We’d like to invite all of the LAMA students and alumni to “An Evening with Art Alexakis,” taking place tomorrow night, October 30th at 8pm in the LAMA performance hall. Alexakis, who has a strong belief in the power and importance of music education, will discuss his approach to songwriting and offer his perspective on today’s music industry.
Alexakis is best known as the lead singer, guitarist, producer and principal songwriter for the multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated Alternative rock band Everclear. The band has sold over 6 million albums in the U.S. and Canada alone, with 8 Top-40 hit singles on the Billboard Mainstream Rock, Top 40, & Adult Top 40 charts, including: “Santa Monica,” “I Will Buy You A New Life,” “Wonderful,” and “Father of Mine.”
He has also been a member of several notable bands, in addition to his own work as a songwriter for other major artists. Alexakis founded several record labels throughout his career, and has worked as an A&R representative for major record labels as well.
RSVP is required. Email info@lama (.edu) for more information.
LAMA Bass Department Chair Jerry Watts Jr. today announced Andrew Gouche will join Juan Alderete, Abe Laboriel Sr. and Lee Sklar as Artists-in-Residence at LAMA, effective immediately. Gouche, considered to be a premiere gospel bassist (who also plays across many other genres), has more than 30 years of experience. He is best known for playing or recording with Reverend James Cleveland, Prince, Chaka Khan (also music director), Madonna, Destiny’s Child, Whitney Houston and many others as well as for his production work on Kelly Clarkson’s Grammy-winning album Thankful.
We’re ecstatic to have Andrew on board. Read the entire press release on LAMA’s site here: http://bit.ly/10kYN3R
LAMA says grants are still available for its bass department — the deadline is days away, February 15, 2013 — that means you still have some time to apply and secure funding for your music education at LAMA.
You should call the admissions department at LAMA, 1-626-568-8850, to learn more.
Not familiar with our bass department? That’s ok — we made this video for you — Chair Jerry Watts Jr. discusses what you can expect from your time studying at LAMA.
LA Music Academy’s Doug Ross graduated with honors from MI in 1988 and the University of Maryland in 1992. For over twenty years, he has performed, recorded and taught bass all over the world, including four years as head of the bass department at Fukuoka School of Music in Japan. A few of the artists that Doug has recorded or performed with include Brett Garsed, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Otmaro Ruiz, Fantasia Musical Circus, Katia Moraes and Sambaguru, Gregg Bissonette, and jazz pianist Ron Kobayashi. Information on Doug’s activities and recent solo album can be found on his website at www.dougross.net.
Doug features quite a few bass lessons on his website here – http://dougross.net/bass-lessons/ – and he’s allowed us to “borrow” one for the Get to the Music blog! In this condensed version of his lesson, Doug offers tips for practicing your bass. Not all as obvious as you’d think!
Practice Tips For Bassists
by Doug Ross
If you’ve already been playing for a while, you have probably come to the realization that bass ain’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be. Playing any instrument well requires a long-term commitment to disciplined practice. I have personally experienced the frustration and wasted effort of bad practice habits, and I’ve also seen many students struggle to keep on track. With the hope of helping you to avoid some potential pitfalls, here are my suggestions for maintaining a healthy practice routine:
1. Every Day is the Only Way
Practice 5-6 days a week. Regularity of your practice routine will get you where you want to go. Practicing 10 hours a day only on the weekends will never yield results like practicing one hour a day all through the week.
2. What Do I Suck At?
This is the first thing I ask myself every time I sit down to practice — the guiding principle for setting my practice priorities. After working on one skill for a while (like reading music for example), it gets better and becomes a relative strength.
3. Practicing vs. Goofing Around
Let’s define “practice” as solitary, focused work on musical skills you haven’t yet mastered. That excludes a lot of other valid musical activities: performing, jamming with others, listening to music, playing familiar tunes and licks, rehearsing with a band, and just goofing around with your bass for fun.
4. Budget Your Time
If you can only consistently do one hour a day or even 30 minutes a day, then plan on that and divide up your hour into small chunks of time for each item on your “suck list”. Even 5 or 10 minutes per subject per day can yield some progress.
5. Break Before Burnout
If you are practicing for longer stretches of time, it’s important not to run yourself into the ground on any one topic. Remember, we’re working on new, difficult stuff here, so frustration is a real danger. Figure out your own attention span, and make sure that you get in the habit of switching subjects before you start pounding your fists on the music stand or your eyes glaze over.
6. First No Time, Then Slow Time
Give yourself the luxury of playing out of time at first. Once your fingers are making the right moves, then you’re ready to turn on the metronome at a slow setting and add that timekeeping element into the equation. If you’re consistently making mistakes, that means you’re probably going faster than you’re ready to play, or biting off too big a chunk of music, which leads me to my next point…..
7. Isolate the Difficult Bits
Don’t waste time going back to the beginning of that Beethoven piece every time, it’s just half notes and you can already play it! It’s that tricky shift in the middle that keeps tripping you up, so what you need to do is isolate those few bars and work them out. Repeat them a bunch of times, and once that’s solid, make sure you can also nail the transition from the easy part into the hard part.
8. Practice in All 12 Keys and in All Neck Positions
Yes, it’s kind of a drag. It’s one thing to understand a musical idea conceptually, but it’s something else to truly master it. You don’t really own anything until you can play it in all keys.