WHAT to practice on dobro or weissenborn (or any instrument)?
If you were to ask me this question, my answer would be: ‘i don’t know!’.
To answer this question, you need to ask yourself first: what do i want to achieve with my instrument?
If you want to achieve something, you need to have a GOAL. whatever the goal is. You need to know where you want to go. this is the key.
if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up going…nowhere.
Some goal examples could be: to learn how to play bluegrass rhythm, to learn a few bluegrass songs, to have a repertoire to play at parties, to be a session musician etc.
Find something that excites you. Then really go for it. This is how you will keep yourself inspired and motivated!
Of course, the bigger the goal, the larger the number of things you’ll have to practice to get there…but remember, the journey is the fun part, not the destination!
So once you set up your main goal (which we will call long-term goal), you will have to write down smaller, manageable short-term goals that will help you get where you want to go (to your main long-term goal).
Let’s say you want to learn how to play blues rhythm on the dobro. A few of your short-term goals would probably include: learning different rhythm patterns, learning classic turnarounds, transcribing classic tunes etc.
Now, if you find out what your goal is but are not sure about what your short-term goals should be, then it might be time to seek for a (good) teacher that will help you get there. You could also do it all by yourself with trial and error, which has its own benefits too but definitely takes more time.
- write down your goals: grab a piece of paper and write down all your ideas so that you can reflect on them later on and develop a clearer picture of where you want to go.
- be realistic: to become the greatest dobro player in the world is a cool goal but it sounds a bit vague. try to be more specific, consider how much time you can devote to practice or you’ll probably end up losing motivation at some point.
- figure out how to get there: look for tutorials, books, online teachers, 1-on-1 lessons…all the steps required to achieve your short-term goals (and main goal in the long run!).
Once you know WHAT to practice, you need to know HOW to practice.
This a crucial step too which I talk about in this next article.
But before that, take a pencil, paper and try to figure out what your goals are.