Double Bass Practice
Are you looking to enhance your Double Bass practice?
What is the one thing which can help get your performing to a higher level? Practice! Though not just playing the same thing again, and again, and once again. You will discover a technique to practice efficiently – and included in our ‘Beginner’s Guide To Learning The Double Bass’, we’ll show you the guidelines to make you practice far better, not longer.
Vital Double Bass Practice Guidelines
Practice. If you do it regularly enough, you’ll end up being great. Everyone knows this. So why is practice so difficult?
Motivation is essential. Without motivation, you will not trust yourself to go back to the instrument every single day. Exactly how do you get motivated?
By winning. Yes, that’s what I said. Winning. You are in continual competition with yourself, and whenever things go perfectly, you really feel like you’re winning. When you’re in this mindset, it is very easy to practice. It’s the circle of life – winning much more provides far more motivation, which means you practice much more. Practising even more usually means you win more, consequently it will give you much more motivation. Which goes on and on exponentially.
If it’s that easy, exactly why is practice still so hard?
The answer? Because it’s not that easy! Just practising isn’t adequate. You might practice for three hours every day but not progress.
If it’s not the quantity of practice that puts you in the circle of life, exactly what does?
Quality. Quality. Quality.
Practising for 15 minutes per day, concentrated, useful top-quality practice is a great deal more advantageous than five hours of vague, ‘auto-pilot’ practice.
So all you need is top-quality practice for you to jump aboard the circle of life train?
Sadly not.! It is never that easy. Combine quantity and quality, and you’ll finally become a first-class passenger.
Keep reading to see how to buy your first-class ticket, and ways to remain on the train for as long as you want…
Structure Your Double Bass Practice
What exactly is the recommended length of practice?
15 to 20 mins is a great place to begin, and in all likelihood no longer than 45 minutes each time. After that duration, us humans tend to zone out – and therefore the practising gets to be significantly less useful. As a rule of thumb, when you experience your concentration waning, stop. Always be proud that you just showed up to your practice session, and don’t get worried how long you practice for.
How often do I need to practice the double bass?
This is an easy answer – practice daily. This way, you’ll turn your double bass practice into a habit. A dedicated focused regular practice is far more advantageous than twice each week an hour at a time. And bear in mind, if perhaps you’re pondering “but how will I find the time to accomplish 20 mins daily? !? ” – just grab some of your time and effort from social media over to the double bass. We all do, after all, spend on average 142 minutes on social media each day!
When should you be doing my practice?
It makes no difference whenever you practice, simply just provided that you do practice. Try out setting up a preset schedule for yourself as opposed to simply being ad-hok. Notice which solutions work best, and stick with it.
Double Bass Practice Top Tips
1. Stop Potential Interruptions
It is ‘you’ time. The same as when you visit the cinema, be sure you turn off those nagging gizmos that may ping, ding and interrupt you. Concentration is definitely the name of the game.
2. Get Comfy
Cumulatively, you’ll be spending considerable time at the instrument, so get relaxed. Establish things just how you prefer them. A glass of water nearby. A pencil and pieces of paper for making notes. Then similar to a Jedi Knight, zone in and concentrate.
3. Set up Objectives
Decide on what you wish to accomplish, and make it a thing you can achieve in the session. By focusing on the end result, you get there faster and more successfully.
As a bit of advice, Monday you can fix one aim, subsequently Tuesday another. Wednesday could be a moment of integrating your results of Monday and Tuesday. Thursday might be the last ambitious goal, with Friday your day of getting all the things together. However you assign your aims or objectives, remain consistent – and most importantly, always be strong with yourself to keep your system going. As a reward, ensure you treat yourself to a box of chocolates or something reddish colored in a glass…
4. Say Hi To Bad Habits
Nobody is perfect for the very first time. Consciously know that until you’ve repeated a section several times, you’ll make mistakes. Become as methodical as possible handling these errors, because if you don’t, you’ll discover bad habits start to creep in.
So if you experience a terrible habit appearing out from no-where, say a nice big HELLO to it. Then swat it just like the most annoying fly.
The only way this will work though is if you’re reliable. Don’t ever allow undesirable habits to creep in. You’ll regret it!
5. Keep It Fresh
Perhaps you have driven to a place, and when you arrived, you had simply no recollection or recall regarding the trip. You drove completely on ‘brain auto-pilot’. The same can take place when practicing the double bass.
If you practice much the same way each and every time, your progress will slow down, your commitment will shrink, and playing the double bass will turn out a chore. You can actually combat this tiny annoying fact by changing your practice techniques.
There are lots of options. Close your eyes to perform. Try playing the music backwards. Consider standing up or sitting down. Play whilst wearing earphones. Play every little thing quietly, or maybe loudly. The list goes on and on. Creativity is definitely the name of the game, and whatever you do, don’t become bored!
6. Coach Yourself
There exists a good reason many of us go to school; and it’s because we understand best when we have a teacher standing over us, encouraging us to succeed. But unless you happen to be Founder of Microsoft, you’re extremely unlikely to be able to afford to pay for a teacher 365 days of the year. Should it matter? Absolutely not! You are your own teacher – and also you come at no cost!
