• Steve Bryant

In the many years I've been working the Studios in Nashville, one thing stands out in the craft/art of recording and creating .. Listen and let the song tell you what to play! .. remember that craft is how we do something and art is why we do something..

Knowing your chordal patterns, progressions and functional harmony is a must.. and backed up by years of playing different genres of music..

Listen consistently to good music.. not only to analyze and yes, write number charts ( one of the very best ways to learn chordal function and the arrangement of a song that builds the '' hills and valleys '' of the song emotionally..

Even if you primarily don't read music on the job.. learn it! nothing illustrates understanding music better.. regardless of the style a bassist plays.. you are addressing the ability of '' that note at that time'' .. the very definition of a good performance and skill on your instrument...

P.M. me here and will send you a list of books I currently use in my private teaching .. the real deal stuff, not fluff..

Learn Craft and you open a window into your Art and it's expression..

Steve Bryant

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  • Steve Bryant

The subject of what to practice on bass is overwhelming in the number of posts and videos available on the internet. At times the content offers so little! On occasion I have ” deprogrammed” new students who had accepted ( because they didn’t know better) unworkable methods that were not grounded in music content.

Learning music informs your art of playing at minimum and enables you to be competitive to ” earn in the real world”. Why do we accept that a lawyer would get applied knowledge in order to earn his fee, but not have the same standard for a young or perhaps not so young bassist wanting to learn his craft to satisfy the requirements of the music? Learning to read, studying functional harmony, Chordal Theory are the benchmarks of our craft and prepares the bassist for the demands of the professional and semi-professional world. In my years of teaching , I've never seen a student that is serious about the instrument not improve by learning to read. It is not hard to learn if done correctly and have taught hundreds this basic skill in my private and online teaching.

Practicing musical information is not supposed to be emotional! You are regarding facts that you need to know, play and hear in order to express your ideas and the ideas of others in a method of communication that has been in use for many, many years regardless of the style being played.

The web has brought a wealth of information, both correct and incorrect, to our homes. As I am fond of telling my students in regards to practicing: ” The only bad mistake is the one you didn’t realize that you made”….studying music gives us how and why of practice and how to correct mistakes.

I’ve had the great pleasure of ” pouring in” to students who earn that title and some of gone on to be wonderful and successful bass musicians in their own right. All of them learn craft and music content and can fit the requirement of the gig…and they all play their own way of expressing their art. However, they function well in whatever musical environment they are in. contact me at: stevebryant71bass@gmail.com

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  • Steve Bryant

Living the Dream!

Well, That's what I told myself as a young bassist making my first foray into getting paid for playing bass on a recording that would be released commercially and available to the public, heard on radio, t.v. etc..

However, there was much I did not know, and much I learned on the job.... sometimes in very hectic circumstances that pointed out to me very rapidly what I was doing wrong.

In my private teaching, I mention to my students who wish to become session musicians that great maxim of business philosophy.. '' If you can't demonstrate either with ability or reputation, you are dead in the water'' .. That may be jarring to hear , but the fact stands regardless!

As a session player, being musically prepared is vital .. but also true is the ability to produce your own part as well as listen to directions and comments by the producer, session leader, writer, or the other sidemen..

1) To a degree, it is less important as to what gear you have than it is to make sure everything works well and produces no buzz, noise or distractions.. deal with that before the downbeat ( start time) ... Your gear should be an extension of you and the music..anything less takes focus off of the music ..

2) Be open for anything.. sometimes, great music happens without overthinking..

Notice that this happens when you are prepared musically.. it is important to have a lifetime actionable goal to improve as a musician .. daily practice on music content does this.. also, a steady diet of listening to music as the emotional language that it is. I've pulled out some great playable ideas on a session from disparate sources and many genres of music .. and that means not listening to just other bass players.. My own goal is to always be a musician that happens to play bass.. be prepared and when you do, you will find your personality that is unique to you will come out in context of serving the song. Sometimes, one note can say what a hundred can't ..there are times when a whisper can do what shouting cannot.. At times, finding that one '' right'' note can build a mountain..

3.) How well you play determines how well you listen! Nuff said about that..

4) Be gracious and friendly.. and a bit of gratitude as well. Realize the guys around you in the studio made incredible sacrifices and faced difficulties to get where they are.. Talk about Blessed! I play with some of the best musicians in the world.. Nashville has an unbelievable talent pool and more coming everyday, it seems:-)

A particular skill that one develops as your tracking '' chops'' develop is the instinct for the song and what's it's trying to convey lyrically and emotionally.. that '' second sense'' is what really makes a great session musician.. chops at the service of the song... it makes it musical, appropriate, and makes the rest of the band sound great! In my private teaching, I always point this out to my students.

Tracking with Jonathan Cain of Journey at his Addiction Studio in Nashville.. Listening to a playback: Johnathan on the Left .... vocalist Perry Coleman on the right.. and behind them publisher Dan Hodges...

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