Essential Secrets 15: Get to Know a Song Before You Learn to Play It
Get to Know a Song Before You Learn to Play It
Speeding up the learning curve
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
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET