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  • Writer's pictureSteve Bryant

Online Bass Lesson from a Nashville Studio Pro: Why '' One'' Never Felt So Good!

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

In the many years I've been teaching students privately, I have encountered problems that confuse and inhibit progress. Understanding how to develop a strong sense of time is certainly an important aspect of playing well. Some students do not read notation and it's the first thing they are exposed to in our working together. I've never experienced a student NOT improving by regarding the written notes.

Learning to read music is not hard and the basics are grasped in the first lesson. Nothing illustrates music content as well as written music! All aspects of harmony, rhythm, and melody are clearly articulated and allow the student to hone in on aspects of technique.

* Reading music sharpens comprehension and navigation of the the fretboard.

* You are not entertaining assumptions that could be inhibiting to the bassist, such as wasting too much time on things you are already comfortable with and not enough time on your weaknesses. with written music in your practice time You will NEVER run out of things to practice that are truly relevant to being a competent musician.

* All written music addresses technique.. in other words.. no one will disagree that being a competent player means the ability to play '' that note at that time and each note's duration'' - I've said this many times to students and at seminars..

* I don't use tablature with students. When asked why, I tell them tab is not used in the professional world

* As I assign written music to students.. They have specific and relevant material to review and have a metric to gauge progress based on music principles and facts.

* Learning to read does not stifle creativity.. it enhances it! In other words, knowing what something is musically and how it is played on your instrument helps not only in understanding what you are required to do on a gig/session, but helps the bassist outline their own ideas when communicating with others..

* Reading will also increase your work opportunities and broaden the scope of basic musicianship

When I am asked by a student what '' groove'' is .. I state: the ability to produce THAT Note at that TIME'' ( refer to my first paragraph in this article ) Written music illustrates so well in facts how this is done.. which equips the bassists to express the art of music. Consider the world renowned painters Rembrandt and Picasso.. the expression of their art in how they related their experiences were entirely different. However, they each understood the FACTS of mixing colors to produce varying hues to express themselves uniquely.. How does it hurt the bassist to know the facts of music? The answer is self evident.. Craft is the exploration of ''how'' we do something.. Art is the exploration of '' why'' we do something..... note that I am addressing Craft in this article:-)

Comprehending written music also includes counting and knowing where the downbeat is and where '' One'' is of each bar.. The majority of practice time in learning reading is not using a metronome.

It is vital to count out loud the beats and do the very necessary work of making mistakes and correcting them .. hard to do with a metronome demanding that you play in time!

The misuse of a metronome by many is using it to keep a tempo without the player being aware of the downbeat and where the note and phrase is in the bar.. this is musically dangerous! In addition, having the metronome beat on '' two and four'' is essential to good time .. as it requires of the bass musician to be responsible knowing the downbeat of '' One''. it's been so much fun over many years of teaching to see students get '' The Aha moment'' of truly getting this!

Want to learn more or have questions about improving your playing? use the contact form on this website or I've taught some of the current crop of top studio, touring, and band bassists in the Nashville music industry....If you are in the Nashville, Tennessee area, I am available for private lessons in my home studio. I am also available worldwide via Skype. You will learn well!

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