Author, Educator, and Touring Bassist Danny Ziemann presents…
Author, Educator, and Touring Bassist Danny Ziemann presents…
I don't need to tell you that bassists need to know TONS of tunes.
And not just know lots of tunes, but be prepared for anything that comes their way on the bandstand.
...to hear substitute changes
...to be willing to play tunes they don't know (even without a chart!)
...and to be able to get outside of their own head, and truly be in the moment.
That's a tall order.
On top of developing great technique, practicing scales and arpeggios all over the bass, working on time, transcribing... you know the drill.
It's almost as if there's not enough time to work on our ears or memorizing tunes, right?
There's just so much to prepare!
We're constantly spinning our wheels... but often times, even with all our practice, the pieces don't come together and give us the freedom to play that we want.
Often times, all of the practice we do only leads to more thinking on the bandstand.
And if there's one thing we want, it's the freedom to play without worry.
But what if learning tunes could be the easiest and least worrisome part of your practice?
What if you could rely on your ear, and know that no matter what happens musically, you'll be okay?
"No one has a better grasp on how to organize and deliver the material that is essential to becoming a first call bassist [than Danny Ziemann]."
Many of us have been there — we download an app to learn our intervals or basic chord types, and some of us get very far with it. Cool!
[I definitely applaud you and support your move to address your ears.]
Then, after we continue practicing for some time, something peculiar happens — or rather, doesn't happen...
It doesn't help us memorize vocabulary or tunes, hear chord progressions better, or really aid our improvisation.
The issue with many of the apps, or these skills learned in isolation is that they don't transfer to a performance situation.
Studying intervals and chords this way is akin to learning a language by ONLY studying individual words... but never full sentences. What so many of these apps and programs do is immediately start with de-contextualized skills (chords, intervals) and never connect the dots for you.
You need a program that places the emphasis on learning music from the beginning, and is organized so that the way you develop your ear models the way we play music in performing settings.
Say goodbye to memorizing intervals and chords. Seriously! There are far more effective ways to develop your ear.
[And if you don't take this Intensive, this is still my best advice: put REPERTOIRE at the heart of your learning experience!]
No matter how hard we understand and recognize what's happening in the music, memorizing chords and thinking about them will never be the ticket to learning tunes.
Think about reading a foreign language dictionary. How easy is it to remember words in a new language after glancing at them a few times?
Probably damn-near impossible, right?
That's because charts don't tell you how music sounds. And, in music that is entirely dependent on your listening abilities, it's no wonder that looking at a picture of symbols doesn't trigger our ear.
You need a different approach.
There's nothing wrong with learning to read, and using the aid of notation. However, you need an approach that puts the chart last in your learning process.
The problem with learning a tune from a lead sheet is that it allows you bypass your ear, making it near impossible to recall later on. It's like expecting to get the same leg workout from taking an elevator as you would from taking the stairs. And if the shortcut is there, you'll never be encouraged to take the hard road... until the elevator breaks and misery strikes!
You need a process for tune learning that puts your ear at the center. That way, when you do look at a chart, you already know what the music sounds like — similar to reading a book inside of your head.
Oof! There are a lot of myths surrounding building a great ear, but this is one of the most common ones I hear.
Here's full disclosure: I have perfect pitch.
I also have relative pitch.
And I can say that I have worked on my ears religiously for the last 20 years to develop the skills that will benefit me on the bandstand.
Both are helpful, but relative pitch — a skill that anyone can develop — is FAR more useful in performance settings.
The times where perfect pitch is useful is when I'm on a gig and can't hear the count-off for the tune... and I need to start playing on beat one. But do you know how to counter this?
Ask the bandleader for the key.
Do you know what perfect pitch can't teach you? How to hear the function of chords, substitutions, and loads of other skills that are far more important to bassists.
If near-perfect relative pitch manifests itself as a result of your training, that's great! Ultimately, the goal is to make our ears work for us and help us play with the confidence needed.
I've built my professional career playing with some of the top jazz musicians, including Jorge Rossy, Sheila Jordan, Wycliffe Gordon, Bobby Militello, Gordon Webster, Bill Dobbins, Nancy Kelly, Harry Allen, and the Focusyear Band.
I've also spent an equal amount of time practicing and researching the art of teaching... in order to make music learning possible for everybody.
>Why should you work to build amazing ears? <
Because it may be one of the single most critical pieces to us experiencing freedom on gigs, playing with confidence, and expediting our progress.
And being good at it leads to better, more fulfilling gigs.
Why should you trust me to help you?⤵
Truthfully, there aren't as many people who are as active in the teaching space as they are performing space. You know my playing credentials, but we know that not every great player is a great teacher. Here's a shortlist of my teaching qualifications...
Most importantly, I know what jazz bassists need to become successful, independently musical people...
And I've helped TONS of them do it.
In my FCB 3-DAY INTENSIVE — modeled after my 6-month program — I'm here to help bass players embrace their performing potential and elevate their entire musical experience!
"You're going to have your mind opened up to to choose your path, and to follow your path to get to where you want to be.
Unlike a lot of these other courses where they just try to teach you things or promise you the world, the only world that you're going to be promised here is YOU — you are that world."
[This is my most affordable program of the year, and the only time I'll be hosting a 3-Day Intensive!]
"Anyone who works with Danny will take their bass playing to the next level, regardless of their current musical experience.”
"Danny has become my most influential mentor."
“I don’t think I can adequately explain how much I learned from Danny Ziemann in the short amount of time that I studied with him."