How to teach someone...

When it doesn't fit anywhere else

How to teach someone...

Postby shakedown_04092 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:18 pm

Ok, here's my problem:


My brother plays bass in our band. He never learned anything about music theory or concept what-so-ever....he just wings it. And for doing that, I'll admit, he's pretty good for being self-taught, but there comes a time where it's just not enough. Example: we set out to play Quinn The Eskimo the other night (a good friend just found out they're having a boy and they're naming him Quin, so we thought it'd be neat to play it for them at our next gig). Well, I've seen so many different keys to play this song in, so when I printed it out for everybody, in place of where the chords would go, I just put I, IV, V above the appropriate words. Simple enough, right? Wrong. I was scolded (he's my older brother) because I could've "just as easily put the chords in", but I wasn't sure what key we were going to play it in.

Anyways, not to get too far off on a tangent, the problem I have with him is that because he doesn't "really" know what he's doing, I think he often gets bored w/ his bass part(s) and then starts going off into "bass solo land", and out the window goes the basic groove that holds down the song for the keys/lead guitar to go off on.


It's frustrating, and I've tried in every which way to teach him even a little bit about theory, at least the major scale, for Christ's sake, and he won't take to it. I'm afraid he's fallen into the "you can tell a guitarist, but you can't tell him much" world.


I would really like him to get invigorated again about playing music, like when we all first picked up our instruments, and I feel the next step for him, as it was for me a year ago, is to learn more about it, in this case, learning some scales and theory to apply to the music we're playing.


I would love any suggestions y'all may have for me.


Thanks for listening!
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Postby Benthegoodbum » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:34 pm

I think if he doesn't wanna learn it then he isn't gonna learn it...you'd have to get him interested first.
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Postby HOWEYMAN » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:49 pm

You need a Bass player that is as serious as the rest of the band.If he wants to really "play" and become a decent musician, improving within the band he needs to know what I,IV,V means, ya know?
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Postby Crazy 9.5 Fingers » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:51 pm

I was in a band with an eerily similar situation. The other guitar player and the bass player were actually twins. The guitar player and I worked our asses off on jazz theory, we took lessons from the same teacher, we jammed all the time, writing, getting our setlists in good shape, etc but his twin brother on the bass just didn't feel the need as he was self taught and was a little on the stubborn side. The bottom line was he did need it and the band suffered and he ended up leaving the band as tensions grew between he and his brother. For some reason "Brother" by Phish just popped in my head. Sadly, if you are making yourself a better musician by studying and learning theory, he is going to fall behind and you will be the one who ends up most frustrated as I saw it unfold that way before my eyes with my old band. I guess the not too subtle way of dealing with it is saying "Merry Christmas! I got you a block of ten bass lessons to try out." I do know this, that is is very annoying to be in a band when the weak link doesn't want to deal with making himself better. You need to do whatever it takes to avoid making it unfun for you. And for the record, he should know I, IV V, etc. Good luck man.
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Postby strumminsix » Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:52 pm

Invite him over to jam with you and a bass player friend who is good so he can see what he's not doing.

If he wasn't your bro I'd say have a guest player who is a good bassist at your next rehearsal.

People who don't want to get better on their instrument usually are difficult bandmates from my experience.

Getting him motivated is the key but another key maybe not to be a crutch to him. Keep using standard notation irrespective of key, call out jams by number, make him step up to your level and don't step down to his.
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Postby bodiddley » Thu Dec 14, 2006 1:18 pm

Come on!? I IV V is so easy to figure out and is basic beginer stuff. Tell him to get off his lazy ass. I believe this was taught to me at one of my very first lessons.
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Postby shakedown_04092 » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:24 pm

bodiddley wrote:Tell him to get off his lazy ass.


I've tried that method and it back-fired something good. I am in hope that persistance and good faith will eventually win out on this one. Thanks for the ideas and thoughts so far.

Keep 'em coming, I need the help!
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Postby BlobWeird » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:32 pm

strumminsix wrote:Getting him motivated is the key but another key maybe not to be a crutch to him. Keep using standard notation irrespective of key, call out jams by number, make him step up to your level and don't step down to his.


Couldnt have said it better myself. Definitely just keep on the way your doin things and he cant keep up then you may need to find a new bassist (sadly your bassist now hapeens to be your brother so it will prove difficult) But either way think how your band feels having to be kept down because he is your brother and you cant just kick him out. Also like strummin said. Try gettin him a bass fretboard book or somethin to that effect. I know I didnt wanna do the grunt work of learnin theory but once I bought a book I enjoyed it alot. So good luck man. Just gotta talk to him though. Show him how serious you are about this and how much it really means to you. Also show him how much it means to you that he is also enjoying himself and gettin better. But yeah good luck. Hope all goes well. btw HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYBODY
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Postby tigerstrat » Thu Dec 14, 2006 2:48 pm

Keep your bro as bassist in "Band X", but start a NEW band "Band Y" with the same musicians except a new bassist that you and your mates audition. That way you don't have to kick your bro out of anything... but you get to start playing with someone who works harder at it. See if that lights a fire under bubba's ass.
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Postby weedar » Fri Dec 15, 2006 3:09 am

So what does I IV and V mean? I'm asking for..uhm, a friend?
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Postby BlobWeird » Fri Dec 15, 2006 5:28 am

weedar wrote:So what does I IV and V mean? I'm asking for..uhm, a friend?


I IV V is a very common progression. If you take a key lets say the key of A. A would be the I. Then you count up your A major scale 4 degrees that would give you a D that being your IV. Then count one more degree or 5 degrees from the root A and you an E which is your V. A=I D=IV E=V
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Postby strumminsix » Fri Dec 15, 2006 6:16 am

weedar wrote:So what does I IV and V mean? I'm asking for..uhm, a friend?


Roman numberals for 1, 4, 5.
By being capital you know it's major.

So in A = A D E. In G, G C D.

If I said I iii IV V in G it would be UJB G Bm C D
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Postby shakedown_04092 » Fri Dec 15, 2006 10:53 am

Again, thanks for responding guys. I really appreciate it - it means a lot to me and will help me figure this out, I hope.

Keep them coming!
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