May 24, 2019

In this article, you will learn how to focus your efforts on the areas you need to improve the most, and we will see how important it can be to see the 'big picture' when playing in a band. Last time, we learned some effective practice strategies, but how do you know which areas in which to invest your time? How can you improve your ability to "see" where you are taking your music? 

Focus on Your Weaknesses, Not Your Strengths

When you practice (and when performing), avoid habitually returning to your most proficient skills. It is more fun to play something that you can really do well; keeping the focus on only your strong points is a good way to get 'stuck in a rut.' Take time out to think about which areas you need the most work on and develop your routine to favor these. It is far more beneficial to play something difficult slowly, than it is to play something you can shred with ease. That said; don't automatically start with something that is beyond your level of ability. If you want to learn how to shred a new technique, start by identifying the basic skills that you need to do it, and then create an incremental approach to learning those skills over time. 

Study Many Styles, but Choose One to Master  

Becoming familiar with a wide variety of styles will go a long way towards developing your own unique voice on the instrument. It also increases your chances of getting a gig, since versatility makes you fit in more places. But beware of jumping from style to style without really mastering any of them. Think about what really gets your blood going and put most of your energy into playing that style as well as you can. If diversification is the key to versatility, then specialization is the key to turning heads with your playing. Both are important but keeping your primary focus on a specific goal will help you to master your instrument.  

Learn the Other Players' Parts Too

Just as working with a metronome will help you to synch into the groove, learning what the other musicians are doing will help you to fit into the bigger picture. A great piano player needs a strong right hand that can play a strong counterpoint bass line at times, but if they don't know what the bass guitar is doing, they will create havoc with the foundation of the band. Learning what the other players are doing will help you to judge when you are stepping on an important part. As you work on this, you will learn how to find your niche in the rhythmic "pocket." If you want to be a superstar, learn how to make the band sound great, not like a train wreck; learn to play well with others.

These habits will help you master your chosen style and bring your musicianship to a higher level. Have you ever set goals for your music? What has helped you to improve your playing the most?



Also in Guitar / Bass Amplifier Info & Education

Bass Recording Tips
Bass Recording Tips

September 22, 2021

Recording a bass guitar isn’t necessarily the hardest thing in the world – certainly not as hard as playing one - but it can be tricky to really dial it in. With that in mind, here are a few tips for consistently getting solid, reliable bass parts in the studio.

Read More

Guitar Recording Tips
Guitar Recording Tips

September 15, 2021

Despite what it might seem if you listen to a lot of pop music, guitars are still central to a vast majority of music styles. So, if guitar has anything to do with your music, getting the most out of your sessions is crucial to getting the mix right in the end.

Here, we’ll cover a few of the easiest ways you can maximize your guitar session.

Read More

Professionalism On Stage
Professionalism On Stage

August 27, 2021

Playing music is fun – a lot of fun – and it should be. But what’s not fun is never getting invited back to a venue. Exuding professionalism on stage can work wonders for a career, in more ways than one. 

Read More