In the first place, figure out how to listen closely. Many people forget to actively listen, however, it’s the ideal way to transform your playing.
Subsequent, along with the miracles of modern technology, it’s now increasingly simple to record your playing. So get your phone out, record, and critique yourself.
And even when the world’s wealthiest individuals wanted to retain the services of my own teacher, they couldn’t afford to pay for it!
7. Whatever You Perform, Don't Start off...
It seems right to start a piece at the beginning. The catch is if you do that each and every session, the initial few notes will sound incredible, but still end up being disproportionately practised compared with the rest of the piece. Mix it up. Begin right at the end! Or at the centre! Or close your eyes and randomly choose a part. Just don’t always begin from the beginning!
8. Performing The Simple Parts
It can feel wonderful to play sections we know perfectly well. On the other hand, if that’s all that you ever play, you’ll have part of the piece to a superb standard, but the more complicated half will be a failure. And yes, you’ll naturally be drawn to the straightforward bits, which usually leaves the challenging bit out in the cold. All alone. Shivering for some heat and love.
Now think of this rationally. Should you consciously pick out what requires more practice, it would be the challenging element. Right? That requires far more love and consideration. The straightforward part looks after by itself.
So don’t overlook this. Go learn that challenging aspect and warm it up…
9. Don't Perfect The Piece
One of the best techniques you can learn is sight-reading. But what exactly is sight-reading? It’s performing anything that is put before you, instantly and without fuss. The objective isn’t to be perfect. It’s to get through it as best as you can whilst always keeping the beat.
10. Keeping The Flow
Your metronome is there not as your adversary, but as your close friend. So be sure you utilize it!
For areas which might be really fast and hard, the metronome is usually a wonderful device. Set it up at a nice and simple tempo, which you can have fun with the part correctly. Then every single day, notch up the speed by a little. Ultimately, you’ll end up being at performance tempo, and it also should truly feel as comfortable as when you began at a slower pace.
Bonus Suggestion: For faster portions, try and get at ease performing the difficult parts 10% faster than you need – like that, after you return to the speed you really want to perform it at, it should feel nice and simple!
11. It Is Essential...
Recall in number 3 I mentioned a nice bottle of red? I thought this is critical enough to mention it twice!
Double Bass Practice Bonus Tips
1. “A Moment” before you start
Before you begin to play, take a moment to breathe in and remind yourself exactly what you intend to do: how the first few bars go, which technical points you would like to work on, and check that your left hand and your bow are in the correct position. You will be much more accurate than if you jump in with reckless abandon!
2. How Did I Do?
As you finish playing a piece, scale, or exercise, take a moment to check how your technique has fared. Did your bow hold deteriorate at all over the course of a long piece? Were you so wrapped up in the music that your left elbow has collapsed? Take the time to notice and evaluate these things so that you can do better next time.
If you can play it slowly, you can play it fast, right? WRONG. Once you understand how a passage works technically, break it down into much smaller groups so that you can practice it at the correct speed. I like to practice three notes at a time, and then build up to fives- these odd numbers have the additional benefit of challenging our sense of pulse so that returning to the original feels even easier!
4. Know Your Checkpoints
A pianist has every note in front of them at all times, but as a string player you have to make every single note yourself, every time, and they need to be consistent. As a double bassist, you have the additional problem that the gaps between the notes are so big that you have to change position much more frequently than other string players. This can make it very difficult to play in tune. In your practice, stop after a big shift or a tricky note, and use your open strings, harmonic notes, or even a handy piano keyboard to check you’ve moved to the right place. It might be quite depressing at first but eventually, the knowledge that you can trust your left hand absolutely is very fulfilling!
5. Master It And Stick With It
The human brain learns every time you choose to do something totally new. It generates a neuron, like a small branch of a tree. Every time you repeat the EXACT same thing, with absolutely no differentiation, that branch gets a little more robust. If you do the task enough times, in the very same way, that branch becomes a solid arm. This is basically the factor where your body and mind can simply do a thing ‘without thinking about it’.
In addition to that, should you play things differently each time, you are making different neurons, different tree branches. For those who play it differently every time, 5 times, then you’ll end up with 5 neurons. Five tree branches.
So is that an issue? Yes! A branch is a choice. Any time you come to a performance and get to the relevant area if your brain has a choice of various different neurons to pick from, it might select the drastically wrong one. It might choose the one that includes a blunder in it. For once, the choice isn’t a good thing. If you have just one neuron that is accurate, the brain provides no preference – it has just one single solution – the proper one.
So always be consistently correct from the 1st time of performing something. Understand things at a pace you are able to perform well. And take note of your neurons!
6. Recommended Reading
Here are some great books that really helped me when I was starting out and I regularly recommend them to students to this day.
Music Practice: The Musician’s Guide to Practicing and Mastering your Instrument like a professional
I also highly recommend you include How to Read Music in 30 Days in your must-read list. If haven’t already read our guide on How To Read Sheet Music, then do check that out as well.
Double Bass Practice - Summary
Don’t leave practice to chance. Structure it, be conscious of what you do, and never go on “auto-pilot”. Shorter is absolutely sweeter. Print off the list and read it at the start of every week. And above all, remember to reward yourself for a job well done!
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