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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 November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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