Practice Time

Lot of regulars here, you know my story, started in Feb, going through Josh’s program, just started with private teacher (2 lessons) and learning a lot here. When I practice there are a number of things I try to cover. With the private lesson now, there is also what I am expected to know there. Sometimes (a lot) when I practice, I’ll just put on a drumbeat and go off. I’ll string a few good measures together, then i’ll mishit some notes (or maybe I’m playing jazz :rofl:), then I’ll find another little groove, but in the end, not sure I learned. But sometimes I’m torn between I should have been doing the things I need to know for my lesson, or my song or learn the fretboard better and maybe this is just as useful as i’m learning how to fit in the groove and improvise a little. And if both things are good for you how to draw a line between how much “learning” vs. jamming should be done. Deep down I think I start jamming to avoid practicing the song that’s driving me nuts at the moment.

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Well spoken . . . :grin:

Cheers, Joe

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Something I’ve heard recommended a lot in terms of how to break up your practice time is:

1/3rd: Technique Practicing (Josh videos, scale runs, music theory, etc.)
1/3rd: Cover Practicing (learning someone else’s song)
1/3rd: Improvisation (messing around or writing your own song)

I probably do this myself, but I don’t do it EVERY practice. I might to Improvisation more one practice or less another practice for example. On average though, it is probably similar to this. I do try to do the 1/3rd technique every practice though as that is the most essential one to be doing to improve, in my opinion.

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Interesting @JT as I do definitely have those three phases to my practice. I’m only a little over a month in so at first it was 100% technique. Then I started working some songs, so practice became 50/50. Just recently I put on a rock drum beat and found that I could improvise to it (some sections sound good, some are pure throwaway). But it does seem that now that I started this, I can get lost in this area and neglect the others. I like the 1/3 each as a good goal.

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If you are a month in, and already able to improv anything sounding good, that is incredible! Stepping away from a tough lesson to just have fun with your bass and clear your mind is vital to the learning process. Don’t be too hard on yourself, having fun is the only point. Improving just allows you to continue have more fun later.

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There’s a lot of garbage there. I failed at piano playing as a kid but I’ve always been able to pick up instruments and noodle. And since I’ve gotten pretty far in this program Josh gives some good ideas on improv I’ve incorporated

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Very well stated @BassFaceDisgrace! Very well stated!

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I don’t have a routine, but I normally spend most of my practice time in a couple of areas…

*Technique: Practicing scales (Major, minor, pentatonic, modes). This is included in my warm-up routine.
*Romancing my fret board: Exercising the Cycle of 4ths on all 5 strings of my bass. I call out the notes as I play them, which keeps me sharp on locating any note I want.
*Style: I practice playing arpeggios in all (4) triads as well as the various 7th chords without looking down. I mix some walking bass lines in with this.
*Jamming: I’ve got a handful of covers that I’ve been working on. One of these days I’ll be able to play a song completely and I’ll be able to post it here.
*Education: I never stop reading and watching videos on various topics related to bass playing.

I don’t have a breakdown of how much time I spend on each of those areas, as I normally just do whatever I happen to be in the mood for that day. My practice sessions range from an hour a day to several hours in a day. I take a lot of breaks within those hours, so a one hour practice session could take me a couple of hours.

I hope this helps!

P.S. After I posted this, I realized that many are not at a stage where they can play arpeggios etc. However, I do stress the importance of learning and practicing the patterns to play Major and minor scales, and to get intimate with your fret board. That should be the daily practice in the beginning.

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Interesting topic! One thing that is part of my practice/writing process that I don’t see listed here: once I string a few notes together that I like (playing along to a drum track), I stop and write out the tab, and also write down the drum track name and bpm. Otherwise that cool riff will disappear from my brain in a few days when I try to recreate the “magic.”

I think some people will record some of their practice, so those little improv moments can be remembered later. But at this point my creations are so simple, it’s just easier to jot down the tab.

Then when I try to revisit it a few days later- once I play the same drum track, the tempo and pattern comes back to me until I eventually memorize and hopefully it morphs into a fleshed out song.

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Pam, can you explain this? I am not familiar.

I assume you mean triads in major, minor, pentatonic major, and pentatonic minor. With the 7th chords, isn’t that just a chord with the 1, 3, 5, and 7th note. Are you playing the four notes instead of the triad or am I just completely missing what you’re doing?

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check this lesson, it is one of the most usefull things (this came from my mouth, when pasting i saw that the lesson is called the same :upside_down_face: ) i done, to get a good grip on the fret board, time spend on this will really pay of, not sure if i choose the correct word, but it will increase your fretboard agilty and knowledge a lot

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@eric.kiser I was going to try to explain the Cycle of 4ths to you, but decided to let Mark Smith do it instead, since he is a much better teacher than me (and it was he who taught it to me). Of all the things I have learned from Josh and Mark, this is the most beneficial for learning your fret board like the back of your hand. I hope Josh doesn’t mind.

There are 4 triads, each stacked thirds upon which the 7th chords are built. They are: Major, minor, Augmented, and Diminished.

The 7th chords are just another third stacked atop a triad, IE: Major 7, Dominant 7, Minor 7, Minor 7 flat 5, etc.
A CMaj7 would be: C,E,G,B. A C7 (dominant) would be: C,E,G,Bb. A Cm7 would be: C,Eb,G,Bb. A Cm7b5 (Minor 7 flat 5) would be: C,Eb,Gb,Bb. There are about 8 different 7th chords, but those are the most common. These are the things I work on in my practices that I mentioned. Sorry for the confusion.

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That “Cycle of Fourths” will give me some ideas for practice :slight_smile:

Cheers, Joe

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Ariane Cap is a killer player, and a pretty good teacher, even if (like a lot of others) she tends to get a little too technical sometimes. Anyways here’s my fav circle of fifths/learn your notes practice tool, it’s pretty fun (the song is at the end of the video) . I do believe you can slow down the video to your preferred speed in YouTube.

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Nomenclature in music is funny. She calls a 4th a descending 5th. I only think in one direction and Josh has challenged that. He says down when he means lower tone not string closer to the floor. He will also reference C to G as a 4th (because he’s descending). Again if you give me two notes, I only think in one direction and the note you give me first is lower. So G-C is a 4th, C-G is a 5th. I guess I’ll need to break that shackle in my thinking.

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Josh talks about this a bit in the course when he teaches root-fifth-octave. One way to play the fifth is to just fret the same fret one string lower in pitch :slight_smile:

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Ditto what @howard said. If you go down a string on the same fret, it’s a fifth but in a lower octave. If you go up a fret on the same string, it’s a fourth in the same octave.
The geometry of the fret board is fascinating. Once you understand, it becomes so much easier to play whatever you wish from any root note.

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Just stumbled across an interesting video about the physiology of practicing and some tips on maximizing. I find this stuff interesting. Just 5 min.

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Very interesting, @JT

Thanks for your post . . . :slight_smile:

Cheers, Joe