Day five felt like we were introduced to the universe, life, and everything. We were packed with so much music knowledge today, I’m still struggling to grasp onto all of it just to write a reasonable blog entry about it. While previous days at bass/nature camp have been more nature intensive, today was much heavier on the music side. You name it – upright basses, improvisation, theory 101, and advanced techniques all wrapped up in one 100-degree day in where-the-heck-am-I Tennessee.
Day four was much of a blur for a number of reasons. We started out with 90 minutes of what felt like advanced Yoga which both exhausted and rejuvenated me. Our Yoga instructor put us through the gauntlet in the dome, on a day that was approaching about 95 degrees. After an hour and a half of the workout from hell – in a sauna, I felt better than I could imagine. My shorts and shirt were entirely soaked, and I was entirely covered from head to toe in sweat… yet somehow I felt remarkable, as if my body had been through a transformation of sorts. Doing it to some Cheryl Crow made it enjoyable at least. What did we get out of it? We learned how to strengthen our muscles, how to relax, and how to breathe. All things critical to a bass player.
After Yoga, we had three classes back to back along with a bunch of exercises. The first class was with Victor: the power of chromatic scales. Vic had us play the chromatic scales to a groove and taught us how to make it sound like a solo. A few tricks: start a fifth up or down from the root, and start walking back to the root every quarter note. By the time it resolves, it makes for a real pleasing solo to the audience. Also try soloing on the chromatic scale starting a half step below the root for a similar effect. Lastly, start on the flat fifth and work your way up to the ninth. Vic also cleared up some issues I’ve had with chords for years. A lot of chords I’ve tried never sounded quite right, so I’ve been sticking with the ones I’ve read in tabs and such. The secret to great sounding chords is to raise the third of the chord an octave. He also showed us some basic chord 101: Any chord with a 7 or above in, the 7 is minor unless specified as a major. And the third is always major unless it’s specified as a minor.