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Essential Secrets 15: Get to Know a Song Before You Learn to Play It

30 December 2016

Essential Secrets


Compliments of performance coach/bassist David Motto

DAVID MOTTO

Secret 15:
Get to Know a Song Before You Learn to Play It

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Speeding up the learning curve

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If there were a way to guarantee that you could learn a song in half your normal practice time, you would jump at it. This strategy does just that.

The secret is simple: Imagine in your mind exactly what you’re going to play.

You truly must hear every note. You can’t approximate the sounds. You need to be exact. When you clearly hear the song in your mind, your ability to learn the music quickly and easily rises to a level you’ve never before imagined.

The first step in this process is to listen over and over to a recording of the music. Do this listening during times you normally wouldn’t be able to practice. Listen while commuting, running errands, doing housework, or during your lunch break. Your immediate goal is to learn all the notes in the bass line.

Once you know the notes, keep listening to the recording and decide how you’ll deal with dynamics, phrasing, tone, and tempos. When this step is completed, the music is fully formed in your mind. You’ll hear it exactly like you want to perform it. One test to see if you’ve really internalized the music is to sing—silently or out loud—the notes you have to play without listening to the recording. When you can sing everything with no memory lapses, you’re ready!

If you’re using sheet music or tablature, there’s an optional third step. Review the printed music for key signatures, time signatures, accidentals, and sections that look difficult. Look over the tab to become familiar with where the notes are on the fingerboard. You’ll be able to hear the song in your head, and you can start making decisions about the technical aspects of playing the piece.

All these steps have happened before you’ve played a note on the bass! Now, it’s time to start practicing. You have a huge head start.



Books by David Motto:



THE TEN MINUTE BASS VIRTUOSO
THE TEN MINUTE
BASS VIRTUOSO
-EBOOK/PDF-
ESSENTIAL SIGHTREADING STUDIES FOR ELECTRIC BASS -- COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET
ESSENTIAL
SIGHTREADING STUDIES
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET

-EBOOK/PDF VERSION-



BASS IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS

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SLAP IT!
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

ESSENTIAL SIGHTREADING STUDIES FOR BASS, 3 Vol. set
ESSENTIAL
SIGHTREADING
STUDIES FOR BASS
3-VOLUME SET
-EBOOK/PDF VERSION-
These three books from David Motto make up one of the great sightreading resources of all time. Available singly or as a set, in print or ebook form, with accompanying audio.

GETTING STARTED

Just learning your way around the bass? We'll start you right.

Click here to see all our Beginners titles.

PLAY BASS TODAY
PLAY BASS TODAY
Teach yourself to play bass guitar at your own pace. Includes CD with instruction and backing tracks.

BEGINNING ELECTRIC BASS
BEGINNING
ELECTRIC BASS
Part one of a three-part series, this book introduces music theory, scales and chords. Learn to build cool bass lines.

Click here to see all our Beginners titles.

JOSQUIN DES PRES

JOSQUIN DES PRES
Bass player, record producer, songwriter, and TV composer Josquin Des Pres has also found time to write many instructive books for bass. His work includes everything from funk and hip hop and R&B to classical music, sight reading, fretless and even music-career advice.

Click here to see all Josquin's books.

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