The bass guitar often flies below the radar of those who are taken in by the flashy guitar solo or the visual energy of a screaming frontman, but it is no exaggeration to say that this humble instrument is the driving force behind a solid band.
Try imagining RHCP without Flea’s smooth, sinuous grooves, the mighty Iron Maiden minus Steve Harris’ signature galloping runs, or The Beatles sans Paul McCartney’s busy, intelligent basslines, and you will know what we mean. Acting as a sonic bridge between the rhythmic foundations of the drums and the melodic contributions of instruments like the guitar and keyboard, the bass fulfills the crucial service of being the locus where melody, harmony and groove come together. Being a good musician demands maturity and generosity of spirit no matter the instrument, but it is a fundamental ask of almost any bass player. Good bass playing supports the other players and gives the band a solid foundation that makes the others look and sound good. But for the special person who is inimitably drawn to the warm, heavy resonance of a bass note, and the endless joys of grooving… this is all way more fun than sacrifice. If you are starting from scratch, it is important to know that there are no set limits on the instrument and many talented and visionary players like Michael Manring, Victor Wooten and many others are pushing the bass into exciting new settings… even as a solo instrument! While that’s obviously a much longer road… the good news is that at NSM, you will be able to learn all the foundational tools to get you up and jamming with a band within weeks. It will be countless hours of musical fun there on.
Role of the bass in music and in a band
Parts and accessories
Positioning and posture
Exercises for hand and finger strength
Independence and dexterity builders
Muting, ghost notes and other essential techniques
Economy of motion
Notes and string relations
Scales – major, minor, the pentatonics, blues and others from various cultures and genres
Intervals and recognizing them
Chords and common chord progressions
Bass as a percussive instrument
Beat divisions and rhythmic anticipation
Groove, feel, riff and pulse
Building and breaking down a groove
Playing in the pocket
– Song and genre study
– Maintaining a practice regimen
– Stage readiness and awareness
- Intervals and Inversions (Identify intervals and Major and Minor triad Inversions)
- Pentatonic and Blues Scale and Scale Patterns (Patterns in three and four group of notes)
- Advanced Rhythmic notations (Combining Quarter, Eighth, Triplets and Sixteenth notes with rests)
- Major Scale Modes (Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian and Locrian Modes)
- Chord Chart and Structure (Reading through Charts and Understand Forms LIke 12 Bar, 16 Bar etc)
- Dominant Chord Types and Extensions (C, C7, C9, C13 etc)
- Major and Minor Chord Extensions (Cm7, Cm9, Cm7b5, CM7, CM9 etc)
- Chord Progressions (II V I, I VI II V, I III IV V etc)
- Analysis of Various Drum Beats and Bass lines (Funk, Waltz, Swing etc)
- Amplifiers and Pedals (Study how to generate different tones and sounds)
- Melodic and Harmonic Scales (All Keys)
- Transcribing Complex Bass Grooves (Grooves in 5/4, 7/4. 6/8 etc)
- Introduction to Solo bass (Improvising techniques)
- Transcribing Bass Solos (Students Choice of Solo)
- Song Writing and Creativity (Write an instrumental song and arrange all the other instruments)
When you learn the rules of music, they give you a solid platform to confidently express yourself as an artist. Every new concept is like entering into another musical adventure. You will discover the nuances of vast musical cultures and study the harmony, melody and rhythms in detail. And of course, we will also help you break all the rules!
Music Theory is important for any musician. Firstly, the ability to communicate ideas between musicians becomes simpler to do with one common language of notation. Secondly, a vast knowledge of music theory broadens and sharpens your skills as a composer. We will realize that after studying the theory of music, we enter into a huge world of permutations and combinations of notes, rests, chords, beats, sub-beats and amazingly enough, all of them sound really cool and remind us of songs we have heard before, innovations or an entirely new musical creation.
- Forming and applying the Major Scale using multiple approaches
- Circle of Fifths
- Minor Scales, Blues, Pentatonic and scales from other cultures
- Melodic vs Harmonic
- Perfect, Diatonic and Chromatic
- Inversion of Intervals
- Ear training to appreciate and recall intervals
- Upper third and Lower third usage in harmony
- Meter, Beats and Sub-Beats
- Tied Notes and Rests
- Putting it all together
- Diatonic Triad Formulation
- Classification of Chords by emotion
- Implementing popular chord progressions
- Visual recognition of chords
- Chord Inversions
- Rules of Harmonization
- Voicing and SATB (4 part Harmony)
- Composing Harmony given the Melody
- Composing Melody given the Harmony
Rhythm and Groove Creation – Rs.5000 [15 hours]
In this module we focus on understanding musical grooves and improving your sense of timing. You will learn how to use the metronome creatively, understand beat subdivion, time signatures, odd meter and more. We will also help you build musical ideas by creating short phrases and then expanding them. Reading of rhythms is also covered here using standard drum notation. You will be taught how to create your own grooves, implement them with your band and also how to react to the grooves other musicians create.
Ear Training – Rs.5000 [10 hours]
You can learn your favorite songs either by watching someone play it, reading from music notation or by using just your ears. While the first two involve others, this module will teach you to do it all on your own! Here, we focus on training your rhythmic, melodic and harmonic ear which will allow you to quickly latch on to and replicate pieces of music and also understand what’s going on inside the music. You do not need to be born with musical ears. It can be developed over time and with the right approach, you can be a much more expressive and confident musician when you interact with your peers.
Popular Songs – Rs.5000 [7.5 hours]
In this section, we focus on getting you to play your favorite songs. We all initially have a childhood dream of rocking out on stage playing songs which inspired us growing up. At Nathaniel, we’ll teach you those songs in a musical way, but without spoonfeeding you. You’ll then showcase your skills to a live audience at a concert organized by us.
Sight Reading and Notation – Rs.5000 [10 hours]
Learn how to read and write music using Staff Notation – a universal method for music composition and communication. Various musical pieces are taught with our teachers whose experience spans more than 30 years. This module is well suited for those of you preparing for entrance examinations or taking up grade exams of Trinity Guildhall and ABRSM. Our unique method will be able to put you ahead of your peers in terms of reading ability.
Music Composition – Rs.7500 [10 hours]
Playing covers is great, but eventually you will want to make a mark as an artist with your own songs. In this module we will be looking at various approaches to music composition which will allow you to have a unique voice as an artist. Lyric writing, orchestration and arrangement are also discussed in brief. Composition techniques include Genre-based Composition, Choral Music, Singer-Songwriter and more.
Music Production – Rs.7500 [10 hours]
Everything from recording your music to releasing the final master can now be done professionally from a place as cosy as your own bedroom! Doing this is more affordable and it allows the independent musician to be recognized on a shoestring budget. In this module, we focus on Sound-proofing, Acoustics, Sound Treatment, using equipment like microphones, cables, computers, audio interfaces etc., setting up a home studio and finally using industry-standard software Pro Tools to put it all together. After this module, you will be able to comfortably use Audio and MIDI data to create your next masterpiece.
Advanced Harmony – Rs.7500 [10 hours]
Harmony is a deep and fascinating subject which adds color and emotion to the music you play. In this module, we approach harmony from various perspectives including Chords, Voicing and Counterpoint. We start with the basics we learnt in the Music Theory module and then delve deeper into the techniques of using harmony in your music.
Song Analysis – Rs.7500 [10 hours]
In this module, we explore in detail the music that you choose. The songs and the artists behind them are studied from the point of view of structure/form, genre, lyrics and all the other musical ingredients – grooves, scales, chords etc…