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Join a Rock Band in One Month, from Scratch

Join a Rock Band in One Month, from Scratch

I’m going to spill the beans on a rock music secret – the difference between an absolute beginner and someone playing bass guitar in a rock band is about three months. The bass guitar is an easy instrument to play.

Now, before all the bassies out there start tweeting angrily at me, I’ll qualify that statement further. The bass guitar is an easy instrument to play as long as you stick to simple bass lines. Fortunately, rock music is full of great and well-known songs with bass lines that would fall into that category.

With my interest in Edtech as well as my experience as a professional guitar tutor and frontman for several amateur rock bands, this article was inevitable. What I’m going to do is outline a four week schedule, to take you from beginner to band-ready. To achieve this, we’re going to rely entirely on Edtech, specifically videos and apps. However I’d also recommend finding a local or online tutor and taking a lesson each week to help you power along.

Week One Part One: Laying the Foundation

Firstly, you need to know your way around the bass and how to tune it. For this, we’re going to use two sources of learning: YouTube videos and an app – because seeing the same thing presented in two different ways is a great strategy for making it stick. We’ll start with the video: Learn Bass Lesson 01 – Introduction to the bass guitar

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For tuning, we’re going to use a popular (and free) tuning app along with another YouTube video: App: GuitarTuna by Yousician which is available on iTunes and Google Play for free. YouTube video: How to Tune Your Bass

Week One Part Two: From Nothing to Something

As mentioned, we’re going to review the same content as in part one using a free app called Beginner Bass Method HD LITE, then spend the rest of the week continuing through their ‘Level 1’, which will teach you how to use a pick, read tab and start playing for real. Here’s the app on iTunes and Google Play.

Bass Method HD LITE is an example of solid, simple Edtech, since it’s well thought out and combines video with diagrams, enabling multiple ways of learning. It also allows you to slow down the video in order to get a better look if need be. Level 1 is free and is all you need for the purpose of this guide. However, if you feel that you’re learning particularly well via this app, you might want to consider paying the small fee to access their higher levels.

Week Two and Three: Learn Your Set

Over the next two weeks, you’re going to learn your first ‘set’ of five songs. From this list of 50 easy bass guitar rock songs, select your favourite five. Remember, your love of these songs will carry you through the tough moments over the next couple of weeks, so pick well.

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Now it’s time to bring in our third and final app to make the learning easy, organised and fun. The app is called Songsterr and it costs $4.99 USD per month. You can grab it from either iTunes or Google Play. Songsterr has a bank of half a million songs in tabs and chords format. These include both six-string guitar and bass guitar. See where I’m going? With this app, you can learn your five rock songs using tab, charts and play-alongs.

Songsterr is a great educational app that’s been featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of “The Best Apps for Learning to Play Music” and was the Apple App of the Week as well. It’s very interactive and has a whole range of features such as giving you backing music to practice with, displaying real-time, scrolling tab and being able to slow songs to half speed.

Now, if you’re wondering if it’s possible to do this without spending anything, the answer is yes. The drawback is you won’t get the interactive learning support that the Songsterr app provides, which is considerable. However, if you’re feeling brave, all you need do is search in Google for your five songs, including the words ‘bass guitar tab’ and the song title.

Here’s where the hard work comes in. These two weeks are the key to the whole one-month plan. You need to spend at least an hour (preferably two) every day working on these bass lines. Master them one at a time and memorise them gradually. At this stage, when you make mistakes, rewind the song a little and go over the same section again and again until you’ve mastered it. Only then should you move on. This is the time for a little perfectionism.

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Week Four Part One: Getting Audition and Gig Ready

You’ve come a long way, you’re fingers are sore but you’ve lived to tell the tale and can now play five rock songs by heart. You’re not perfect and you’re still making mistakes, but that’s to be expected.

Now we’re going to get you in shape for a band audition and your first gig. The main difference between playing with a band and practising by yourself is that a band won’t stop when you make a mistake. Instead, you’re expected to quickly recover and get back in the groove before too many people notice.

So, what you need to do this week is play each song, one after the other, with the goal of getting through no matter what. Rather than stopping the song when you make a mistake, you’re going to learn how to get back on your feet after stumbling, by getting back into the song as soon as you can.

Having said that, if one particular section of a song trips you up every time, you should revert to the previous practice method of going over and over that section to perfect it before coming back to this new way to practice.

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Week Four Part Two: The Finishing Touches

As well as the ability to play bass guitar, there are other skills that can improve your chances of getting into a rock band. One of those is the ability to sing some backing vocals. Singing is obviously a whole topic in itself, but if you’re already a semi-confident singer then all you need to do is learn a little about mic technique and start singing a few ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ while practising your bass lines.

Another important element is whether or not you gel with the existing band members. Of course, a large chunk of that is simply down to personality, but some of it will be down to your ability to chat about music and the music industry in general. So, take the time to read up about the artists who made your five songs famous. Do some research about the songs themselves. Next, learn a little about the local music scene such as venues for gigs, small festivals and radio stations.

Lastly, there’s a bit you should know about music tech. Read up on the gear you might need as a bass player when playing at small venues and, if streaming and downloading music is all you’ve ever known, fill in the gaps in your knowledge of music tech in general (yes, there was music before Spotify).

Now you’re ready! Time to start replying to ads for bass players. My advice is to be honest that you’re a beginner but to say that you’re a very quick learner. The best places to look for bands are in Facebook groups for musicians in your area and on classified listing sites like Craigslist and Gumtree. There are also some good sites dedicated to helping musicians find bands.

I wish you all the best on your music journey.

Featured photo credit: https://pixabay.com via pixabay.com

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Oliver Braithwaite

Founder/CEO of Stars & Catz

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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