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Top 5 mistakes beginners make...#4

4. Just. Not. Practicing.

It's this simple: If you want to get better at something, you have to do it over and over again. No shortcuts, no magic formulas, and no amount of youtube watching is going to makeup for the hours and hours you need to spend with your instrument. In today's day in age there is an unprecedented wealth of educational material at our fingertips on everything from mowing lawns to writing code to playing bass, and the vast majority of it is free. On paper we are the most privileged generation in terms of access to information and subsequently we should also be the most learned and proficient. This brings to mind the old adage "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" Even though we are able to access videos and articles dealing with every facet of our bass playing, unless we actually put that information to the test and absorb it through focussed, mindful practice, we are never going to grow as musicians and this is a bad place to be.

How many clinics or workshops have you been to where the answer to almost every questions could've been 'Practice'? How do you do X/Y/Z? Practice. How can I get better at X/Y/Z? Practice. What's the secret to that technique? Practice. We live in an instant gratification, 5 second attention span society and are constantly looking for quick fixes, time saving tips and ways to get things now, now, now. Well, music doesn't work like that. Your fingers are going to be sore for days. Those dots on the page are going to laugh at you. The metronome will seem like your worst enemy. But the more time you spend practicing, (and I mean actually working on things you aren't good at, not playing stuff you already know) the easier all this will become and you will begin to see incredible fruits to your labour. Obviously having good material to work on, clear and achievable goals and a good practice space will help you to get motivated to plug in and get to work. As will the following: good teacher, a passion for music, jamming with other musicians and broadening your musical palette by listening to all kinds of music. Also keep this in mind when learning material off YouTube or similar sources: practice makes permanent, not perfect. That is, if we practice something incorrectly over and over again, it will become ingrained in our playing and become incredibly difficult to ‘unlearn’. For this reason I recommend finding a good, reputable teacher to help keep your playing on track and to motivate, encourage and challenge you to become the bass player you want to be.

So if you need some help figuring out what it is you need to practice and the best way to achieve your goals, get in touch to organise a lesson either via Skype or in person and get ready to put the hours in ;)

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