Practice, Fun & Learning Double Bass

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Jazz Double Bass By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Double Bass » Jazz Double Bass
Last updated: 22/05/2018
Tags: double bass, fun, kiss, life, practice

Double bass, and indeed, musicianship didn't come naturally to me. Strangely, as I always loved listening to it and I was entranced by the way it allowed me to connect with strangers, I studiously avoided practising and went to great pains to make up plausible excuses for why I hadn't done my scales. It took me years even to learn to tune my own instrument. It was embarrassing!

Eventually, through perseverance and playing as much as possible throughout school and college, the theory started to click with the lived experience and it all began to make sense. Notes or chords on a page are valuable tools but they aren't music; they're a visual representation. Playing and listening are where it all comes alive.  

Possibly my favourite of the many things that music has taught me is that: if you practise you can't get worse! Indeed, in life, if you want to be good at anything, it almost always boils down to practice. Natural aptitude does exist (I wouldn't say I had any) but even those born with a gift have put in many thousands of hours of practice to get where they are. To me this is fantastically egalitarian and definitely something to be kept in mind when you're at an impasse. Progress is rarely a straight upward line.

So, my response to anyone who thinks they have no musical ability or can't play an instrument is: You just need encouragement, the right teacher, and practice. Music is universal, existing in all human cultures. There have been cultures discovered with no visual art or written language but they all have music. It's alive in us all.

In addition to practice, another favourite lesson is KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. It can be fun but you don't necessarily need to be flying all over your fingerboard to be having a good time. Soul, groove and being tight (i.e. in time) are far more important, and many of the musicians you'll be playing with will appreciate a solid, simple, in-time bassline. Music-learning should be and is fun, brilliant for your mind & mental health, and so incredibly rewarding that you'll never look back.

Brendan Rowley Jazz Double Bass Teacher (East London)

About The Author

Lessons are friendly, fun, and aimed at enabling you to play with others and get out gigging. Music is my life so I'll give you cool stuff to listen to. I can also repair instruments or tell you what needs doing if yours is poorly.

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