to “Satisfaction.” If not, here’s the story: the classic guitar riff came to him in the middle of the night, and luckily, he had a cassette player by his bed and was quickly able to record the idea....

Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players
The Lowdown with Dr. D

Improving your Technique: Habits and Awareness for Bass Players

Most bassists are looking to improve some aspect of their technique. Certainly if there is something in our technique that is creating a problem, physical or musical, then we need to make a change. Sometimes this is a major change, other times this is simply a refinement. Oftentimes, it is the acquisition of technique that motivates a young student to...

Refresh Yourself: Some Thoughts on Musical Growth
I Wish I Knew That

Refresh Yourself: Some Thoughts on Musical Growth

As we grow and develop as bassists, we tend to go through different stages of learning. Sometimes we feel inspired and creative, other times we feel as if we’ve plateaued or burnt out. During the good times, it’s easy to find new concepts to work on, specific ideas to write about, or ways to make headway during practice sessions. During...