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Bass For Kids (By: Chad Johnson)


Bass For Kids
By: Chad Johnson

Chad Johnson authored Bass For Kids, a Hal Lenoard Bass Series instructional work, with his own child in mind. The result is a fun, easy course that quick-starts kids on the path to playing the bass guitar. On-line audio tracks for each lesson enable the beginning student to play “with a band” right away! Popular songs such as “Crazy Train”, “Every Breath You Take”, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Wild Thing”, keep the kids motivated. Concepts are presented in a simple and logical sequence with successive lessons gently built on prior ones. The result is an excellent easy-to-learn program of basic instruction that introduces the student to the instrument while providing the early opportunity to play along with other musicians. The method can be used in combination with a bass teacher or even by parents who have not had musical training themselves.

Song selection for the book and accompanying audio tracks was a thoughtful and painstaking process. “I wanted to present fun songs with a full band sound that matched the lessons, keeping pace with the student’s progress”, says Chad. Careful attention was given to note and rhythm compatibility. These tracks were then masterfully recorded using a full band, including vocals where appropriate. The tracks are truly exceptional and are easily accessed on Hal Leonard’s instructional website.

Standard musical notation is the norm throughout. “The bass lines are simple to read and kids are able to learn so quickly, I decided to forego tablature”, Chad says. “I wanted to introduce the connection between the vertical arrangement of notes on a staff and the sound they produce early on”.

I actually tried out Chad’s method on my own eleven year-old granddaughter. The experimental first bass guitar lesson went something like this:

First, I borrowed a short-scale bass that fit her. Following Chad’s step-by-step formula, she familiarized herself with the instrument, learned basic left and right hand technique, a few notes and practiced counting a beat. Then it was time to play along with the “band”. I ran an audio track and the bass through my PA with enough volume for her to really get the feel of a live performance. Then the magic happened! When that sweet child-o-mine began to play her own big ole, percussive bass tones…..a sound that SHE created with her own little fingers….. Well, her spontaneous broad smile told me all I needed to know. She stayed with it until she found the groove……and she was making music! It was a memorable experience for us both. She now really enjoys playing the bass and is looking forward to her next visit.

So, if you ever thought about sharing the gift of music with a child but weren’t sure how to go about it…..this book will help you. It is a thoughtful and well organized book designed to hold a child’s attention. It’s simple and straightforward, and yet there is still plenty to challenge a child and ensure a solid foundation for more advanced study. I wholeheartedly recommend this book. However, be warned! Audiences love a cute kid playing an instrument……the kid may steal your gig!

Bass For Kids can be purchased from any vendor selling Hal Leonard products or order direct from their website, halleonard.com. It’s 32 pages and retails for $12.99 (US).

Jack Beal

Chad Johnson has authored over 70 instructional books, (and sold over 250,000 copies!), for Hal Leonard Corporation, including All About Bass, Guitarist’s Guide to Scales Over Chords, Bass Fretboard Workbook, 100 Blues Lessons, (co-author), and Bass Scale Finder. He is a touring performer, session player, composer and recording engineer.
You can contact Chad at: chadjohnsonguitar@gmail.com.

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