What are some of the biggest mistakes people make when learning to play bass? People are sometimes directed in the wrong direction when attempting to learn a new instrument. They get involved with the wrong teacher or try and learn on their own. There are options, for sure – personal one-on-one lessons, online lessons, video lessons.
Here are a few mistakes made:
It Takes Work
Most of us can’t just pick up an instrument, buy a book and begin playing. It takes hours and hours and years to master an instrument. When it comes to bass guitar, it doesn’t matter what you can afford, where you reside or what nationality you are, you have to put the work in to perfecting it.
What are Your True Abilities?
A lot of new students think one of two things- either they think they’re amazing or they think they’re not ever going to be good enough. Both of these scenarios are not good for the student or the teacher. If you have a student that is constantly down on themselves, it will prevent them from progressing. As a teacher, you need to encourage them to just do it! No fear! On the flipside, those who think they are the most amazing players do a huge disservice to themselves. They miss their faults and you just can’t fix what you don’t know. This is why it’s so important to have an instructor, they can hear things and guide you.
Start Playing With Others
It may seem a little intimidating to play with others when you’re just starting out but this is the best way to progress. When you play with others and make mistakes in front of somebody, you’re more apt to become better by practicing more, listening to veteran players, and hearing how it sounds played correctly. You’ll start prioritizing what you’re going to practice. Find some friends to play with, put your nerves aside.
Beginners Need to Listen
Not just to your instructor but to yourself. You might think you sound amazing but you could be out of tune or be in the wrong key. Just because your fingers are on the right frets doesn’t mean the notes are coming out right.
Too Much, Too Fast
When we see musicians who are extremely talented, they tend to play fast so when we start playing, we want to be able to do the same thing – which is not a good idea. Beginners shouldn’t attempt this – while it’s fun for a moment, it’s a hard habit to break. There are more important things than playing fast, as you can develop bad habits. So be careful at the beginning to not go too fast too soon. Start out slowly and try to be as accurate as possible. This will give you the opportunity to pay attention to detail in your playing.
There is so much to learn out there and you will always feel like you can do better – it’s a lifetime of learning. If you don’t take your time in learning this new instrument, you will experience a lot of mistakes. There is no time limit on learning something new. Don’t rush through it- take your time and take it all in. There will be times where you get frustrated but you’ll need to push through that feeling- enjoy every moment. Music mimics your life- do you!
Learning Music Origins-Why it’s Important
Everything has a beginning, including music. Would you start teaching a history class from the present or learn what lead up to where we are now? Most new students want to play the latest and greatest music, without knowing where it originated from. You can’t know what’s happening now without knowing what happened in the past. This is what helps us grow that much more in this industry. You may even discover that you love jazz more than you thought after doing a more in-depth study of it. Or that you really don’t love Rock as much as you thought. People get stuck on one genre but in reality, if you like one kind of music, you more than likely like other ones too – you just don’t know it because you’re in tunnel vision on one genre. If you are a wanna-be, true musician then you’re going to want to study different types of music. Different types of music offer different types of concepts that you could utilize in your playing. Explore it all!
Not Having a Good Time
If you’re not having fun, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t continue on with lessons. It takes time and patience to learn to play bass, it will be boring at times but well worth it in the end. With that being said, make sure you’re practicing things that bring you joy along with those tedious things that are not so fun.
Don’t Just Learn Tabs and Songs
As previously mentioned, you have to get an understanding of how music works – harmony, rhythm, notes, melody – along with the technique to play them. Without that foundation, it will be difficult to grasp the full benefit of songs you are learning. You don’t want to learn songs just for the sake of learning songs. This should be a small part of your practice sessions. Just because you are learning and mastering a song, doesn’t mean you have learned about the bass or the music that you’re playing. Ask yourself – what am I going to take away from this practice session and/or learning this song? Think of the concepts of the music, how they decided to use the notes and rhythms. This is how you become more creative. This is what you’ll need to learn to write your own music, if that’s something you’re striving for. If you’re not doing all you can to learn the ins and outs of the bass, you’re not going to get much out of it
Finding a Good Bass Teacher
Finding a good bass teacher can put you on the path to wanting more, for sure. Take your time to talk to several different teachers. Don’t just choose someone because they are convenient to your location. If you have to drive a bit and the teacher is awesome, then make the drive. My son wanted to play guitar when he was 5 but nobody close by would teach someone that young so we kept on searching until we found someone – she was 30 minutes away. It was totally worth the drive. He is an adult now and still plays! Don’t be afraid to try different teachers as each one might provide a different style. Don’t get just a guitar teacher – bass is a totally different instrument. You need to find a bass guitar teacher that has spent some time playing and studying the bass. Online bass guitar lessons are one option too. Look into all avenues.