Teaching Philosophies


 

Styles: “the focus is on the groove and feel…”

In the styles part of the course, the focus is on the groove and feel. With the use of play along CD’s, students work with the different elements that make a style sound and feel the way it does. As with the other parts of the course, the main thing is to conceptually define what it is you’re working on. With the understanding of what groove is, the elements that need to be worked on become obvious. Students are given bass lines to be learned, played, and studied in all styles of bass playing. After the specified bass lines can be played and grooved, then the student must come up with their own bass lines that say the same thing. The student also has the option of specializing their studies in certain styles of music. My program can easily be altered to fit these needs.

Scales: “the vocabulary for the language of music…”

I believe that the notes of the scales are the words of music. If someone asks me what is going on in my head as I improvise, I would answer, “Well, what goes on in your head when you talk to somebody? Do you think about each word as you say it? Do you think about whether each word is a noun, a verb, or an adjective?” No, you simply use the words to communicate. It is the exact same thing with the notes of music. My definition of music is that music is communication based on emotion. The player feels; then plays. The listener hears; then feels. The scales part of my program is based on this concept. What needs to be done with the notes of the scales is to get them to be just like the words you use when you talk to somebody. My scales program of study gets this done in a quick, efficient way that really works.

Technique: “the physical execution of producing the notes from your instrument…”

I believe you only need enough technique to play what you hear. Aside from basic exercises to condition your hands and to build strength and endurance, technique should come more from the practicing of playing music than from just exercises alone. How often do you think about how to use your vocal chords (the instrument for the spoken language) when you talk? You don’t, so I think you need to get the physical approach to the bass like your vocal chords. You don’t think about it, it is just there for you to use. Most of the technique portion of my program is in the practice of the styles, reading, and scales part of the course.

Reading: “reading music is a lot like reading in any language…”

Music notation is a means to communicate on paper what you want someone else to play on their instrument. If the student is considering playing the bass professionally, then having this skill is one of the keys to a successful career.
My reading program is divided into 3 main sections. These are first, knowing all of the note names on the bass neck. Secondly, knowing the written range of the bass. This means being able to identify the note on the page and its location on the bass neck. And third, learning how to count and play rhythmic notations on the page. After the student has a working knowledge of the basic reading skills, we move on to professional bass charts. I have collected several hundred of these charts throughout my professional career including charts from studio recording sessions. These charts will give the student real-life experience and preparation for professional reading situations.

russrodgersbassguitar.com

 

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