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Help - any bass teachers out there?


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OK, I've been playing bass (and guitar) for about 12 years, I play in a band here in LA, and I'd like to start teaching some lessons for extra cash. I've never taught bass lessons before, and I'm sure I could scare up some clients, but I'm not quite sure how to get them started. Any bass teachers out there - let me know if there are good books for beginners, any good resources online or elsewhere for exercises, etc. Any advice would also be greatly appreciated!


Oh, I play electric, rock-style, and I figure I'll be teaching beginners. I don't have school training, but I've had a lot of lessons & teachers, good & bad, to learn from. I'm a pretty weak music reader, but I can sharpen up pretty quick if need be.


Feel free to contact me off-list: david@thesatchelpages.com





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This has been discussed before, in great depth. You'll find a lot of information by using a search.


I would just add...make sure you have something to sell before you try to sell it.


Great playing does not a great teacher make...I don't mean to sound rude, but "picking up extra cash" is not the best motivation for becoming a teacher. Yeah, the cash is nice.


I personally would not send a student to someone who couldn't read really well. Also, I would make sure you were very well versed in many different styles. It's a small market if you only teach those who like the same music you like.


For example: I teach several things; reading and chord chart interpretation and theory at the same time and so on. I also start with country music (because of the root fifth bass line) and proceed directly to jazz in most instances. I also will take a song, or set of changes and "interpret" them for the students in a variety of styles, country, "eighth note rock," reggae, western swing, walking bass and so on. A simple song like "Ob La Di."


I only do this once, and just to show the student the power the bass player has in developing a sound through a bass line.


I NEVER teach the student a song they bring in. It is simply not a good use of time they pay for.


Good Luck.

"Let's raise the level of this conversation" -- Jeremy Cohen, in the Picasso Thread.


Still spendin' that political capital far faster than I can earn it...stretched way out on a limb here and looking for a better interest rate.

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I had a great bass playing teacher a few years back. He was a phenomenal player and knew bass inside and out. He was also a phenomenal guitar player, and usually played guitar to accompany my lessons.

Problem was that for all of his knowledge, he wasn't able to effectively communicate it to me. I'd played for several years before I began under his tutelage, and so was technically adept enough for the material, but the theory he tried to impart just didn't sink in.


The point: some people just can't teach, or at the least need to develop the skill of teaching.


Also, (as always) DBB is right on the money with the point on reading. You must be very proficient at reading both bass and treble staff to teach well. Anyone who learns bass formally should be taught staff, otherwise there is no really good way to communicate theory.


And then there is the whole point of what material to teach your students. They will come in (most of them) and want to learn how to play rock. I say that this is a bad place to start. If they want to learn how to play the next radio hit, they will learn the technique pretty fast on their own. Young students (after being shown how to actually play the bass) should learn staff, then scales, then chords. It all branches from there...


Teaching will make you a better player and musician. It is for these reasons that I have thought about teaching bass, but I know that I have a long way to go before I can even think about this.


good luck...

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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There's lots to teaching.


I began teaching after I got my degree in music.


Then I went back to school to get a music teaching credential and the things I learned made me a better teacher.


It helps if you have seen someone teach a lesson. All the years of music lessons and classes I took just went straight into the memory banks and gave me something to draw on when I started teaching.


It also helped that I had already been through every bass book on the market when I started so that I knew what material was good and what I didn't like.


I ended up writing all my teaching material myself.


Of course my motivation when I started gigging (at age 15) was just to pick up some extra cash, so it's not always the worst motivation.


But it helps if you really want to help people learn.

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First of all, thanks for all of your replies. I think I was too glib when I wrote the original message - I have a genuine interest in teaching, that's why I'm really interested in pursuing this.


I've learned a good deal of theory through my own personal study, and I've had loads of guitar and bass lessons (among other instruments). I've noticed that usually the best teachers play their instrument the least during the lessons - they're much more focused on coaching than on "here, watch me play it perfectly and learn from the master."


Also, remember that not everyone is into the same type of music. I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there would would like to take lessons for a few months, maybe, just to get up to speed to play rock, punk, pop, or whatever. That's not to say I would ignore the fundamentals, but I don't think it would be the worst thing in the world to offer that service. If they grow beyond what I can teach, then I'd be more than happy to recommend a more advanced teacher. I know, for myself, that I almost never play anything I find physically challenging in my little rock band, but I love it and wouldn't trade it for the best jazz gig in the world. It's all a matter of opinion, right?


Finally, I find that in general, I tend to learn something best when I teach it to someone else. So I feel that working with students would probably improve my skills as well - not at their expense, but as a mutual benefit.

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Teaching is absolutely one of the best ways to learn. Having to prepare for classes or lessons from a teaching perspective -- that is, making sure you know your stuff and are ready for general student curiosity -- makes you look at material in a new way. Often figuring out the best way to break stuff down for students, helps clarify your own understandings. It also helps you identify where you don't have the right knowledge or skills and need to improve yourself.


Keep us posted on how this adventure progresses.



Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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