Well… I just finished the course after starting a year ago. Probably worth explaining the completion time first. This is not a fault of the course. It’s just how it is. I have a hectic job, six kids at home, and I struggle at times with motivation. i.e. A lot of times after a long day, I just want to vegetate and play computer games. Lockdown has just made home life even more crazy (hence my absence from the forums lately), which hasn’t helped either.
One very important thing though is that this is the only online course I have ever completed. And I have started a LOT of online courses on various topics over the years. I usually just lose interest or get distracted by some other shiny thing. I am just a type of person that struggles to see things through to completion, which drives those around me bonkers. The fact that I actually completed the course really is a massive endorsement in itself. I’m very proud of myself for actually finishing something.
Some relevant history about me is that I originally learned some piano when I was a kid. Over the years I’ve dabbled in violin, bassoon, flute, bass, and guitar. But as mentioned above, I never really stuck to any. In fact, I played bass for a couple years 20 years ago then gave it up for other endeavours. It’s only because a family friend heard I played bass a long time ago and asked me to jam with a group they were making about a year ago (hence me starting the course), that I got back into it. I was jamming with them every couple of weeks (until lockdown), which was reinforcing my learning and motivating me to keep learning. I will be playing regularly with them again once lockdown is eased. I know a bit of basic music theory and note reading, but not really that much.
Josh Josh Josh. He is such an amazing teacher. It is hard to pinpoint why this is, but his style is the closest thing I’ve experienced to actually being in a room with a teacher. His enthusiasm is infectious. His sense of humor is great and I pick up on the little things like what shirts he wears for different lessons. Can’t praise him enough as a teacher.
The course layout and production are great. I like that there is some theory and then some follow along practice to reinforce the theory. It’s a solid combination. If you learn something but don’t utilize it, you will simply forget it.
I got a lot out of reading the comments from other students under the video of each lesson. Many times they had the same questions that were in my head and that gave me a feeling that I wasn’t alone. Also, Josh is great at answering these questions and answered any questions I posted there within 24 hours.
The forum is also great for combining with the course. It is such a great bunch of helpful and friendly people. Most musician forums I’ve visited have a sense of elitism, but there is none of that here. And of course, Josh pops around the forums as well, which is always great to see.
Instead of recording tracks in videos to play along to, I think it would be cool to have videos of other musicians to play along to. e.g. Instead of a drum + guitar audio track, to actually see the drummer and guitarist playing with you. I think this would add a layer of it being a jam instead of just a practice session.
While the tracking on the tab playthroughs (the bar that moves across the tab) is fine overall, sometimes it is off slightly from Josh’s playing. This can be annoying at times, but is not a big deal.
Some of the Course Extras is a bit clunky. As an online course, I’d like to be able to play backing tracks and such online as well. It’s great to be able to download them, but having the option to play them online would be wonderful as well (with loop and playback speed, even better).
In the early lessons, I felt like there could be more information about left hand placement. Not as in on the frets, but angles of fingers, where to put your thumb on the neck, etc. I’ve been told by a professional bassist that my fingers are too angled close to the nut, but I’m just doing what is comfortable to me. Would have been great to hear Josh discuss this as it bugs me.
It would be nice if you could have it on full screen and go to the next lesson automatically or by pressing a button instead of having to take the lesson off full screen, hit Next, then put it back on full screen.
My Next Steps
I’m going to continue to jam with my “band” when we can. I’ve also got Ariane Cap’s theory book that I’m going to work through. I’m also going to do some sheet music reading apps/websites more. Then I plan on re-doing the course from Module 5 or so and ONLY looking at the sheet music instead of relying on the tab.
It’s been an amazing and hugely valuable experience going through the course. I can’t recommend it enough to any aspiring bassist or those that just want to refine their techniques a bit more. I’ll continue to be part of the community as I think it’s the best one around for bassists.