A cool thread on talkbass.net discusses learning and expectations in the learning process. The OP took our Music Theory for the Bass Player course. And he made many wonderful comments yet he also said he hadn’t come as far as he had hoped. The thread inspired a blog post… (thanks all!)
Nobody Said This Was Going to be Easy!
I know our courses and books are not the easiest. In fact, they are deliberately designed this way – not to be needlessly hard, but to challenge just a bit with each progressive lesson. I am all about deep learning (which is what I truly believe is needed if one wants to become a true musician and tap into their own creativity to craft their own bass lines/improvs/fills with confidence – and not just copy or play TAB).
The theory course the OP took is super-deep and multi-layered. Many of our coaches and students have gone through it multiple times and without fail they always comment how much more they picked up the second (or third) time through! *
Revisiting previous lessons shows you how far you’ve come and how the learning process becomes easier and easier! We show you precisely how to practice every step of the way, often just along with the video.
There is “mindless practicing” and there is “deep learning”. And if you do the latter – as we show you – it may not be fast and flashy, but with consistency it transforms you not only as a bassist but as a person when you start approaching music this way.
This is especially true in the Pattern System, where we do mental practicing and training of the musical mind on a very deep level. (We recommend that you’re confident with theory basics before you start, which is why we created the 20 Week course first.) All of these drills are tough but they build real skill and some say even character.
Shaping Your Musical Mind
Most importantly: this regimen builds your craft, which shapes your mind. And as they say:
The Muses like to come to a prepared mind.
Additional Support Can Make All the Difference
I did notice that while some people love self-directed learning and thrive on reading our books or taking our courses at their own pace, others would like more support, which is why we have added a variety of additional resources you may find helpful:
- We added a coaching program (next round starting January 2023) where we have accountability and community support. You submit homework in video form and receive feedback from coaches and peers.
- We added a feature tier that allows you to get feedback from me on your video submissions.
- We also created a weekly live practice group that meets Fridays at 5PM for 45 minutes. For those looking for a slim and super affordable boost of theory four times a month, this would be the way to go. Getting live real-time feedback from me in a small group setting has proven very effective and turned out to be just what so many need to “stick with it” and go all the way.
Here Are a Few Things I Have Learned From 20+ Years of Teaching:
- Progress is never fast enough.
- Wanting to improve never stops, no matter where you are (a good thing!!).
- Appreciating what you have learned is a skill and attitude that needs to be cultivated.
- Focus these days is undermined at every turn (social media, alerts and notifications, big marketing promises… ) It’s a trap that is all too easy to get lured into: At the exact time when the going gets tough you are invited to jump from one new thing to the next one…
- And if you get caught in that cycle, where will you be in a year’s time (or ten!) jumping from course to course without improving? The glowing promise of escaping your rut with new shiny objects is a trap. There is no substitute for putting in the hard work.
- The good news is that focus can be trained. Nobody said this was easy, but it can have a profoundly healing effect on the brain. And one of the best ways I have found to help my attention is to do mental practice on the bass. These days it is like a meditation, I call it bass meditation! (This is what we do in the Pattern System!)
- True confidence-boosting improvement on the bass feels absolutely amazing and even just a small taste of it will help you stick with it. It goes beyond just enjoying playing more, you realize the possibilities and yearn to free the musician inside you!
Proof I really want you to succeed!
My goal is to give you the biggest bang for your practice buck. The fastest path to focusing and learning effectively. I am obsessed with wanting our students to be super successful with our materials, our books dog-eared and full of notes and highlighter.
So bringing it all home, I’d like to extend the following offer to anyone interested in the Friday Theory Live Class: Audit one of the classes (for free) and find out for yourself if it’s a good fit. Click below to get the zoom link! We have a newbie as well as a more intermediate version you can sit in on! No obligation, just bring your bass!
Good luck everyone with your bass studies! Enjoy the journey, it sure is one heck of one, isn’t it!
*That’s one of the reasons we offer lifetime access to the 20-unit course materials. There is so much to learn and the more facility you have the more you can “go to town” with the drills.