Bass Aerobics – Workout 1
So, the other day, I was on the Talkbass forums while eating breakfast (something I only started doing this week, and so far, its helping my energy in the mornings). I came across a thread where the original poster was trying to decide between buying Josquin des Pres‘ Bass Fitness book and Jon Liebman‘s Bass Aerobics.
Well, I’ve had Bass Fitness for years, although I haven’t really used it much. I got Bass Aerobics in January and while I’ve read through it to get an idea of what it has, I hadn’t started using it… until two days ago.
The book is about 112 pages long and is divided into 5 chapters, with one exercise (Workout) per week (although its going to take me longer):
2. Scales & Arpeggios
3. String Crossing
4. Slapping & Popping
5. Advanced Bass
Each chapter is divided into 10 workouts (well, Chapter 5 actually has 12) and each workout is musical in nature. The text before each workout gives some pointers about what to expect when playing it – octave jumps, runs up & down the neck, fast or slow pace, etc., and also lets the reader know what style(s) of music the exercise is supposed to emulate or sound like.
I spent a little bit of time over the last 3 days just going through Workout 1. Its two pages long and I’ve only gotten a few measures in. I didn’t listen to the accompanying CD and just tried to focus on getting the notes down. Its been really fun and is very different from practicing chords and scales.
I’ve been trying to do two things while going through each bar – figure out the name of each note and say it while I play it, and then try to note scale degrees where I can, so I can determine when we’re using chord tones and octaves, and when we’re using chromatic notes.
So far, its been working! I can see where we start on C and go to the octave. I can see where we start on G and go down an octave. I also know the notes in the run that it starts with (E, F, F#, G) and some others. I don’t say the names out loud every time now, but I do say them in me head a lot as I go through, and at least for the moment, its helping me to learn where those notes are on the fretboard.
So, anyhow, yesterday, after I ran through a few bars again, I started to wonder about how the music should really sound. I’m not very good at reading notation – I’ve honestly just not focused on it for a while. So, I’ve been using the tab and calling out note names. Well, I popped in the CD and played Track 1. It was faster and bouncier than I’d been playing it.
I also found that by practicing with just the motions, I’d gotten them down enough that I was able to keep up for a bit. So, its working!
I’m going to spend the next few days really learning Workout 1. Once I have it down, then my plan is to do it again, using the notation. This way, my fingers already know where to go, and I kind of know the note names that I’m reaching for, so my mind will be able to focus on the notation more singularly. When I have that down enough, then my next plan is to play it up an octave and see if I can manage it.
Lets see what happens… 😉
[edit 04.30.15] I found a video on Youtube that shows Workout 1 being played. Have a look: