Assuming that talent does not exist and that the skill of a musician is directly related to the time spent learning, it follows that investing 1000 hours into learning, with a daily practice routine of 1 hour, would take approximately 3 years. As a self-taught musician with 1 year of practice under my belt (equivalent to 300 hours), my goal is to be able to play in a band as a bassist and to arrange and potentially compose original tunes.

My approach to learning is to use the instrument as a way to learn music, and while I enjoy studying music theory, I have not and do not plan to learn sight reading. Instead, I prefer to rely on my ears and tools such as the Nashville number system. In an effort to create a efficient and effective practice plan, I am trying to focus my efforts and avoid wasting time by spreading myself too thin. My aim is to get the most out of every hour spent learning.

Currently, my routine includes 15 minutes of ear training exercises that involve intervals (shapes), as well as fretboard visualization and music theory. The remaining time is spent learning basslines, new chords and practicing chord progressions with a beat. Occasionally, I will practice licks or scales, although I do not see the value in simply running up and down scales if I do not know how to use them in a solo, as soloing is not a primary goal.

I would greatly appreciate any advice or recommendations you may have. According to you, what's the most valuable exercice to practice ? Thank you for reading.

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    You seem to be approaching this more like a military exercise than a fun project. I joined my first band, on piano & drums [yup, me & another guy would swap for different songs]. I also did lead vox when not drumming. I had never done LVox or drums until I joined. We then decided we needed a bass player [we didn't actually know what one was before that]. I got the bass Friday, learned how to tune it Saturday… did my first gig Sunday. [We were 13, people seemed to really like us, but they may have just been 'kind'] Sometimes, you just have to go for it.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 5, 2023 at 17:49
  • I got a bass last year or so, I play now and then but I still can't make some of the cool sounds I want consistently and I haven't even started to play around with sound effects. Knowing my fretboard geography is helpful when I want to mimic or improvise, but it doesn't help with making nice rhythms or special techniques like slapping. So maybe think about what kind of music you want to play? When I play it sounds like I am trying to play guitar on the bass, maybe that wouldn't fit well in a band...
    – Emil
    Jan 5, 2023 at 18:21
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    But, some general advice in the comments: 1) For the most efficiency, consider devoting some of those hours to private lessons. You'll get orders of magnitude more growth, especially at first. 2) You're emphasizing "brain learning"—learning ideas and concepts, cognitively. Musical practice also involves a lot of "muscle learning," and that's where sheer repetition comes in. There's also a lot of gray area, in which you've got to engage your muscles and brain equally. And... Jan 5, 2023 at 18:44
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    3) Don't wait 1K hours before playing with others. Being able to collaborate musically, to stay in tempo with others, etc., is its own set of skills, and you shouldn't put off building them. There's a limit to what you can do on your own in the practice room, and there's benefit even to the most hapless garage band. Jan 5, 2023 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


Having a daily routine is certainly good, and helps especially on the days with less inspiration or internal motivation, but what will move you forward efficiently is completing projects. Learn to play a song, or a solo, or a lick or a riff. Record it, listen critically, practice, record again. Perform it live, or play it to a friend, or upload it on the internet. Move on to the next one.

If you want to be ready to play in a band, you need to have experience of playing in a band. Don't wait for 3 years. There is a shortage of bassists, so you should have it easy to find people who need you. Even if it's not a very good band, you'll learn important skills that will help you later.

This experience should also help you to determine what specific skills you specifically need to practice more. Otherwise, look for teaching materials, or find a teacher. As Andy points out in the comments, it's difficult to give a more specific answer.

  • Where is there a shortage of bassists? I need to be there! As for finding a teacher, please tell why, by answering my earlier question.
    – Tim
    Jan 5, 2023 at 20:02
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    Also learning to play complete musical material is necessary for learning musicality and interpretation. While musicality can be brought into exercises, it can’t have any context in an exercise. Jan 5, 2023 at 20:03

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