There’s a myth going around the internet proposing that, as a beginner, you do not need a qualified teacher but rather somebody that is a slightly better than your current skill level will do. This recalls an episode of the Simpsons, where Marge states that to earn some extra money she’ll simply start to teach some piano lessons. Homer responds by saying, “But you don’t play the piano!” Marge retorts by saying, “All I have to do is stay one lesson ahead of the kid I’m teaching.” As preposterous as that sounds, many internet bass teachers follow this ineffective teaching model.
All experienced teachers should understand that any new skill that you learn is highly dependant on previous learned skills. The order in which you learn bass guitar subject matter is paramount to your growth as a musician, along with the way it is presented, as well as the way it is practiced! Practice is one of the most overlooked subjects in bass education these days, partly due to the insanity of the political correctness in modern educational systems. Beware of teachers and courses that claim you will have fun while learning and instead begin to look for ways to overcome the obstacles you are experiencing, along with what kind of progress you intend to make and how this will be achieved.
Guidance is also high on the list when working with a qualified bass teacher. Make sure to question the teacher’s experience, both as a player and as a teacher. Who are the former students of the teacher and what level did they attain as a result? Beware of accomplished bass players who are terrible teachers and have no idea how to teach others- especially beginners. You want a teacher who can guide you along the path, not only telling you what is right or wrong, but also suggesting what to practice while pointing out the important aspects that you should be paying attention to along the way. The kind of teacher that will point out the mistakes you are making and how to fix them while leading you towards a high level of performance. One of the most beneficial things a good teacher can help you understand is how to develop a wider sense of perception for the material you are working on.
You need to be taking action now! You need to develop better practice habits, consisting of purposeful practice with a qualified teacher who is familiar with the abilities of the experts and how those abilities can be developed further. You need to be taken out of your comfort zone where you are attempting to play things just beyond your current abilities. You need to be given clear, well-defined goals that are aimed at specific improvement. You need to be taught how to focus on specific goals and how-to problem solve so that adjustments can be made for you to be in control of your practice sessions. You need to be given feedback to track and measure your progress. You need to be taught how to widen your mental perception of what you are working on. You need to understand how to develop the correct fundamentals as all new skills are built on top of previously learned skills. This will minimise the chances of having to relearn things when advancing to higher levels of accomplishment.
Are you ready to take the next step?
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This is so true! I’m seeing the scope, depth and quality of the subject matter that Joe teaches, and a select few of his colleagues, and it’s cutting edge. If I had that in my early years, it would have saved me years of work and frustration trying to break my bad habits, concepts and technique!
Thanks Paul! Glad to hear my approach is helping.
Joe! You are SUCH a valuable musical resource, logical, and someone that I admire.
Wow! Jeff, thanks so much for your kind words. As you have said many times, music for the sake of music is the only way to real lasting improvement as a musician. It’s weird that so many people call themselves musicians, but but learning musical principles (melody, harmony and rhythm) are at the last- if at all – on their list!