Essential Secrets 23: Do Your Homework
Do Your Homework
Understanding the Context of Music
It’s important to understand the correct way to play the notes you’re learning. Of course the term “correct” is open to debate, but there are accepted ways of playing certain styles of music. Grasping the style of the music is not as simple as placing it in a broad category such as classical, jazz, or rock. There’s more to it than that.
In the world of classical music, there are stylistic differences between pieces from the Baroque era versus those from the Romantic era. Jazz players use different phrasing for New Orleans and Bebop tunes. In pop music, bassists would never use the same tone playing 1960’s Motown as they would when playing 1990’s funk metal.
This means you’ll need to do your homework if you want to understand what to do with all those notes you’re diligently practicing. Learn something about the composer, the era when the music was written, and the historical context of the music. This knowledge is interesting and fun, and can help you decide exactly how to perform your song.
Doing your homework also means knowing the ways the song has been performed in the past. Listen to recordings of master bassists playing the music you’re learning, and pay attention to their tone, tempo, articulations, and phrasing. If you listen to many recordings of the same song, you will hear different interpretations from each of the artists. These interpretations can serve as inspiration for you.
Start with the most popular video and music websites. And, don’t forget to visit the websites of artists, record companies, composers, music societies, manufacturers, bass enthusiasts, music schools, and fan clubs.
Doing your musical homework will give you the knowledge and confidence that you are performing a given style of music authentically. The information is easily available and well worth the short amount of time it will take to gather.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET