Lessons that fall into the Technique compentency are focused on the development of your overall facility, dexterity, accuracy, and endurance for both the fretting and plucking hands. This category also covers specific skills needed to execute particular playing styles, such as slap bass, tapping, double-thumbing, or sweeping. These lessons focus on the mechanics behind each playing style and help the bass player to develop technical headroom that allows him/her to negotiate the fretboard with greater confidence and ease.
The Ear Training competency is made up of lessons that are designed to help eliminate the disconnect that often exists between what a player hears and what he/she sees on the bass. In other words, it focuses on players’ ability to play or interpret phrases or melodic lines, chord types, rhythms, and other musical nuances naturally and intuitively without having to do so using mere ‘trial and error’ or evaluatory processes. These lessons help to diminish a player’s reliance on shapes and patterns and also helps him/her to communicate more effectively on the instrument.
Applied Harmony & Theory
Applied Harmony & Theory refers to the specific way in which musical components like scales & modes, arpeggios, and chord forms are played and utilized on the bass guitar. These lessons relate music theory concepts directly to the fingerboard and present strategies and exercises for making practical use of these concepts in performance settings. This competency essentially takes the ‘math’ of music and applies it directly to the bass guitar environment.
Lessons in this competency present concepts and strategies for building effective solos, bass fills, and other improvised lines or phrases in a variety of musical settings. Although in typical scenarios the bass player’s role is primarily foundational, these lessons can be vital to a bass player’s understanding of the relationship between harmony and melody. Both universal and style-specific concepts are covered, including such topics as harmonization, substitutions, and implied tonalities. These are essential tools for the player looking to establish their own unique voice.`
This competency includes lessons covering style-specific bass playing concepts designed to help the aspiring bassist to become more well-rounded and versatile. These lessons focus on traditional approaches to grooves and phrasing based on the style’s history, and they help to increase overall versatility by exposing the bass player to a variety of style-based approaches. Topics such as note choice, dynamics, tone, and feel are covered in detail.
Groove & Time Keeping
Groove and Timekeeping lessons comprise some of the most important and foundational concepts for bass players in particular. This competency focuses on developing a player’s internal clock and fine-tuning his/her awareness of time and space within the music. By developing a natural sense of time, a bassist is able to perform and interact with greater expression and freedom, while at the same time inspiring confidence for the entire musical ensemble in both performance and recording scenarios.
This competency is characterized by lessons and studies that are designed to help bass players become better at sight-reading standard notation, lead sheets, and chord charts. Reading is a valuable skill far-too-often neglected by many bass players; however, it is vitally important for the bass player to be competent if he/she wants to be hired for gigs or sessions that require it. Another benefit that comes from practicing reading is the enhanced knowledge of the fingerboard resulting from regularly relating notation to corresponding pitch locations on the strings of the bass guitar.