LAMA Bass Department Chair Jerry Watts Jr. today announced Andrew Gouche will join Juan Alderete, Abe Laboriel Sr. and Lee Sklar as Artists-in-Residence at LAMA, effective immediately. Gouche, considered to be a premiere gospel bassist (who also plays across many other genres), has more than 30 years of experience. He is best known for playing or recording with Reverend James Cleveland, Prince, Chaka Khan (also music director), Madonna, Destiny’s Child, Whitney Houston and many others as well as for his production work on Kelly Clarkson’s Grammy-winning album Thankful.
We’re ecstatic to have Andrew on board. Read the entire press release on LAMA’s site here: http://bit.ly/10kYN3R
Korean bassist Key Kim talks about why he chose to study bass at LAMA College for Music Professionals, and what typical life is like in the bass department (video is in Korean with English subtitles). Check out more student videos, LAMA instruction lessons and student and alumni performances on our channel here: http://www.youtube.com/lamusicacademy
LAMA’s Bass Department Jerry Watts was featured on For Bass Players Only, doing an exclusive interview with writer Jon Liebman. Watts chats about his musical upbringing, playing bass, LAMA and his first instrument, the accordion! Get the complete lowdown, here: http://www.forbassplayersonly.com/Interviews/Jerry-Watts.html.
Did you ever get to see the Mars Volta play live? It was always an epic show creating and destroying musical boundaries. There was one man at the center of it all holding down the rhythm and bringing us that amazing low end. That man is Juan Alderete and as we announced on the LAMA site last week, he has joined the LAMA Bass Department as an Artist-in-Residence.
Juan has been on our radar here at the blog even before his turn with TMV. He played bass with LA noise legends Distortion Felix on their Steve Albini produced debut “I’m an Athlete” and his work with Racer X is equally cool. Juan has invested in his own musical projects of late including Big Sir and Vato Negro and recently launched the extremely popular website, www.pedalsandeffects.com. He is endorsed by Fender Basses and Behringer.
Lucky bass department today…the master class at LAMA featured Juan Alderete, probably best known as bassist for Racer X and The Mars Volta. Students in all departments pursuing degree programs at LAMA get to experience master classes with amazing musicians from around the globe. For more info visit lama.edu.
LA Music Academy’s Doug Ross graduated with honors from MI in 1988 and the University of Maryland in 1992. For over twenty years, he has performed, recorded and taught bass all over the world, including four years as head of the bass department at Fukuoka School of Music in Japan. A few of the artists that Doug has recorded or performed with include Brett Garsed, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Otmaro Ruiz, Fantasia Musical Circus, Katia Moraes and Sambaguru, Gregg Bissonette, and jazz pianist Ron Kobayashi. Information on Doug’s activities and recent solo album can be found on his website at www.dougross.net.
Doug features quite a few bass lessons on his website here - http://dougross.net/bass-lessons/ – and he’s allowed us to “borrow” one for the Get to the Music blog! In this condensed version of his lesson, Doug offers tips for practicing your bass. Not all as obvious as you’d think!
Practice Tips For Bassists
by Doug Ross
If you’ve already been playing for a while, you have probably come to the realization that bass ain’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. Playing any instrument well requires a long-term commitment to disciplined practice. I have personally experienced the frustration and wasted effort of bad practice habits, and I’ve also seen many students struggle to keep on track. With the hope of helping you to avoid some potential pitfalls, here are my suggestions for maintaining a healthy practice routine:
1. Every Day is the Only Way
Practice 5-6 days a week. Regularity of your practice routine will get you where you want to go. Practicing 10 hours a day only on the weekends will never yield results like practicing one hour a day all through the week.
2. What Do I Suck At?
This is the first thing I ask myself every time I sit down to practice — the guiding principle for setting my practice priorities. After working on one skill for a while (like reading music for example), it gets better and becomes a relative strength.
3. Practicing vs. Goofing Around
Let’s define “practice” as solitary, focused work on musical skills you haven’t yet mastered. That excludes a lot of other valid musical activities: performing, jamming with others, listening to music, playing familiar tunes and licks, rehearsing with a band, and just goofing around with your bass for fun.
4. Budget Your Time
If you can only consistently do one hour a day or even 30 minutes a day, then plan on that and divide up your hour into small chunks of time for each item on your “suck list”. Even 5 or 10 minutes per subject per day can yield some progress.
5. Break Before Burnout
If you are practicing for longer stretches of time, it’s important not to run yourself into the ground on any one topic. Remember, we’re working on new, difficult stuff here, so frustration is a real danger. Figure out your own attention span, and make sure that you get in the habit of switching subjects before you start pounding your fists on the music stand or your eyes glaze over.
6. First No Time, Then Slow Time
Give yourself the luxury of playing out of time at first. Once your fingers are making the right moves, then you’re ready to turn on the metronome at a slow setting and add that timekeeping element into the equation. If you’re consistently making mistakes, that means you’re probably going faster than you’re ready to play, or biting off too big a chunk of music, which leads me to my next point…..
7. Isolate the Difficult Bits
Don’t waste time going back to the beginning of that Beethoven piece every time, it’s just half notes and you can already play it! It’s that tricky shift in the middle that keeps tripping you up, so what you need to do is isolate those few bars and work them out. Repeat them a bunch of times, and once that’s solid, make sure you can also nail the transition from the easy part into the hard part.
8. Practice in All 12 Keys and in All Neck Positions
Yes, it’s kind of a drag. It’s one thing to understand a musical idea conceptually, but it’s something else to truly master it. You don’t really own anything until you can play it in all keys.