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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bryant

Bass Lessons: The way to personal improvement and fine musicianship

It is no secret that many of us become frustrated with our practice time and the lack of results in our goal to be better players.  Boredom sets in and we soon find ourselves aimlessly noodling, wondering how do we improve as a bass musician.

In my years of private instruction in my home studio and worldwide online, i’ve identified the stumbling blocks that have encumbered many to the point of distraction and disappointment. Believe me that a great majority of bassists that I’ve taught have in common that most deadly of maladies…not practicing musical facts!

Practicing music content provides the hammer and nails with which to build the ''house of the creative''. Music fact based practicing produces results that you and others can hear.

The emotional and creative is right brain dominant and the left is logical and analytical. Many bass players get tripped up when they confuse the two.

Craft: ( practicing music content) is HOW we do something...

Art : ( our approach and creativity, interpretation) is WHY we do something

When you practice musical facts, You are not performing. you simply make mistakes and correct them. When you read music, you never run out of things to practice!

By the way, learning how to read is not hard if you do it correctly. I've taught hundreds this skill over the years.. and they have ALL grown as bassists. Absorbing information through reading is exploring the very things the competent player needs to know..

Case in point:

Many bassists not spending enough time on music content will only practice what they know or assume to know and expect improvement for their effort.

Go slowly so your mind, fingers, and ears absorb new musical facts…that way you can correct your mistakes simply and without the critical right brain. Making mistakes is an important part of practicing in that you simply correct and learn from them.

This can also apply in creating walking and solo ideas.. Learning music content helps us play the chordal patterns, tensions, substitutions, etc. that has been used for many generations and also how chords move and ”ask” for next one. This is the basis for all western harmony…it all eventually goes into the right brain creatively as we connect our ears, fingers, and mind as we work. This fact is made evident in so many that I've taught over the years. They are presented with the very same material.. yet they express themselves differently with own creativity. Witness this fact in that the alphabet we learn as children is very defined and narrow.. yet we use it to express different viewpoints and feelings that are unique to us... How incredible that we have 12 notes in the chromatic scale and this very defined and narrow fact is utilized to create art that has no limitations and embraces the expression of emotions and ideas!

Remember to keep your practice sessions short at first and your mind, ears, and fingers engaged with what you are working on.

Contact me if you want to learn more, have questions, and want to book a private one on one lesson with me here in Nashville or Worldwide via Skype. You will learn well. Teaching is a passion of mine and doing this since 1979 while maintaining a full recording and touring career has taught me a thing or two

Sharing a quote from a former student that learned '' Real Deal, Real World '' in his time with me:

''Steve Bryant cuts out the nonsense and shares with you real world knowledge, techniques, and methods that he himself uses on a daily basis as a Nashville session player. Studying with Steve is one light bulb going off after another. No matter your level of experience or style, you will be a better musician after studying with Steve.''

- Matt Cantin


I welcome all students with a desire to truly improve their playing to get better gigs and sessions, or to satisfy your personal critique and goals..

I look forward to working with you!

All The best,


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