Everybody started out as a beginner, no exceptions. There was a point in every bass player's life when they struggled to hold down the E string on the first fret, or didn't know where to find a Bb on the D string...and that's ok, we've all been there. The main thing is what we do to overcome these issues.
Being able to identify a problem, explain why it's a hindrance and then construct a practice element to fix it, is one reason having good teacher can really help fast track your progress. I’d like to begin this blog series with one of the most common mistakes made by beginners:
1. Practicing without a metronome or drum loop.
Laying down a groove. Locking in. Playing in the pocket. I'm sure we'd all agree that these are good job descriptions of our role as bass players. Playing with good time is essential in all genres of music, however, a lot of students I see seem more focused with playing 'the right notes' than playing at 'the right time'.
I encourage, as much as possible, for practice to be done with some sort of time keeping device to promote listening and also as a way to track your progress. When working on a new piece or exercise, start SLOW, I cannot emphasise this enough. Our brains learn best through concerted, mindful practice and doing things slowly and intentionally is the best way to build a solid foundation. Having enough time to check note length, left hand position, right hand articulation, check what's coming next etc; can only be achieved by starting off slowly and gradually increasing the tempo.
So dust off the metronome, load up some loops, check out some exercises here and get ready to improve your inner groove ;)