Friday, February 4, 2011

Lesson #1 - Cast your memory back there, Lord

Last night I had my first lesson. I went in a little early, both because I was a little nervous and because the roads were icy. I ended up getting there about ten minutes before my lesson. I sat in the waiting area and had a nice conversation with a little girl there for a violin lesson who was surprised adults were there for lessons too. Everybody's got to start some time, kid.

The 30 minute lesson went by quickly; we started out going over where I was at and what I was interested in learning. I think I did a lousy job of communicating that, so I plan on going into my next lesson with a few things written down (bands I like, what I'm looking to learn, a few basslines I'd like to focus on). After some quick basics that were mostly review (except for a map of notes on the neck... I need to spend some time with that; I'm no good past the fifth fret), we jumped into some exercises to get started.

These exercises confirmed what I suspected: I need to focus on fundamentals if I want to be a better player. Simple right and left hand exercises, done repeatedly, would build muscle memory. Accuracy and tone now, speed later.

I was also shown a basic E minor blues pattern. I had learned the minor pentatonic box pattern on guitar years ago and still remembered that, but this pattern moved a bit more up and down the next and gave me access to two octaves. I think I need to work it into my practice a bit better (right now I'm just playing quarter notes at 120 beats per minute on the metronome), but I've got the pattern memorized. It hasn't quite sunk all the way into my fingers yet, but it's getting there.

To round things out, I was asked if I had a particular bassline I wanted to learn. Naturally, I blanked. I'm not sure how I wasn't prepared with at least a few answers to that, but I had nothing off the top of my head. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison was suggested, and it sounded good to me. The song is pretty simple, overall, but it's got a moving riff for the chorus and verse that actually exposes one of the things I'm having trouble with-- looping. I can't quite seem to smoothly loop the four bar line together more than a couple of times without screwing up the rhythm or losing myself in the turn-around.

So, practice this week consists of basic right and left hand exercises with the metronome, E minor blues scale runs in two octaves, and then Brown Eyed Girl. I'm hoping to get a longer practice session in on Saturday in order to start working on the pre-chorus and bass solo sections.

I suspect I'll want to take on an additional bass line project or two in the future, but for now I'm going to focus on this one until I can nail it. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was a recap of my first lesson.

No comments:

Post a Comment