Your Goals Need To Be Specific And Measurable
Or you might want to work on gaining the ability to create spontaneous bass lines to chord progressions. Or you might want to work on improving your transcribing skills.
There’s hundreds of different bass playing goals you could have – and they depend on a unique combination of your current ability level, and where you want to actually get to.
(Sidebar – it’s also possible to have multiple goals and be working on several different aspects of bass playing at the same time. If this is the case, try and work on mutually beneficial areas so that as you make progress in one area, it fuels your progress in other areas.)
These ‘broad strokes’ also act as signposts on your journey. Once you’ve established these stepping stones, then you need to work out how you can actually achieve each of those stepping stones, and convert that into a disciplined practice routine to achieve the first step.
The Importance Of Writing Everything Down
Those weekly and daily practice schedules should have goals too by the way. One of the biggest improvements I ever made to my learning schedule was to buy a cheap digital timer that I could set for specific periods of time.
Then when I was practicing I would do my first exercise for the allotted time. When the digital timer beeped to tell me I was done I would turn it off, put a tick next to the first exercise on my daily practice sheet, have a drink and noodle for 20 seconds on my bass.
And then I’d turn to exercise number 2, reset the timer, set the timer going and count myself off.
Being this focused allows you to:
1) Ignore anything that doesn’t lead to the achievement of your goal.
2) Maximise the effectiveness of your practice time.
3) Accurately track your practice time.
4) Allows you to audit how much ‘real practice’ you are doing.
5) Allows you to ‘noodle’ on your bass to reset your attention and not noodle for long periods and think you’re practicing.
Setting goals and planning your practice is one of the most effective ways you align your practicing efforts with what you actually want to achieve and ensure that you are constantly making progress.
This Article first appeared in my weekly magazine First Bass And Beyond