Revisiting New Year’s Resolutions!

Revisiting New Year's Resolutions

It is a bit past the middle of the year. Revisiting New Year’s Resolutions is a great strategy to reinforce what’s working and tweak what is not

If revisiting New Year’s Resolutions in the middle of the year is not your idea of a good time, you may need this conversation more than ever.

  • Either you made them and followed them and all is working well, then great, you have no reason to worry.
  • If they are getting you some results, tweak and keep going.
  • If, however, you feel like you “blew it” and you’ll “try again next January”, then let’s talk.
  • Or if you gave up on them a long time ago because you failed too many times, read on.
  • And if New Year’s Resolutions just aren’t your thing I hope you have some other benchmark by which you measure your personal progress. If there are things you’d like to achieve and are leaving them on the table or if there are changes you’d like to make, it most certainly IS worth continuing to try until you found a way that gets you what you are after.

In any event, it is very beneficial to check in on how things are going, periodically.

Because the best news is…

No matter where you are at – there is still time to make improvements! And the time to do that and really make a dent for the next New Year’s Resolutions is now.

New Year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to keep. If that is you, who fell off a wagon there, you are not alone. But science and research has uncovered several factors that do indeed help you get the results you are after, be they health-related, personal or bass related!

Some of these are:

  • Aim for small doable goals. Expand from there. Check out the Tiny Habits Method, it’s free, it is scientifically validated, and it works. Thousands can attest to that. I am such a fan that I took their training to be certified! Change your habits for free at
  • Get peer support. A witness for your progress. Someone cheering for you. Check in with them regularly. That’s why WeightWatchers has staying power. That’s why colleges and going to school really works to reach seemingly insurmountable goals. Support! It can be an online board, a teacher. Tweak until it works for you.
  • Distraction is your biggest enemy. Tomorrow. Later. Whatever you need to do to keep you focused, do it. These days more than ever before distractions linger at every corner. Set a timer and for those 5, 10, or 30 minutes do the thing you say you want to do. Non-negotiable. You will feel so much better after you did it!
  • Be okay with doing something badly, whether it is practicing or working out. I recently had a discussion about this with Victor Wooten, who said the same thing, allow yourself to do something badly, to make mistakes. I could not agree more!
  • Cheer for yourself. Celebrate your successes, however small. Our attitude towards us makes or breaks everything. Maybe an adjustment here is helpful. I get that that is hard, as usually negative voices aim to protect us from disappointment. This, too, you may do badly: find some responses to the negative voices that make at least some sense. If these negative things were spoken about someone else, what would you say to them?
  • Aim for a run streak. It’s a little game to play with yourself, but it can be very effective. Got me flossing without interruption through January 1st 2018 til today. I have a run streak on my meditation app that is over 1000 days long and I obsess over it. It’s been helpful! Read here about how to apply this to bass.

Interestingly as I am pondering these thoughts this classic Talking Technique Episode happened to be up next for reposting to the blog. It is a post on New Year’s Resolutions and practicing tips and got posted on notreble in January 2018. At the time I was in the process of developing a support system for our Music Theory for the Bass Player course. At the beginning of 2019, we rolled out a version of this new program, calling it our “New Years Cohort“. The Cohort Program comes complete with

  • peer support
  • a before-after skills assessment
  • regular commitments
  • regular video submissions
  • feedback from peers and teachers in an encouraging improvement-oriented environment
  • small defined bite-sized units
  • positive attitude

This is what Cohort course participants say:

  • There is something very powerful about making a public commitment and then following it up with a recording of that exercise… and the video you record is incredibly eye-opening! (Fred P)
  • “Recording myself has made me accountable to the commitment I’ve promised.  It has helped me overcome any fear I have about demonstrating progress I’ve made through my practicing of the material I’ve committed to record.”  
  • “Recording myself has enabled me to see the progress I’ve made by the practicing I’ve done.  It serves as a record of my progress as I look back over time at the recording to assure me of how far I’ve come in my bass studies.” (Kevin G)
  • “The cohort has made me accountable so I work steadily towards the goal of completing the course.  It adds that extra layer of accountability which serves as motivation during those times when it’s easy to simply put things off for ‘another day’.”
  • “I joined the cohort in January and have found recording myself to be invaluable.  It lets you spot areas of technique that you should be concentrating on. The Cohort is excellent and I can honestly say I have played for a minimum of 30 minutes each day since 20th Jan when it started. Everyone is so friendly and supportive. I feel like I have improved more in 4 weeks than I did in the last 4 months.” (Chris D)
Cohorts are a big commitment in time for us, so we have to be careful to keep things small. If you are interested in taking part in a small cohort, please email

Below is the notreble post. Let me know in the comments, how have you been fairing with your resolutions! What have you found helpful? What are some of your goals around bass playing?

