Shoutout to all the non-native English speakers out there (or anybody learning in a different language),
I’m very interested in language matters and would love to hear what it’s like for you to learn playing bass in a different language than your mother tongue.
I speak a lot of English with friends, at work, etc. and when I started searching for courses and videos on how to learn bass, I searched in English without giving it much thought. (Also, had started on Fender Play, so that set me on the English path.) There is also so much more out there.
I didn’t really know much of the music-related vocabulary before I picked up my bass, so I directly learned most of it in English, sometimes later checking the German translation. I realise that I sometimes have trouble finding the right German word when communicating with other Germans.
I wonder if the internal translation process slows you down sometimes or if you just got fluent in both languages. Or if English is sufficient.
Some curious observations I’ve recently made:
So we all know the musical alphabet: ABCDEFG
In German, however, it is: AHCDEFG
I’m happy to learn in English, for obvious reasons (logic), never had trouble with this, but when Josh taught the C-major scale I automatically went into German pronunciation mode, going: CDEFGAHC, because that’s how I had learned it in school ages ago.
I watched a German bass tutorial and the teacher said something like: “Wir greifen im fünften Bund.” (literally: We grip in the fifth fret.) And although the words are easy in themselves, I was completely thrown by the “in” and had to make a conscious effort to understand where she wants me to fret. I’m just so used to a simple “fret the fifth fret”.
Also, I’m not sure if I’d ever want to use the German names for sharps and flats. (such as: ges - as - b / fis - gis - ais).
I’m considering signing up for a German bass course after B2B or buying a German music theory book, but not sure if it adds more complication or if it might make things actually easier, or if it’s even a necessity.
What are your experiences with this? Any curious/funny/frustrating language-related stories and observations to share?