Practice is a very important part of being a musician. To get better at being an expressive musician you must have the technical ability to play the way that you want. Only practice can give you this. We all start with a certain amount of natural talent but practice is what separates the brilliant from the average.
So here are some pointers to get you started.
1) Preparation – With all the best will in the world obstacles to practice can stop you before you start. So the ideal is to have your instrument out of its case and ready to be used at all times. Invest in a stand and if necessary have it connected to an amplifier. You will practice more if all you have to do is tune your instrument and then get started.
2) Technique – Always start with warm ups. You are using your body so it will work better if it is warmed up. Below are some simple warm ups for both your hands.
The strumming hand – Always start by strumming all of the strings on your instrument. Do this for at least 3 minutes with the last minute gradually getting faster.
Although this isn’t how you play the bass it will warm up your strumming hand.
If you only finger pick the bass then finger pick one string for 3 minutes with the last minute gradually getting faster.
The fingering hand – Take an exercise that uses all the fingers and repeat it for all the strings. You can either play the strings with the strumming hand or hammer the notes or a combination of both. Start on fret 1 (the fret next to the Nut, where the strings pass through) for finger 1, Fret 2 for finger 2, Fret 3 for finger 3 and Fret 4 for finger 4.
Here are 2 suggestions, Finger 1 is the finger next to the thumb and so on away from the thumb:-
1, 3, 2, 4.
1, 3, 4, 2.
3) Playing – This is very important. Always practice for a while and then play for a while. Playing is a piece that you can achieve and that you enjoy.
4) Practice Music – This is when you practice pieces of music that you cannot play comfortably. Look out for a more detailed approach to practicing music in a later post.
5) Playing – Always finish by playing something that you like to play.
Set yourself a time for your practice session and try and repeat this every day.
It is better to practice 15 minutes a day than an hour once a week.
If you want to get better I recommend that you practice at least 30 minutes a day.