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.

The Basics

  • Role of the bass in music and in a band

  • Parts and accessories

  • Tuning

  • Positioning and posture

The Technique

  • Exercises for hand and finger strength

  • Independence and dexterity builders

  • Muting, ghost notes and other essential techniques

  • Economy of motion

The Music

  • 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

  • Arpeggios

The Lowdown!

  • 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

  • Embellishment

– 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.

Scale Theory

  • Forming and applying the Major Scale using multiple approaches
  • Circle of Fifths
  • Minor Scales, Blues, Pentatonic and scales from other cultures
  • Transposition


  • 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
  • Accents
  • Tied Notes and Rests
  • Putting it all together

Chord Theory

  • 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

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