Review: Notation Trainer Android App

Notation-trainer-splash

Concept and Features

Notation Trainer is an incredible Android app created to help musicians improve their sight-reading skills.  Designed by London-based music tutor Stuart Bahn, Notation Trainer generates original sight-reading exercises to musicians’ exact requirements.   read more

NorCal Jazz Presents the JazzDeck ™

JazzDeckTM

After reading Brian Fox’s glowing editorial about the JazzDeck in the May issue of Bass Player Magazine, I decided to order a set and check it out for myself.  Visually, the JazzDeck is a thing of beauty.  The cards are well laid out and easy to read and include a couple of instructional cards to hep you get up to speed quickly.  Music theory is an area I am constantly trying to improve in, so for me the JazzDeck seems like the perfect tool to help me start incorporating theory concepts into my playing.  Once I’ve spent some quality time with the deck I will post a full review, but for now here is the official press release: read more

Review: Essential Music Theory for Electric Bass

It’s funny how sometimes you can hang on to something for a long time but never actually get around to using it until years later.  Such is the case for me with Robby Garner’s book “Essential Music Theory for Electric Bass“. Honestly, I bought this book back in the mid-nineties, before the World Wide Web was the phenomena it is today.  If I recall correctly I ordered it through a mail-order ad I found in the back of Bass Player Magazine.  At the time my knowledge of Music Theory was primitive at best. I had taken a couple of music classes at Community College, but never really understood the whole mechanics of it.  When I received the book I set to work on it, completed the first chapter, and as I did with most instructional books of this type back then, put it on a shelf, not looking at it again in earnest until very recently.  Back then I had no real comprehension of theory at all.  I was playing in a punk band and had hoped the book would make me a better player.  Unfortunately for me, I had at that point received no formal training on how to play the bass and was pretty much winging it.  As such, I just did not possess the discipline needed to sit down and work through these types of books.  The thing about me though is, I know when I find a good thing, and I hang on to it.  Fast forward 15+ years, and I still have a very usable book that I am just now truly utilizing. read more

Where the Twain Shall Meet: Returning to Teach Me Bass Guitar

Funny thing happened to me while studying music theory, after a certain point things stopped making sense to me. I was fine with Intervals, Triads, Seventh Chords, and have even improved my music reading ability, but when I started studying modes I began to feel lost. After reviewing modes a few times, and still not really getting it, I decided to crack open my Teach Me Bass Guitar book to remind myself what Lesson 13 had in store for me. You may recall that upon completion of Lesson 12 I had decided to take a break from TMBG to go back and shore up my music theory knowledge via the International Institute of Bassists Music Theory course as well as a couple of other books that I have picked up along the way. Well, low and behold, what you know, Lesson 13 of TMBG is all about the Diatonic Modes! read more

New Practice Routine for 2012

In an attempt to get myself to hunker down and get a handle on music theory, and to break myself from some bad habits that I have developed, I decided to revamp my practice routine.  As you see my primary focus will be on learning and practicing the foundations, while continuing to work on Teach Me Bass Guitar.  As always, this will be a work in progress, allowing me to tweak things as needed.  I’ve already gone through this routine a couple of times now and am realizing that I know more than I gave myself credit for.  My hope is that this more rounded routine will keep me on track and allow me to advance in TMBG while continuing to work on the basics. read more

Weekly Ramble 11/11/11

12 Major Scales

Looking at today’s date I feel like I should be writing about Lesson 11 of Teach Me Bass Guitar instead of Lesson 12.  I am glad to say, however, that I have spent the last week working on Lesson 12, working through the video as much as I could as well as reviewing the material in the book.  I did run into a little difficulty with the material but cannot say for sure if it is an error in the book or if I somehow missed something.  I have posted a question for Roy on the Thunder Row forum and plan to review the video again more thoroughly. read more