My Advice To Bass Students

This is the first post in a series of articles written by my friends who teach music. Recently, I have been curious about what important fundamental musical advice that teachers give which students usually ignore.

Since I teach acoustic bass lessons, I would like to make my contribution first. My advice is for aspiring jazz bass players, and it will come in two parts.

Part 1: Practice scales with a digital tuner and a Metronome, in order to build good intonation and time. Buy a scale syllabus – the François Rabbath Book 3 is a particularly good one. Practice each scale slowly and out of time with the digital tuner, making sure each note is perfectly in tune. Then, after about half an hour, switch over to using the metronome. Put the Metronome on the slowest speed and play the scale following the Metronome exactly, and with a good, consistent tone. Gradually increase the speed.

Part 2: Practice Ron Carter’s building bass lines method. I won’t go into the exact method here, but it involves writing a bass line out on music paper and then practicing it. Again, use the digital tuner to get every note in the baseline in tune, and then switch over to playing it along with the slow Metronome.

If I had a busy student who didn’t have very much time to practice, I would recommend that they practice for an hour a day, alternating between part one and part two each day. I believe that it would be the fastest way to improve.

Hope this helps you!

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