I was asked a question in a light-hearted thread. My answer got too serious and made me realise that perhaps a lot of us would consider various routes to learning more if we really understood what we want to achieve.
I'm struck by how our drummer identifies 'blocks' to getting a certain song right and then books a lesson with a teacher to address them. It's not 'teach me this' he asks for but 'help me get the technique to play this well'.
When getting back into things I took a lesson, and after I'd played for about 15-20 seconds it was straight into 'fretboard awareness' - I felt I was being pushed into a musical theory approach rather than addressing my technique, yet I'd specifically asked to address technique. Perhaps the mistake I made was to mention 'fluency' where I meant the physical smoothness of my playing, but he seemed to think I wanted to improve my vocabulary (to use a language metaphor) rather than my accent. I tried to feel motivated - he hadn't criticised anything about my technique, but in truth I knew that didn't mean there was nothing to address.
What I would really like is someone to give me some things to play and unpick what's holding me back, especially how I could improve my sound - keeping a consistent tone when things speed up, better understand locking into a groove, being able to be more deliberate in playing ahead or behind the beat, keep better time when playing fast, and generally addressing weaknesses in my technique.
I can play most things up to a point, although some stuff takes a long time to get in my fingers, and I'm confident enough to improvise, certainly in a blues/rock situation, so I'm more interested in a teacher making my playing better. I find that the more I practice or play with other people, the more my musical horizons expand so I'm learning new musical ideas and tackling new challenges anyway.
I see Scott Devine's 26-week 'bass technique accelerator' course; this could be what I need, but I am not sure I would stick with something that long. Certainly not in my present rather fluid situation. And what if I'm already at week 16? It might be a good idea in the future, but in the short term I'd like something more focused.
I'm struck by how, when musicians get together, we tend to 'accentuate the positive' and are reluctant to criticise each other's playing, although the band I'm in will occassionally pick up on something - and (perhaps an advantage of being 'mature') offer it as helpful guidance rather than damning criticism. One person who does know how to criticise is one of my brothers - he watched a video of me playing and critiqued it right through. At times it was painful, but I learnt a lot more from that than any other half hour!
So I'm still not really sure what I want/need I suspect I need a bass 'mentor/tutor' who I can turn to when I'm stuck or can tell me not just when I'm not cutting the mustard by why and how I might improve.