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Ask Damian Erskine - Page 7

Ask Damian Erskine is a weekly column featuring reader questions and Damian’s advice on the topic. Have a question for Damian? Send it to [email protected].

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. 1. Is Rhythmic Tapping Okay...

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 feels like, as long as...

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 you are working on this...

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 conduct that I wanted to...

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 on the one). Literally speaking,...

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Writing Songs with The Bass

Writing Songs with The Bass

Q: I have a battle going on in my writing and wondered if you had words of wisdom for any that share this with me. I find that I can almost always be a “groove generator” and respond quickly to a drummer’s groove or drum loop – within a style, I am comfortable – with some sort of groove, riff...

Concentrating on the Gig

Concentrating on the Gig

Q: I have a question about… mindset, I guess. I feel like I make a lot of unnecessary mistakes during gigs. I mean that it’s not a technical deficiency, and it’s not that I don’t know what needs to happen but I just seem to goof it up. Kind of a lot. Any advice? A: This reminds me of a...

Getting Through A Bad Gig

Getting Through A Bad Gig

Q: What do you do on a bad night? Like, if the gig is not happening, what’s the best way to avoid toxicity and frustration and make the best of it? A: This question extends far beyond just musical situations. I recently heard an interesting podcast interview with a specialist who studies emotions and the brain, which served to confirm...

Getting More Bass Students

Getting More Bass Students

Q: Damian, here’s a question that might not apply to all, but it would definitely apply to many who are trying to make a little side money by teaching. I live in a rather small rural community surrounded by a number of moderate-sized towns. What, if any, suggestions would you have to make the prospect of learning bass guitar more...

Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

Should I Use A Compressor with My Bass?

Q: I wanted to ask about running a compressor, as everyone seems to suggest how beneficial it is for the instrument. I like how it tightens up the low end and brings up latent harmonic content in my otherwise quite dull sounding bass. However, I mainly play jazz and I realize that I might be missing out on the subtler...

Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

Taking Criticism in a Positive Light

Q: How can I learn to take musical remarks/criticism from a bandleader/conductor in a productive way? I can’t help it, but I always get a little offended and/or insecure. A: Remember this: If you weren’t good enough, you wouldn’t have the gig. While not every band leader may have the best delivery, in general, suggestions and statements of preference are...

Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

Learning Tunes: A Checklist for Bass Players

Q: I’ve started learning jazz bass about 7 years ago, coming from over 20 years of violin (classical) training. The first thing I did to move from classical music to jazz was to get all Aebersold play-a-longs, and every transcription I could get on Earth, and dig them. I now feel that this is holding me back quite a bit,...