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Essential Secrets 47: Play By Ear

29 April 2018

Essential Secrets


Compliments of performance coach/bassist David Motto

DAVID MOTTO

Secret 47:
Play By Ear

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The Importance of Playing What You Hear

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Jazz, pop, and rock bassists play by ear on a regular basis. But, you may still rely on charts, tab, and video instruction to learn most songs. Playing by ear offers you many benefits, including memorizing music more quickly, matching the phrasing of other musicians, learning new genres of music, and strengthening your ensemble skills.

In your practice room, listen to a recording and try these techniques:

1. Play the bass lines you hear. Do more than focus on pitch. Pay special attention to matching the rhythms and octaves accurately.

2. Listen to the melody. Find its first note on your bass. Play as much of the melody as you can. Playing the first phrase may take several attempts; it’s normal for this process to be challenging!

3. Figure out the key of the music you’re hearing and play scales and arpeggios in that key.

4. Carefully match the tone, tempo, dynamics, and phrasing of the musician you hear on the recording—even if they’re not playing a bass guitar.

5. Pick out parts you normally would not play (like keyboard or horn lines), and see if you can play them.

You may not have time to try all of these ideas at a single practice session. That’s fine. Pick just one of these techniques and try it today. The first technique on the list is especially important when you’re listening to a song you’re learning right now.

Music is sound. It is not notes or tab printed on a piece of paper. So, try learning an entire song by ear, with no outside help. Your practice room is the perfect place to hone this skill. There is no one there to judge you, and you can work at your own pace. It’s fun and empowering to hear something and be able to play it on your bass.



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-



IN THE SPOTLIGHT

THE BEATLES COMPLETE SCORES
THE BEATLES
COMPLETE
SCORES
This magnificent collection presents bass, guitar, vocal and drum parts for every song The Beatles recorded. All 210 of them, in 1136 pages! Standard notation and TAB. Hardbound with a slipcase. A marvelous work.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

SLAP IT!
SLAP IT!
Also check out the
ONLINE COURSE

Tony Oppenheim's SLAP IT! will give rookies the right start and help pros refine their touch. Audio tracks included.

The ONLINE COURSE is a lifetime subscription that accesses more exercises and lessons. Like Volume 2 of SLAP IT!

EBOOKS

Save time and money (and reduce your carbon footprint!). Order books and transcriptions in easy-to-download PDF form. Read them on a desktop, laptop, phone or tablet, and print out pages as you wish.

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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.

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