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best way to maximize practice??


J.A.

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ive been playing 6 years (since i was 15, holy shit im getting old...) and with going to school full time and working full time i dont have as much time to practice and i find my skill declining some...what would be some good ways to maximize the time i spend practicing so i dont start totally sucking? (p.s. before i found myself in such a time crunch i practiced 2-3 hours a day)
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ensemble practice is everything to me. without one at hand, a multitracker of some kind, or just a sequencer of some sort, is my favorite way to spend time - play live against others, even if yourself or preprogrammed stuff.

 

playback and listening to the result is key tho. not just listening to yourself, but listening to yourself in the context of the rest of an ensemble.

--_ ______________ _

"Self-awareness is the key to your upheaval from mediocrity."

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Surprised I overlooked this thread. This is an important topic.

 

Efficient practice:

 

1. Have a goal with every practice session. You don't have to get perfect with everything before you leave it. For example, say you are working on a scalar run in thirds. One of your goals might be to play it 3 times at a playable tempo, and 3 times at increasing tempi. (or "tempos") Even if it is not perfected at the fastest tempo, just being organized saves time.

 

2. Practice regularily: 10 minutes a day is better than 60 minutes on Sunday. Much better. Remember...you are developing neural connections (brain is enhancing neural net) and they are only developed by repetitive routine.

 

3. Practice the tough bits. So many people feel like they have to "start and the beginning, finish at the end" of a selection. Say you're playing a song with the CD. Turn it off, just work on the hardest 1 measure.

 

4. Warm up before practice. In my URB playing, when I was at the heighth of my ability, I would do a 2 hour practice session, and recognize I was unable to learn my material until my hands were "working." I found that in a 2 hour practice session, it would take me 1 hr. 15 min. to really get to the point where I could work.

 

On electric, warming up will include scales and isolation exercises for LH and RH. May include stretching as well. (Damn, I hate getting old!)

 

5. "Think" system practice. (apologies to "The Music Man") You don't have to have a bass in your hand to practice. You can drive, and sing the part in your head. I discovered that if I make a consistent mistake, I even MAKE IT WHEN SINGING IT! And, to a certain extent, I can re-conceptualize it away from the bass, and play to the sound in my head.

 

You can also practice fingering on your right arm sans bass.

 

6. "TV" practice. So, you're gonna chill in front of "Law and Order." It's a great time to practice. A lot of what you already do is built in. You don't think about it. Don't plug in the bass...just sit there and finger stuff. You will be surprised at how much you can learn by ignoring your playing!

 

Just a few ideas...there will be more.

"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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What DBB said about goals is really crucial.

 

It's important to set long-term goals as well, in addition to goals for each practice session. For instance, you can set goals for the week: to learn to play these specific songs, maybe. You can set goals for the month (to work through this lesson book), and for larger chunks. I find that having a sense of purpose really helps me, both so that I can focus my work towards a goal, and so that I can stay encouraged by marking goals as I achieve them. Eventually, you start to learn how you work, & what you need to do to accomplish the goals you set, & then you can make ambitious goals manageable.

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All of the suggestions so far have merit.

 

I would add that scientific studies indicate that regularity is a big factor.

Practice (of any activity) at the same time daily seems to help reinforce progress in that activity.

Also people seem to learn & operate better when they perform an activity fairly early in the day.

 

Check out the book Music, the Brain & Ecstacy by Robert Jourdain for some really informative stuff!

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Darryl Jones groove exercise:

 

Get a simple line, stick on the click and get the groove going. Now repeat for ever. Play the line over and over and over for about 20 minutes. You should get to a point where you are totally sunk into the groove.

 

Your chops won't get faster and you won't be able to play Ab super locrian across two octaves but your groove will be deeper.

Free your mind and your ass will follow.
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Originally posted by davebrownbass:

I found that in a 2 hour practice session, it would take me 1 hr. 15 min. to really get to the point where I could work.

I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

 

It takes me a good hour of warming up before I really start to feel like I'm ready to go after it.

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