A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

Practice: 4/6/2011 – I need a plan!

Stagnating. 😦

Too much stuff is happening. The client beta of version 3.0 of our software started on Monday, and now family from overseas is staying with us for the next 3 weeks: 4 adults and a 2-year old girl. They’re nice people and I want to be accomodating but the house isn’t ready yet. Practice came in spurts (see how I did that?) for the past few days. I managed to sneak in an hour, in bits and pieces, today. Yesterday was 30 mins.

The problem I’m having is lack of focus. I think I need to sit down and write out a plan before I go forward. I haven’t moved past the E string in the Hal Leonard book yet. That’s going on the list for this week (get from E, F & G to F#/Gb and G#/Ab). I’ve been doing the same exercises (major and minor scales, blues scales) but its just the patterns. I don’t have the theory solid. I need to keep going with reading and learning the notes on the neck.

I realized that I also need to do something really basic, and not music-related at all, too: learn the alphabet from A-G backwards. I need to be able to say it and have it solidly in my head in reverse. I read a post on Talkbass the other day where one of the members wrote about what learning scales really meant to him. Its well past what I know, but I want to get there. I wonder if I’m going off course by practicing scales while going through the Hal Leonard book though.

G – F – E – D – C – B – A

I think what I’m going to do is use the scale patterns as warm-ups for a while, and really focus on that book. Managing time is a pain. During the day, there’s work, and when it gets late, I practice in the bedroom with headphones on. I can’t work on reading like that though, because my poor, unfortunate wife turns off the light in the bedroom and passes out before I do when I practice at night. She leaves the lamp on for me, but its hard to read a music staff under that kind of lighting. Yeah, I know. Under those circumstances, use my own staff and practice something else. I can’t imagine how people with kids find time to get anything done. Hats off to them.

So, I think this is going to be my routine for a while:
Warm-up: Scale patterns, just so my hands don’t forget
Lesson: Whatever the next page in the Hal Leonard book throws my way
Extra: Play with the HL, Dummies or Idiots CDs or do something random

I’ve been reading up on muting a little. With headphones on, I notice when I’m scraping strings or something, and getting sympathetic tones from other strings. I’m not muting well at all. The lower strings aren’t as much of an issue as the higher ones. I don’t think I’m coordinated enough to mute effectively yet, but I’m trying to improve. I’ll research it and post my findings up here at some point.

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