Read the notreble post here.

And this article on “Why just keep playing is not working”, referenced in it. I get responses to it to this very day as it has inspired a lot of people.

Whatever you do, go for it. Do it badly at first, then do it better. You got this. Better now than never.


Music Theory Cohort

Things you never knew iRealPro can do! (Video Tutorial)

iRealPro tutorial

Practice tips galore in this iRealPro Tutorial

From how to get started with the program, to downloading songs, to using its practice capabilities to the fullest. iRealPro is a great practice tool!

Did you know you can create loops that change the key so you can shed transposing? Or put a click on 2 and 4? How ‘bout pulling up chord scales from its library?

(Like any app, it has its limitations or can turn into a crutch, but when used wisely it is a wonderful practice aid!)

Of course, nothing beats playing with real people, but this will go a long way towards getting you ready and confident walking, shedding solos and practicing your transposing skills!

Check it out…

Watch my Student… play Beautiful Practice in Eb!

Student Feature: Beautiful Practice Practica Bella Carmie
Scroll down to watch the video

Student Feature: Beautiful Practice

Beautiful Practice is a practice regimen that tackles a whole legion of core challenges:

  • the diatonic cycle
  • arpeggios
  • inversions of triads
  • open voicings
  • going up the bass neck in a systematic way
  • string crossing
  • playing with a hocket delay 

It is a bear on your right hand, left hand and your mind!

Here is Carmie in a student feature playing it for you in Eb. He calls it “Practica Bella”. I am beyond beaming here watching him play it! Even more impressed knowing he has only been playing a few years! Amazing!

Carmie is super dedicated, having gone through my course twice, in addition to private lessons with me. I am so happy to see the pay off he is getting for his efforts! Please show him some love and well-deserved props in the comments below! (Plus, how about that cool video filter?!!)

I presented this exercise that I co-developed with Wolf in a Talking Technique Episode called “Beautiful Practice” a while back. It was so successful that I followed it up with a version in minor.

It is a very satisfying exercise because it doesn’t even sound like an exercise, but rather a piece of music (Bach, anyone?). And once you have done it in a few different keys, that diatonic cycle is yours!

Why is that diatonic cycle so useful to know? Because the entirety of it or parts of it show up in songs all the time! Even the Blues changes give a nod to the diatonic cycle, as is the case with so many recognizable tunes (i.e. Isn’t She Lovely, Oh won’t you Stay (just a Little Bit Longer) etc etc etc. 

For the entire diatonic cycle look no further than songs such as Fly me to the Moon (major), Still got the Blues, Autumn Leaves, Spain or Europa by Santana (minor).


Now it’s your turn!

Here is the PDF of Beautiful Practice in G major.

Got your own Beautiful Practice exercise? Post your video in the comments if you’d like. I’d love to see it!

Happy Practicing!



Thank you for your vote!

This post is a big shout of thanks to all who voted for me!

I have been busy recording and releasing the new Ear Training Course for you, so I am just now getting to the big news that – thanks to your votes – I am one of four winners! The prize is a feature interview with Joel McIver and I get to be on the cover of the July edition of Bass Guitar Magazine (UK) or Bass Player Magazine (US). For this cover, all four winners get featured in a collectible cover rotation. I share the cover duty with Joe Dart of Vulfpeck, Mohini Dey and Michael League of Snarky Puppy. Pretty great company, ‘eh?

Make sure to check out their interviews, the gear reviews and more. I haven’t even seen it yet, so I can’t wait to see which cover will come to my mailbox.

I have been reading Bass Player Magazine for decades. I love the gear talk, transcriptions, interviews and stories from the road. I’ve even gifted subscriptions to students and friends. And I have big boxes and shelves full of old editions that I refer to regularly. It is incredible and humbling for me to be on the cover. And I really enjoyed the interviews Joel McIver has been conducting with me. They call me the “Education Guru” – I like that :).

Bass Player/Guitar Magazine also invited me to London Bass Day this September to do a clinic. Woohoo! Hope to see many of you there! After that event, I am heading to Marleaux’s Tiefgang seminar. If anyone would like to organize clinics or group lessons, I will be in Europe for quite a while, feel free to contact me.

So many on this list are my very own heroes, it is just amazing to me to be among them and then be featured in such a way. So, Thank You to all my students, forum participants, blog readers, OoN fans, Esmeralda fans, Nick Phillips and Ariane Cap fans, Facebook followers- everyone who voted and made this happen. Much love back ‘atcha!

 Grab it in print at and in digital at!

Find out more about the poll and the other nominees here