I have about 2 minutes to write this one, so you’ll have to forgive me for any abruptness and/or typos. This morning I tried the play along on the Stand By Me bass line again, and I got through it fine, mostly. But I’ve got a few other observations.

  1. Calling back to my last post on the subject, you are TEACHING someone to play a specific bass line. Give them the step by step before you expect them to play along. Not only does he not mention there is a repetition of only part of the riff he taught interspersed with the full riff, but he also doesn’t bother to mention that that partial note starts on the third note of the riff rather than the first. Since these notes are all pretty much right on top of each other, as a beginner I had to watch his hand VERY carefully to figure this out.
  2. You are TEACHING a riff. I know bassists throw in their flavor, and I know for someone who knows the simple riff it is pretty boring, but YOU ARE TEACHING someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing. That means you should probably, as a matter of courtesy, not throw in random bends and improvs. And, if you do, you should explain that either you’re going to do it, or afterward explain that you did.  Now, sure, an industrious student could watch very carefully, pause a lot, and figure this all out if they want to play it ‘just like’ the person they learned it from (I personally don’t because I don’t think his particular choice was beneficial to the song, but that’s personal preference). But, when you improv like that, without mentioning it to a beginner you’re teaching, who is, in theory, playing the song all the way through for the first time, you can very easily throw them off if your hands are going somewhere totally different than theirs. So Don’t.  This is common teaching sense.

So, yeah, I can play through ‘Stand By Me’ now. I have a few choice words for the youtuber who taught it, mostly involving sitting him down and lecturing him on how to teach (which is why I am specifically not mentioning the specific lesson I have been working from, as a matter of being a decent human being).

The lesson in all of this, for my fellow beginners is this: when you are learning a song and are about to embark on a play through. Don’t play it the first time. Sit and watch and listen carefully. You know what the instructor said was going to happen, but what he said and what he actually does may not be the same thing. So, watch before you play. This will give you prior warning to any places where he might change the formula, any little details that might throw you off. If you know they’re there in advance, the play through will be easier to manage. If I had known this is what was meant by ‘teaching’, I would have watched the playthrough, paused a lot, probably three or four times before ever picking up my bass, to save myself the several different points in the lesson where the instructor ‘surprises’ me with stuff he never bothered to mention.

Now, bassists improv. Granted. But, when you are teaching, you are teaching. If you are going to throw in your own personal flavor in the middle of a lesson, it’s just common sense that you mention that before going in.

Until Next Time, want to lecture certain people on how teaching works, but, I got through my very first song on bass  from beginning to end with minimal snafus in spite of it. yay.

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