Accelerate Your Bass Practice
In this post I wanted to share with you a hack that will make your bass practice 10x more effective.
At the same time it’ll be much more motivating to practice that way.
This one is real easy and if you do it, you’ll find out it can be really effective.
Where Did I Get Inspiration
When I started playing bass with a band that composes original music, I’ve found myself in a situation that I need to do a lot more recording than I used to.
I would record bass lines at home, during the composing process, and send out tracks to my band mates so that they can contribute.
That way we would sketch up new song ideas which we’d then work on in more details in the studio, when we get together.
Once the album was ready, it was time to spend time recording tracks in the studio.
At the same time, I was heavily into teaching online and exploring options to make it as effective as possible.
As part of the process, I was recording video bass lessons – so yeah, more recording.
At this point I think you know where I’m going with this?
What I noticed is that when the “red” recording light goes ON, my playing goes to 110% focus.
Even though I was feeling “nervous” in a way, especially at first, my senses would somehow sharpen.
I would give my 110% to every note that I played, trying not to make a single mistake.
I tried to perform the line to the best of my ability.
I can’t say that I ever found anything more motivating than that dreadful recording light.
Time period for this was around 2007.
I would have never imagined that today, it would be easier than ever to reap the benefits of this concept.
To make your bass practice 10x more effective, the simple solution is to:
1. Record your playing
2. Always have a clear (recording) task in mind
This means that you need to pick a song, exercise, etude or backing track and spend time learning and practicing the tune.
As soon as you feel ready, move on to the next step and that is:
Record a video of your performance.
Just take your iPhone, prop it up on your desk and shoot a quick video of your bass performance of the thing you’re working on. No need for fancy production, audio or anything really. Capture the room sounds, that’s good enough!
The idea is to move to the recording step as soon as possible, basically as soon as you’ve learned the track, know the changes and feel that you could perform it from start to finish.
What will happen is that as soon as you hit that record button on the iPhone, you’ll try real hard to get the perfect take.
First couple of takes won’t cut it. It’s okay. Do it again. And again.
Until you get it right or feel you can’t do it any better.
You’re looking for “your perfect take at the moment in time”.
Doing this guarantees that you’ll give it your best effort to learn and perform the bass line over given track.
Feel The Progress
The resulting video, no matter of your current playing level, will feel as an accomplishment.
And it’s important to feel this.
So often bass practice can feel like we’re doing so much stuff, but getting nowhere.
If you add video shooting routine to your bass practice, you’ll actually have clear evidence what you’ve done and where you are.
Upload those videos to GDrive, YouTube (as private video) or Dropbox.
Keep notes of the dates videos were recorded.
With this hack it is really important to video record all your bass practice milestones.
As soon as the thing you’re working on feels “recordable” do it.
It can be a song, lesson in a course – anything really except doodling (which is not worth doing anyway).
Bass Time Capsule
Videos that you shoot and store will serve as an evidence of your bass progress and they’ll work as a sort of time capsule.
You’ll be able to clearly see your progress in 1 month, 2 months, 6 months, a year…
…and you need to see the progress you’re making.
Every bass player should be able to see their progress IMO.
That’s because it’s motivating to know.
It’s just so rewarding to clearly see that all those practice hours are finally paying off!
How would you feel going on a diet, but not being able to use the scale to track your progress? Doesn’t sound fun to me.
Same with bass practice. You need to know why you’re doing it.
Point of View
There’s yet another huge benefit of logging your bass practice in video format – you get to self-examine your playing.
Trust me – what you think your playing is like is often very different from what it really is.
Shoot a video and then make sure to spend time analyzing it.
Take notes of the things you notice like:
Which techniques are giving you trouble?
Are you getting a good bass tone?
Which part of the song is less rehearsed and needs more attention?
Be your own bass teacher and the only way to be objective is to take a video of your performance.
Get Feedback on your playing
When you record bass performance videos, you now have an option to share with others to get valuable feedback in return.
You can get this feedback from all kinds of places:
Send it to your musician friends, a bass teacher, post it up on Youtube, share it on your Facebook wall or in a specialized group, Reddit.
Of course, the feedback type and quality you get will vary from where you share it.
But more often than not, you’ll actually get some really valuable feedback on your playing – and you only need to ASK for it.
How I Help My Students Max Their Results
I got to admit it, I was cheeky when designing course learning path courses in the Bass Road Academy.
I knew that this approach is stupidly effective, so I made sure that the courses feature a lot of action assignments.
You would complete a lesson and get an assignment to record your playing, following a set of instructions.
This would not happen once, rather at every point where it would help you make progress, faster.
For example in the course Bass Guitar 101, when you learn how to play different note durations, there are tunes to learn.
You can’t just do a lesson and say, okay I got it.
You got to prove to me that you really learned it and that you can apply it in your playing.
So you learn a tune, record a video of your performance and submit it inside the course for me and other students to check out.
You’ll get constructive feedback from me on how you did and what you should be focusing on next.
I’m one of those teachers who speak up their mind, and Bass Road is a small community, so you won’t get sugarcoated advice or quick reply.
What you’ll get is the constructive feedback from me, and actionable items that you can work on to improve your playing.
I’ve had a student submitting his video for the same assignment multiple times.
He’d send in a video, but it wasn’t good enough. Again, still worth submitting because he got valuable feedback on how to improve the next one.
He didn’t give up there and call it a day.
He returned to me again in a week and BOOM – huge progress in just a week!
So that’s how I like to help my students get better at bass.
I add assignments throughout my courses and I expect you to take them seriously and record your part.
It’s for your benefit.
Only if you action stuff you learn in a bass course, you can make real progress.
Your action, dedication and persistency are necessary.
There is no bass course out there that will bring you any value if you don’t work on applying the knowledge and playing (practice!) bass for real.
This is my plea to you to start recording your playing.
Come up with actionable tasks that need to be recorded in order for you to complete them.
Plan to do re-takes in a week or whenever you’re ready to do an improved version.
Analyze each and every video for things you can work in order to improve.
Reflect back on your early videos to see how much progress you’ve really made.
Make sure to keep all the videos organized somewhere, preferably in the cloud with date labels.
Choose to practice materials that focus on actual bass playing.
There is no point in understanding concepts in a bass lesson, you need to spend time playing bass.
Applying those concepts in real situations, learning songs and just spending as much time as possible playing bass.
If you’re just starting on bass or never had a lesson before, and feel like you don’t know what to practice, then it might be worth looking into online bass courses here at the Bass Road Academy.
Start with Bass Guitar 101 course, made for absolute beginners and completely focused on performing bass lines and recording yourself throughout the course.
Click on the link below to check out the course and see if it would be something you’d like to dig into:
I give detailed feedback on all video submissions in the Bass Road Academy, and would love to check out your performance.
Hope you’ll try out the idea of recording your bass performance as a hack to get 10x more results from your sessions and that you’ll find it a motivating as I do.
Good luck with your practice and keep grooving,