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  • Subdivision Exercises

    Subdivision Exercises

    For this week’s column, a reader asked about practicing rhythms. Instead of writing out a response, I decided to make this video to show you how I practice subdivision exercises. »

  • How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety

    How Do You Deal With Performance Anxiety

    Q: Do you ever get scared? How do you deal with performance anxiety? A: I’ve written a fair amount about various types of musical situations I’ve found myself in, related anxiety, and how I’ve navigated it but this may be the first time I’ve written purely on fear. I’ve mentioned in the past that I... »

  • Do You Always Hear What You Play Before You Play It?

    Do You Always Hear What You Play Before You Play It?

    Q: Do you always hear what you play before you play it? I know a lot of players sing what they play, do some of them actually hear the melodies first? Or are they singing along in real time and following themselves? A: Interesting question. Everyone will have varying levels of relative/perfect pitch, as well... »

  • How Do I Start Practicing Jazz?

    How Do I Start Practicing Jazz?

    Q: I’ve heard some jazz (usually newer stuff) that I like and I’m thinking that I should work on it. You and others also mention that it’s a good thing to practice in general, too. But it’s so confusing and most things I find online (and your columns) are usually too advanced for me. How... »

  • How Do I Become a Good Session Musician?

    How Do I Become a Good Session Musician?

    Q: Do You have any advice for those bassists aspiring to become session musicians? Not so much how to get exposure but how to handle yourself, gear, getting lines on the first take, being solid, etc… A: I’ve always found the studio to be very satisfying. I’m one of those players who wouldn’t mind being... »

  • Best of Ask Damian Erskine: 2018 (So Far)

    Best of Ask Damian Erskine: 2018 (So Far)

    Editors Note: Damian has been traveling extensively lately, performing and educating all over the place. So for this week’s column, we’re giving him a much-needed break. Damian’s columns are read by thousands of people every week, so we thought we’d do a recap of the most popular ones he’s published so far in 2018. Enjoy.... »

  • Is It Okay to Multitask While Practicing?

    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... »

  • Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios

    Practicing Scales vs. Arpeggios

    Q: Should I spend my time in the shed practicing scales or arpeggios? Why one over the other? A: Ultimately, you want to be familiar with everything relating to the music you want to play and your instrument, but it’s good to prioritize. When trying to prioritize in the shed, it’s important to understand why... »

  • Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    Shaping A Jam Session From The Bass

    Q: I go to a few jam sessions in my city, which have given me great times and contacts. For the most part, I’ve been able to get over most of the pre-jam jitters and adopt more of a “whatever happens, happens” approach to sessions. But I have encountered one stumbling block related to bassist... »

  • How To Play Hemiola Rhythms

    How To Play Hemiola Rhythms

    Q: I’ve been playing around with hemiola rhythms and, no matter how much I try to “feel” them. I can’t. Help? A: I assume that you’re talking about rhythmic figures that repeat in a cycle and cross the barline (no obvious downbeats until the cycle has repeated enough times to bring it back to starting... »