How I Became The Songs Not Scales Guy

...and why after 12 years I'm moving away from that!

Back when I first started posting videos on YouTube - 2009 - I was the first teacher to post detailed breakdowns of songs. And often easy songs and classic songs.

There were two reasons for that:

1) In the 90s I had a desire to get as good as I could be on the bass and - long story short - I studied with a guy touted as the best private teacher in the UK. I invested hundeds and hundreds of hours practicing scales and arpeggios from his teaching - not to mention the thousands of pounds AND the thousands of hours travel time getting to and from his lessons. After 2 years I quit because I'd practiced more than I'd ever practiced and yet didn't improve a bit.

SIDEBAR - BIG MISTAKE: I assumed I'd not made any progress because I'd reached the ceiling of my 'natural talent.'  Never occurred to me to question his teaching methodology. /END SIDEBAR

Truth is that 95% of  bass players (probably more) don't need to know how to play  two octave scales for all the modes of the harmonic minor scale.

2) When I started posting videos on YouTube there were already a few bass players posting on the Toob....but mostly they were the bass equivalent of shredding videos. "Hey, Look at this insane lick that I can play."

And most of this was irrelevant to someone who wanted to: 1. learn some songs and then; 2. progress to playing said songs with their friends and/or other musicians.And I've made a big thing over the years of song based learning and creating learning sequences by stringing progressively harder songs together so that your playing has to improve as you move through the sequence.

In principle there's nothing wrong with that methodology.

But it's inefficient.

Especially if you look at learning a song in isolation and learn the notes for each individual section and put it together.For sure, you'll get through that song.

But I now see it's like the equivalent of teaching someone to speak by getting them to pronounce every letter in every word. And never learning to put those letter together into words.

I've been moving away from songs for a while now - in fact I've not put a new song tutorial together for nearly 18 months (anything you see is from my archive).

In the next article I'll talk about the teaching words approach - which like one of those weird visual puzzles becomes obvious when you can see it (or even more obvious when you HEAR it) and I'll share a cool story about Pino Palladino which I think illustrates this.

Hit the blue CONTINUE button to check this out:

Paul Wolfe/