Essential Secrets 28: Begin with the Basics
Begin with the Basics
Mastering the Skills that Matter Most
Let’s say you’ve been driving for many years. Even with all that experience and time behind the wheel, you still couldn’t compete in the Indianapolis 500. Professional drivers have mastered a set of specific, insider skills that you don’t know.
The same is true with music. What makes great bassists great is their focus on specific, technical skills that let them control tone, rhythm, dynamics, time, and the feel. The insiders in the music world know that real virtuosity comes from mastering these Basics of Music. It’s not about how many notes you can play per second.
You may want to skip the Basics when you play bass, concentrating instead only on the fun stuff, like learning a new song or playing something you already know. Here’s the problem with that approach: You need the Basics to learn new material in the first place!
Focus on the Basics during every practice session. You won’t want to cover this material after working on a fun piece of music, so start your practicing with Basics drills. The Basics will make you a better player and serve as your warm-ups.
These three items always work for your Basics routines:
1. Long Tones: Focus on tone production and controlling the start and finish of each note. Play long tones at every dynamic level, from the quietest you can play to the loudest you can play.
2. Scales and Arpeggios: Play in every key all over the fingerboard. Control your tone and focus on accuracy. Play quarter notes, eighth notes, triplets, and sixteenth notes with a metronome to improve your time.
3. Etudes: Work through the technical challenges of these exercises so you constantly expand your abilities.
Even if your Basics warm-up is only a couple minutes long, it will have a tremendous effect on the rest of your bass playing. Always begin with the Basics.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET