Thursday, September 22, 2011

Developing a practice regimen: it's hard

(More or less copied from a post I made on

So, one thing I've always struggled with is putting together a practice regimen. Even when I get a good two hour practice schedule in, I dont know how to maximize that time. I'm trying to focus in on basic theory, strong rhythm in the pocket, and good tone.

While I'm able to find advice or even lessons on particular topics, what I'm really looking for is something more specific. "On Tuesday, spend 15 minutes doing these warm ups at 80, 100, 120, and 140 bpm. Then do these exercises for twenty minutes for scale practice..." ...and so on, with a changing schedule to maximize learning and muscle development.

How many times do you run through each scale? Do you work from positions? Do you say the note names aloud as you play them?

I think I'm dense or something, but I really do better with specifics. I'm highly coachable, but I've never been able to spontaneously practice stuff. I need to give myself a structure, and once I have it, I'm able to push myself to success. Without it though, I just kind of flail around.

Am I crazy in thinking that there should be a system of lessons that novice bass players should be able to use to quickly develop basic skills and musical theory knowledge? I've been really disappointed in what I've found so far.

(I should note that while it isn't exactly what I'm looking for, I've been learning a lot from I've been able to take what I'm learning there and using that to try to structure my practice. Scott Devine's lessons are great for understanding the conceptual stuff behind practice. If you're on the hunt for video lessons, give his a try. There are lots of people making great stuff these days, but his are my favorite.)

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