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Teaching my 11 year old...suggestions wanted!

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I've introduced my 11 year old son to the bass today and thanks to his wonderful sponge-like brain he's almost nailed his first tune at first attempt 😀

I chose Drive by the Cars for this purpose which has a simple structure, rhythm and tempo and a simple enough bass line while sounding great and is reasonably satisfying. 

I'd like to put together a list of similar entry level tunes for us to work through, not too fussy about genre etc. 

What do you suggest? 

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Lots of tune using the E,G,A. Gene Jeanie, Another one bites, Smoke on the water, etc.

Will do wonders for his confidence...

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For kids around that age, I like to introduce them early, to a basic 12 bar pattern using just root notes at first, then root/5th. I'd also recommend showing him the names of the open strings and where they sit on the stave. 

For songs, it might make sense to show him some simplified versions of whatever music he's in to. Even if it's just root notes rather than the actual line, it will give him a sense of playing songs that he likes, and if he sticks with it he will learn the proper bassline later.

Alternatively, just show him Smells Like Teen Spirit.

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I'd ask him what songs he likes, then figure out what's do-able from them. I don't think there's much that sparks interest more than jamming along to something you love in the early days.

(Unless he says he loves Victor Wooten, in which case teach him Mustang Sally)

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I’d agree with songs that he likes / recognises.

I took acoustic guitar lessons at school when I was 10/11 and I remember having to learn things like Greensleeves. I wasn’t particularly enthused by it and ended up losing interest.

It wasn’t until a few years later I realised I could learn songs that I wanted to and I was hooked.

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Plug in another bass or play guitar, can’t underestimate that first time feeling that your actually playing with someone rather than with a music track 

Edited by Bunion
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2 hours ago, NickD said:

 

(Unless he says he loves Victor Wooten, in which case teach him Mustang Sally)

How does that one go again ?

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+1 for letting him pick what songs to play. You can simplify the bassline to suit.

good on you for doing this.

PS keep us posted on his progress :)

Edited by bazzbass
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Thanks for all the suggestions so far guys. 

He's been learning the drums since he was 8, doing the Rockschool grades and I've supplemented this by playing along and jamming with him on bass since day one. 

He's got an interesting taste in music which is fairly broad but his fave is electronic music, specifically early Daft Punk 🤤. It's interesting how he gets really into this sparse music while if i show him something awesome on YouTube he's like 'meh'! 

He might stick to the drums (or possibly drop it at some stage i guess) but he's such a fast learner it works be a shame if he didn't at least have a crack at the greatest instrument of all during this amazing stage of his life where he can learn new things with so little effort. 

During 2020 he's became my main gigging partner (If you count playing in front of the cats as a gig, which I now do...).

 

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Sorry to be late on parade, but I agree +100 with helping him find basslines for music that's cool to him and his peer group.  At his age my guitar tutors featured songs that were severely uncool ('Skip to My Lou'?).  Also - ensure he knows the role of the bassist in the mix.  My first teachers never bothered explaining this, with the result that it actually took me a year or more to understand what I was supposed to be doing, during which time I lost two band offers because I had not the faintest idea that a solid root and and fifth would suffice.   

 

 

 

 

 

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Didn't work for me; my favourite was (and still is...) Schubert's 9th Symphony. :$

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1 hour ago, chris_b said:

Ask him what his favourite tune is and teach him that.

So much this. It works for me and it works for my students.  The passion keeps us going during the challenging parts and we all learn faster when we're absorbed in what we're doing, regardless of how old we are or what we're learning.

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