”Practicing is the absorption, mastery and maintenance of skills, dexterity, sharpness, co-ordination and focus.”
One of the most valuable skills you can develop as a musician is practicing. All the great bass players I know spend many hours over many years in the practice room. Whenever they get a chance they practice.
Practicing is the absorption, mastery and maintenance of skills, dexterity, sharpness, co-ordination and focus.
If you work on things you already do all the time it might not take you too far; not if you want to become a serious bass player. Practicing new things gives you new ideas, but one should also try to play something at the level that you will need to play it at, before moving on.
On the other hand we are all different and some things come easier to certain people.
Mastery means absorbing a new skill so well you have access to it whenever you need it. Mastery means being able to execute at will. If you have mastered something, it will feel effortless.
It is very easy to lose your “chops” on skills like reading, fingerings, basslines, and the like if you don’t use them.
You’ve got to practice. It’s the only way to get better. Anyone can do it if they want it badly enough. (You need some talent as well.)
Practicing will be one of the most rewarding things you will do for yourself. The skills you develop are yours through hard work. They can’t be bought. They can’t be taken away from you.
How good of a bass player do you want to be? It depends on how much time you can put into it and focusing on the right things to study. Once you know what you want to achieve, ask yourself if it is a reasonable goal. Will you have enough time to achieve your aim? If you’re going to school or have two jobs and a child, you’re going to have a hard time fitting in the necessary practice to become the best bassist in the world. Raise or lower your expectations based on your situation. This may not sound motivating but, if your expectations are too high and you don’t achieve them, you may be severely disappointed and quit all together. Be reasonable and do what you can. Push yourself, but don’t make your goals impossible and don’t set yourself up for defeat.
Once you have an idea of how good you want to be, you must develop a practice routine that will get you there. Your actions must match your desires. I see a lot of students who say they want to achieve great heights, but then don’t perform the actions that will get them there.
Learn to balance your other commitments and activities with your practice time. If you’re serious about learning to play, you’re going to have to sacrifice more than if you just want to play a little for fun. This can be hard to do. Ask yourself with every activity in which you engage, “Is this more important or more rewarding than becoming a good bassist?” Sometimes it is, and many times it isn’t.
Once you have your set time and people know not to bother you, you must learn to stick to your practice routine. It may take several weeks to get into the habit of consistently practicing. The beginning is always the most difficult. Most importantly, if you slip, don’t give up on your routine. Failing is part of the whole learning process. Just as you are learning to play bass, you are learning how to practice bass.
A common pattern of failure is setting up your practice routine and you miss a day or two and feel like you can’t pull it off. Then you give up completely and don’t practice at all. What you need to do instead is determine what caused you to fail at your practice routine — just as when you run into problems playing a bassline or exercise on your bass. Maybe you set yourself up to fail. Maybe you picked a time where you didn’t expect a lot of conflicts, but there were some. How can you avoid them? What other time could you choose? Is it you causing the problems? Or is it others bothering you? Maybe you expect to practice more than is really possible right now. Figure it all out and adjust accordingly.
Lastly, there’s nothing wrong with easing into your routine. Once you successfully get the every day part going, increase the amount of time you practice each day. Do that until you get to your goal amount of practice time.
You need to come up with a well-conceived practice plan and stick to it. You can be a great bass player if you do this and focus your practice time on the right things.
Remember that practicing never killed anyone.
Till next time, LET THERE BE BASS!!!
Written By : Alistair Andrews