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Essential Secrets 38: Always Be Expressive

29 November 2017

Essential Secrets


Compliments of performance coach/bassist David Motto

DAVID MOTTO

Secret 38:
Always Be Expressive

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Thinking Musically at All Times

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You can spend so much time building your technique and learning songs that you neglect the other skills that make playing music worthwhile. Dynamics, phrasing, articulations, and tone production are important if you want your music to be expressive. To make the best use of your practice time, always include these musical elements in your playing.

Traditionally, bassists learn new songs like this: First, learn all the pitches and rhythms. Next, build up to performance speed. Finally, just before needing to perform the song, start thinking about how to be expressive. This complicates things by adding a whole new list of items to practice before the song can be played in public. You don’t have time to learn in this outdated way.

If you want to be efficient, here’s a better idea: Always be expressive—right from the start. As you learn pitches and rhythms, decide exactly how the notes should sound. Include these subtle effects in your music from the beginning. Then, as you work your way up to the performance tempo, you are already playing with the expressions you want.

This approach will save you enormous amounts of time by making the expressiveness part of the muscle memory you’re building as you learn your song. Every step of the way, you’ll know the exact touch you need to shape the notes just the way you want them.

Being expressive needs to be part of your practicing every day. Expressiveness should be integrated into your thoughts and actions every time you play bass—not just before a performance. Start using this approach immediately. Eventually, working out articulations and phrasing will become as natural as playing the correct fingerings. You will bring your music to life and save time in the practice room.



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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IN THE SPOTLIGHT

SLAP IT!
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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