"How Much Should I Practice?"

This is an interesting question because the answer is dependent on many factors.

Here are a few questions I need to ask you;

  • What are your musical goals?

  • How long have you been playing?

  • How old are you?

  • Do you have a job?  Full time?  Part time?

  • Are you in school?

My answer to the original question is common knowledge to most everyone.  The challenge is putting those answers into action and sticking with it.  Some of the questions behind the question are, "How do I stick with it?  How do I remain consistent?  How do find the discipline to keep going?  How do I deal with lack of motivation? 

 

There are a myriad of other questions that can fall into this category.  

 

No matter how you would answer any the of questions I posed, my first answer is that however much you choose to practice you must be consistent.  It is of course better to do a small amount of practice every day as opposed to a marathon session on the weekend. 

A minimum of thirty minutes a day, four days a week is needed to build the physical stamina required to play your bass with a decent sound.  That's two hours a week out of 168 hours each week.  I tell all students, "Practicing the bass has to be a priority in your life.  Not THE priority, but a priority.  If you cannot consistently practice for two hours each week it's not going to work." 

 

Not everyone who owns a bass learns to play.  Many guys are just bass enthusiasts.  They love the looks of the bass.  They love the looks of cool bass players on stage.  They dig the sound of the bass.  They post tons of bass related stuff online.  They are BIG fans of the bass.  They also typically take their bass out of the closet and wank around on it for an hour or two a month.  That's cool.  They are not students.

I watched Ray Brown once answer this same question, "Mr. Brown, how much should I practice?"

He answered,

"Well, if you want to just have some fun in your bedroom, you probably don't need to practice.  If you want to jam with your friends, you can do that with practicing an hour a week.  If you want to play at parties, weddings, bars and the likes, you probably need to practice a few hours a week.  If you want to be a professional bass player, an hour a day is minimum.  If you want to play like me, practice ten hours a day."

students practicing NHBF.jpg

Students practicing at New Hampshire Bass Fest 2012