What's most effective for you?

I came across a topic regarding practice on reddit and this comment stood out to me:

Read “the music lesson” by Victor Wooten. I wouldn’t spend any of that time “practicing” I would just play. I’d work on new stuff, I’d play through old stuff. I just dusted off a song that’s at least 15 years old.

The grain of salt- I’m also an experienced and semi-professional bass player. But, as Victor is known to say- do you practice having conversations? Do you practice speaking your native tongue? Nobody ever told you as a child-“you can’t talk to us because you haven’t practiced speaking enough.” It will never happen that way. You learn as you go, and just play!

Has anyone read the book mentioned?

How do you feel about the idea of getting your “practice” from learning songs primarily?

I’m sure it’s been discussed before but figured since the book was mentioned I’d link them together.

*UPDATE: I picked up this book and it’s fantastic. Highly recommend!


Mina is entirely self taught by playing songs.

It wouldn’t work for me.

This is one of those things that is entirely dependent on the individual.


Curious but what about that approach doesn’t work for you?

Not enough “why” or “how” using that method?

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I need some structure. If I did it listening to music I would be all over the place. Tonight, some Howlin Wolf. Tomorrow, Hendrix. I don’t listen to the same stuff everyday and so learning by having a little structure is good. I would be starting new songs every night left to my own devices.


Id rather play in many things I do and structure my lessons after to learn what I just played.

For example, Dan’s YouTube video when he breakdown songs. Since he worries so much about monetizing his video he doesn’t play the music but opt to just play the part in bite size pieces and he fills time by explaining what mode they are in and gives some example of the note options. Oddly the replay value on what you want to learn is awesome but if you just want to learn the song the. It’s pretty annoying. :joy:

If you practice your lessons you’d always be practicing your lessons/ exercises, if you put the practice in to playing while you’re practicing, you’d still practicing but before you know it you’d be playing the part, phrase, song(s)


I’m in the play as you go camp. So I’m just a tab player, don’t know a whole lot about music theory or music composition. Play what i feel like playing and have fun.
Then again, i got no desire to ever be a gigging player or be in a band. Fact is, I’ve never even played with anyone else.
All i know for sure is playing makes me happy, so i play a lot.


First of all, I think following the BassBuzz B2B course is essential to learn the basics.

But when you advance, your abilities grow and you will be able to play. So play!

In the end we took up bass not for the pleasure of doing B2B but to play songs.

So I started to play my favourite songs from Rockmith / Tabs and really have a lot of fun while learning/playing songs, getting stamina to play longer and a feeling for dynamics, rhythm and finger posiitions.



That’s the vast majority of what I do, since my goal is… to play songs :slight_smile:

If i want to improve an aspect of my playing, i find songs that require me to use those skills.


I think that learning from songs can give you enough “vocabulary” to play bass. It might however not be enough to get some subtleties in music, at least not for everybody.

We learn to speak by copying the words and phrases from our parents, siblings… However, we might miss out on some rules, not knowing that they exist. Is it important? I don’t think so even though it might help understand what you are doing, which is useful depending on how you personally apprehend learning.


Whoa Consolidated. Those guys were great live.

Saw them once with Front Line Assembly and Bill Leeb whipped me when I wasn’t looking :rofl:


:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:
Yeah, love consolidated!

Two classics:

And even better (because … Meat beat Manifesto):

I saw Front Line Assembly live once, but was a bit underwhelmed (too much pathos), but OK, that was during my Nitzer Ebb times - and for me they were the real deal!!!

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Ironically, Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber ended up being two of the most successful electroindustrial artists. There was of course their more famous work as Delerium (including with Sarah McClachlan, another artist that started out working a lot with electroindustrial, believe it or not :slight_smile: ), but also some real gems like Intermix.

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Intermix - I need to check! Delerium - I have every album they made, of course!


Intermix is quite like Frontline Assembly though. I have some Frontline Assembly , I danced to it, but Frontline Assembly , Vomito Negro etc. didn’t do it for me as much. I felt, they were like the “Take That” of industrial :slight_smile:

I prefer the cooperation of Alan Wilder (you know, from Depeche Mode when they were still good) and Douglas McCarthy (from Nitzer Ebb).

I’d say a bit of both - structured practice, but also playing stuff.

In the context of the English language, I sometimes hear people say things like somefing, or somethink instead of something. I’d never really giving it much thought until my son’s school offered a session to parents on the basics of English language to help your child. I learnt that vowel sounds come from the back of your throat and consonants come from your mouth and lips. The ‘th’ in something needs your tongue to come forward between your teeth.

In a musical context, learning and practicing how to bend to pitch and what that means for example, is likely to yield better results when playing bends in a song.

I also like to do improv and I find the more I learn about music theory, the easier it becomes to expand what I can come up with.


Intuitively this makes a lot of sense to me!

I’ve read the book.
Great book!

Like all of Victor’s teachings, it’s a feeling and a philosophy, and not so much a literal-to-the-letter instructional method.

Learning by experiencing, playing songs, and being in bands is - I think - the best way to learn music.
But it’s not the only way.

And -

Most people don’t, but professional and aspiring actors, voice actors, readers, presenters, aka - people who speak and use their voice for a profession - do exactly this.
Often with teachers and coaches.

The philosophy is sound, and lovely and ideal, and I love that Victor does his all to demolish all barriers - physical and psychological - between the aspiring musician and the musician.

One can absolutely learn by just playing songs and finding musical experiences.
But it’s also great to find coaches and teachers, and try and intentionally improve and hone a thing that you know you want to get better at.

Keep the part of Wooten that has all the sparks of encouragement and motivation, and try not to get too hung up on the difficult bridge between the specifics and the real world.

I can say that if I hadn’t been in bands growing up, I wouldn’t have stayed with the bass. Playing with my friends and in venues and getting to rock out was my absolute joy. The music was fun, but the performing and friendship was my favorite part.


Almost all of my practice is through learning songs. I’m not sure if that’s the best route for everybody, but I feel like learning songs exposes you to a lot of different styles and will require you to develop certain techniques in order to be able to play them. Practicing certain things out of context is good because you can apply those techniques to songs you will play, but it feels like empty practice to me since I don’t really get that reward of completing something. I have improved dramatically in the last two years by just learning new songs and continuing to challenge myself with more difficult material.


Thank you for this thought out reply Gio!

I appreciate all these points and I’m definitely taking Wooten’s within the context of where it’s coming from.

It’s easy for a talent like him to just go with intuition wherease us mortals might need to do a little more work lol


I think the most helpful aspect of this is that it’s applied practice as other’s have mentioned.

String crossing is a lot more interesting when you can headbang to it lol

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