david santistevan

worship.leadership

Thoughts from a Touring Bass Player on Practicing Well

* This post is a guest post from my friend Rob Morgan. Rob is a full time touring bass player. He has a fantastic website where you can chronicle what part of the world he’s sipping coffee and rocking out and also glean from his thoughts. Insightful stuff. What sets Rob apart from a lot of young musicians is that he works hard. Really hard. I’ve been writing a lot on how to practice better. Check out my posts here and here. I asked Rob to give some insight into what he does. Love this post. I know you will too. Btw, that picture there? Yea, that’s Rob. Get to know him.

I don’t know about you, but I started out with a pretty glamorous view of music. The stage, the lights, the ripping guitar solos; that’s what I saw. What I didn’t often hear was the amount of work it took to get to that point. I was always attracted to the finished product but never wanted to think about the time spent alone home practicing.

Well, now we recognize that if we want to be great, it’s going to take some practice.

Here are a few points that have helped me greatly in my journey to be deliberate about my practice time. Hopefully they’ll help you in yours.

[My main instrument is bass guitar but this can be used in context with ANY instrument you’re focusing on]

1. Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.

  • Be intentional about what you want to practice.
  • It’s easy to space off and only practice what we already know but push through and work on things your not good at in your practice times.

2. Schedule Your Practice Times.

  • Lets be real, nowadays if it’s not in our iPhone or calendar we don’t do it. Set aside a specific time to practice your instrument. AND STICK TO IT.

3. Embrace Your Inner ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)

  • Recognize that the average person can’t sit down with their instrument and work [productively] for four hours non-stop. Break up your practice time into 15 or 10 min segments throwing in a 3-5 min break to get up and stretch your legs every 30-40min.
  • For example: 15min-Scales/Modes; 15min-Sight Reading; 15min-Playing Something Fun and pointless; 3min-Water Break; (etc.)
  • Don’t think you need it? You do. It’ll keep your practice times focused and stress-free.

4. Practice with a ‘click’ ALWAYS!

  • Enjoy playing with people? This will help guarantee that they enjoy playing with you.
  • ‘Click’ is a fancy name for metronome. If you don’t have one, buy one or pull up onlinemetronome.com and ALWAYS practice with it.

5. Learn New Songs

  • Want to get better? Learn the (bass/drums/piano/guitar) parts to new songs. Sound way too simple? Probably because it is, but learning songs that aren’t what you’re used to will help stretch you.
  • Just love playing Hillsong? Maybe try learning a Jazz tune. Love playing pop-rock? Maybe learn a *gasp* country tune! (but only in moderation) 😉

So there you have it, a few tips on making your practice time more intentional. And remember, the hardest part about practicing is actually sitting down and doing it. So make it a priority and it’ll be impossible to not see results in your playing.

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December 3, 2010 - Posted by | Music, Practice

2 Comments »

  1. […] Friday Thoughts From a Touring Bass Player on Practicing Well […]

    Pingback by Weekly Wrap-Up « david santistevan | December 6, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] THOUGHTS FROM A TOURING BASS PLAYER ON PRACTICING WELL I don’t know about you, but I started out with a pretty glamorous view of music. The stage, the lights, the ripping guitar solos; that’s what I saw. What I didn’t often hear was the amount of work it took to get to that point. I was always attracted to the finished product but never wanted to think about the time spent alone home practicing. Well, now we recognize that if we want to be great, it’s going to take some practice. Here are a few points that have helped me greatly in my journey to be deliberate about my practice time. Hopefully they’ll help you in yours. […]

    Pingback by Best of the Blog 2010 « david santistevan | December 31, 2010 | Reply


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