I’m not much of a competitive person, but I don’t like to feel defeated. If you’ve been following along you may recall that Lesson 9 of Teach Me Bass Guitar left me feeling a little bruised and battered. I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t get the feel for playing slap style and eventually gave up and moved on. I’ve always regretted that and now feel that it has, in some ways, held me back.
These days bass players have such a wide array of teaching tools it is simply amazing. When I started playing you either got a book or took lessons from a more experienced player, and those were pretty much your only two options. Now we have books, videos, private lessons, Skype lessons, YouTube videos, Apps, and an increasing amount of Online Lesson sites. Falling into this new category, Juno Award winning bassist, Chris Tarry, has recently launched ChrisTarryLessons.com.
Another great day of classes at Roy Vogt’s Fantasy Bass Boot Camp. Today my group spent the day with the man himself, Roy Vogt, working more with scales and modes. We talked about different ways to work through them to keep them interesting and how to utilize the Circle of Fourths. Next we worked on using modes to play improvised solos over chords. This was particularly useful to me as the song Roy chose to use as a demonstration is the one I plan to perform at The Rutledge on Thursday. Combined with what Adam taught us yesterday I am definitely feeling that I can pull off the solo I have been stressing over.
Today was our first official day of classes for Roy Vogt’s Fantasy Bass Boot Camp. Classes run from 9am to 5pm each day, with 3 classes running simultaneously. This morning we were divided into three groups, which I believe were based on where we are currently at in our progression with the Teach Me Bass Guitar course. I ended up with 4 other campers in a theory class with Adam Nitti all day. Adam reviewed the Major Scale with us then reviewed Modes and how they relate to the Major Scale. We spent the rest of the day exploring modes and how they can be used. For me this was perfect timing as I have been working on modes as part of Lesson 13 of TMBG. Going in I had a basic understanding of what the Modes are, but that was about it. Adam did a great job of explaining how we should be practicing them and how we can use them when playing, especially when improvising. Adam is a great teacher and our small class size afforded each of us a good amount of individual attention. I definitely have a greater understanding of Modes now and how I can use them, plus feel much more confident in my ability to play a short solo at The Rutledge on Thursday evening. This is just the first day of classes and I already feel like I have learned so much! I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.
Roy Vogt’s Fantasy Bass Boot Camp is just two days away which has me transitioning from the practicing stage to the packing stage. I am feeling fairly confident in my playing ability on the two songs I chose to learn, though my soloing efforts have not improved as much as I would have liked. At this point I’ve decided not to worry about it too much and just enjoy the ride. As I said before I’m not going to spend my days at Bass Camp stressing over whether or not I can pull off a solo, it’s just not that big of a deal.
I have a confession to make, sometimes I wonder why I continue to play. I think I may be technically challenged. I feel like no matter how much I study or practice, all I am really doing is maintaining my current level. I study theory for a month then move on and forget 95% of what I learned, I work on scales and triad for a while then move on and forget 95% of what I learned. I don’t know why but I seem to have very low retention for musical studies. I feel like for every step forward I take 6 steps back, which frustrates me to no end. Working my way through Teach Me Bass Guitar has certainly improved my playing immensely, but still I feel like my retention is low.
When practicing or playing for long periods of time we must not forget the importance of taking breaks. This is especially true if you have the luxury of practicing for many hours during the day. If you find you are practicing for long hours you should strive to take a break every 45 minutes to an hour. This gives your body and mind a moment to relax, preventing fatigue and allowing you to better focus when returning to the task at hand.
Lately I have come to realize that I have trouble practicing effectively. I have every good intention to practice, but tend to procrastinate before doing so, looking for any excuse to delay my start. Of course this is a terrible thing to do as it cuts into my already limited practice time. Part of the problem is that I don’t really have a regular practice routine. I think about things I need to work on, and may start on them but typically end up playing along to songs I already know. While some of this is justified as “homework” for band practice, mostly it is just the easy way to fool myself into feeling like I had a good practice session.
I have often heard that the key to achieving your goals is focus. It’s a simple concept really, but one that I can’t say that I have put much stock in, until recently that is. Lately I have found when I start to do something creative I am easily distracted. Sometimes I feel like I am almost looking for things to sidetrack me. I may have every intention to play my bass, but I keep inventing road blocks to keep me from it. Mundane things, like it’s too cold, or hot, or I don’t have enough time to devote to it today so why bother. It’s always something. I know I am just procrastinating, but I am not sure why. Fortunately I am starting to recognize when I am doing this, which to me is the first step in breaking this bad habit.