Hello! Welcome back to my 4th In-Depth Blog Post!
This week, I worked on improving what I was working on the previous week as well as do more research on what we would do next. When had a meeting with my mentor, we went over what I was working on the previous week, which was A, D and G arpeggios. We talked about using your first, second, third and fourth fingers to play instead of just your first (which is what I was doing originally). “Your scales or whatever you were doing were great like- that was perfect but I noticed that when you were playing, you like to use your index finger- the best thing to do is to try and use at least 3 fingers”
It turned out that this was much harder than I expected, as you had to stretch your fingers to reach the different frets. “Yeah you’re playing the bass spot on, but maybe just work on using your fingers instead of just one finger”
We also talked a little bit more about scales and the types of scales we could try learning next. I asked if he knew a bit about the other scales (Blues, Phrygian etc.) and we decided to do a bit more research on the scales before attempting to learn them. So, this week I did research for playing scales modes on the bass and worked on playing arpeggios with all my fingers instead of just my first. There were a few problems this week with practicing where I couldn’t practice past seven o’clock pm because of the bass volume. I also ran into the problem of finding a place to practice. The bass amp was plugged into the wall next to the piano, but recently it was getting in the way of the walking area so my parents asked me to move it. And so, since my guitar and amp were in a corner surrounded by other clutter, I found it hard to practice. However, this past weekend, we re arranged the music room and made it more convenient to practice the bass. This not only helped by making room, but since it was more convenient, I found myself practicing more. I really enjoyed trying the arpeggios with multiple fingers, it felt like I could actually play the bass! It also got me used to moving between the notes so that I could learn scales easier. I found that playing the bass is actually more difficult than I had originally anticipated, so I had to extend some goals a bot farther down the timeline. Instead of learning scales within the first month, I decided that I would need an extra month or a half to learn the first ones. I also made the decision to do more independent research myself for learning to the bass so I’m not as dependent on my mentor, waiting every two weeks for something new to do. Which is why this week, I did the research on scale modes for the bass. Oh yes! I also managed to record my meeting with my mentor for this week (two weeks).
How to Have a Beautiful Mind – Edward De Bono
This year for In-Depth, we’re using the book “How to Have a Beautiful Mind” by Edward De Bono to guide us through the project. The book talks about how to have a beautiful mind (as the title explains) and how to have beautiful conversation with others. Over the course of a few weeks, we’ll learn about the skills talked about in the book and apply them to our In-Depth project. This week we read chapters six to seven.
In Chapter Six of How to Have Beautiful Mind, De Bono discusses listening to others. This was something that seems very simple, but I was told once that there is a difference between hearing someone and listening to them. Listening involves soaking in the information that the other person is giving and playing around with that information in your head. Listening also involves letting the person you’re talking to know that you’re actually listening. One of the more specific points De Bono mentions asking questions after getting information to make sure what you were understanding was correct with what the other was saying. I did this when Tito Paul and I were going over using more fingers to play arpeggios. I asked if I was supposed to use my pinkie finger when playing because he was talking about using all of your fingers and I wasn’t sure if you used your pinkie finger while playing the bass. This sparked a mini discussion about whether or not you could or even would use your pinkie finger to play. We talked about how you usually don’t, but it’s really handy to be able to strengthen up your pinkie finger to play so that if you ever do need to, it will be easier. “At least three fingers. If you can do four fingers, that’s fine but I know sometimes the pinky is kind of weak right.”
Another one of De Bono’s points on listening was ‘what new information were you getting and what questions can you ask to probe further into the topic’. This kind of relates to the observation/point I made earlier about getting new information and playing around with it in your head, just this time, you’re playing around with an idea with someone else out loud. Near the end of my meeting with Tito Paul, we were talking about learning the major scale after getting faster with arpeggios. I took the information about major scales that he was giving me and asked about the scale modes (which was largely related to major scales) and what the whole idea with that was. We discussed it further and came to the conclusion that neither of us knew much about them so I decided to do more research on them and come back to our next meeting with information on scale modes. “like I said, I’m self-taught, so I don’t know all the types of scales, but we can check it out on YouTube, even if you just send me a link through text and I can check it out yeah.”
The last point I’ll mention from Chapter Six is the short paragraph under the sub heading ‘Repeat Back’. The paragraph plays with and explains the idea of reiterating points back to the speaker, not only let them know you are in-fact listening, but also helping yourself by making the ideas clearer in your own head. Mr. S has told us that by teaching/explaining an idea to someone, you are able to better understand the idea yourself, so it must be true! I often use this idea in conversations with peers or teachers as it helps me learn and helps let the other know I’m listening and learning.
Chapter Seven in How to Have a Beautiful Mind talks about asking questions. Asking questions is extremely important in conversations, especially meaningful conversations. One of the many points that De Bono made in this chapter was questioning the point of anything being taught to you. I used this again in the meeting with my mentor when talking about the multiple-fingers-for-arpeggios topic. I asked why you need to learn all these arpeggios using all your fingers. He explained that by practicing moving between the arpeggios with multiple fingers, it will make it easier to move with scales and in turn easier to move between notes when playing songs. “so that way it’s going to build up the strength in your fingers and it’s going to help you play faster instead of having to use one finger” “yeah so before we do doe re mi, we should just work on using all three fingers”
I found this to be really helpful as I gave a purpose to learning and gave me another reason to keep going. It also gave us a talking point as after that we moved onto scales and what scales we could play/learn. Another reason that questions are vital parts of conversations is that thy can start discussions as well. In the notebook I have with me for every meeting, I will write questions that I want to ask Tito Paul whether they be about learning bass or just small talk questions. For example, we had a meeting on Family Day weekend and I had written the question ‘how was your family day?’ in my notebook. When we were having small talk, I asked him how his family day went and since we were family friends, we got to the topic of talking about how each of our families was doing and what we were doing for the family day weekend. So, a simple question turned into a conversation that helped us get to know each other better!