Friday, 9 December 2011

TMBG - Lesson 1: A Student's Perspective

When your TMBG course arrives in the mail, strap on your bass and get ready to learn!

When mine first arrived, I spent but a few minutes looking over the packaging before I loaded up the first disc (which contains Lessons 1 and 2) and was right away introduced to Ashley, who described what would be happening in the course.

I was going to be able to play with a real-time band! I was going to be able to practice with looped music that I could play as many times as I needed to get the lesson down, and I'd be learning from a real pro. When she went over Roy's pedigree in music instruction, I felt really good about the journey I would be taking. Wow. A real bass teacher with many years of experience!

It was very exciting. I'd studied some piano way back in school, but this was different. I was here because I chose to be here. This was not a required course for school credit.

Ashley lets you know right off the hop that whether you are an experienced player looking for a refresher course to get your skills back up to snuff, or someone who's never played before, you will be able to learn a lot from TMBG.

Then you meet Roy. He goes over his feelings about the importance of the bass in music and then gives you a nice nudge of encouragement about the importance of practice and commitment to your own love of music and the bass guitar. You'll be as good as you want to be.

The introduction is only a few minutes, and then you go right into it.

Depending on your own experience, Lesson 1 is either a review of the basics or the beginning of your musical journey.

Roy begins with the anatomy of the instrument, how best to hold it and tune it - he then gives some suggestions on the most effective ways to position your fingers on the neck and strings.

The first thing I noticed was that I was answering him through the TV screen. "Okay, I got it," I'd say to his instructions. That's how intimate it felt. Just student and teacher. Like private lessons in my own home!

After the basics of the instrument itself, it’s some warm-up lessons with the metronome to get the feel of the mechanics of sounding notes. You follow Roy's instructions with the fretboard diagram. When you play along with Roy, and hear the same notes coming from your bass as from his, there's already a sense of accomplishment and success.

The next part of the lesson is the musical alphabet and some of the basic terminology that you will be using frequently. Roy takes you through exercises and starts having you call out the letters/notes on the fretboard.

What's great about Lesson 1 if you are a beginner is that even though you start out with the most basic principles, Roy has you making music right out of the box. If you are a returning bass player, the gratification is knowing that you probably haven't lost as much knowledge as you think you have.

The lesson's about a half an hour and when it's done, you learn about stretches and warm-downs. As the lesson ends, you can go back and try the loops, or watch the lesson again - it's all about working at your own speed.

If you buy the book, this is also a great time to review the material in written form.

Going through TMBG at your own pace really removes a lot of the intimidation a person might feel at starting something like this in a classroom setting. And there's another great aspect. If you take classroom or private lessons, your teacher leaves you at the end of the lesson - with TMBG, your lessons are always available, whether you like practicing first thing in the morning or in the middle of the night.

I'll be updating this feature with my experiences through subsequent lessons.

Ready to learn?  Click on one of the TMBG banners on this page!

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