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The Bassist's Link to Sight Reading Review by Christy Sensenig

Jerry Jennings and Eric Kleven
J. Jennings Publishing Company
5012 Kahn Street
Carmichael, California 95608

The Bassist's Link to Sight Reading is a workbook/CD combination that is intended to assist the user in learning to sight-read music as it applies to playing the bass guitar. The CD guides the learner through the exercises but does not repeat each word in the workbook. The learner is encouraged to play along with the CD to help ensure a good understanding of the material. There are 17 lessons and seven exercises in the workbook. These cover a wide range of skills, from triads, rests, ties, open strings, pickup notes, and accidentals to flats, sixteenth notes, key signatures, and time signatures. Also included in the workbook is an appendix for bass neck diagram and an appendix for key signatures and the circle of 5ths.

The layout of this course is such that you would want to progress through each lesson in order, but is short enough that it could be done at the learner's own pace. Having a basic knowledge of the notes and how they are played on the bass guitar would be a prerequisite to this course. But other than that, the author goes into much detail regarding the basic skills needed to sight-read bass guitar music and will give you the tools necessary to learn those skills. This course is intended for any beginning bass guitar player and can be used in any homeschool setting, regardless of method. By using it either as a structured lesson or taking each lesson at his or her own pace, any learner would have the opportunity to be successful with this program.

I like the emphasis on sight reading music. Whether the intent is to play independently or with a group, this skill is so useful. Independently, the learner can focus on a much larger range of music if the obstacle of reading that music is removed. And when working with a group, being able to read charts as it pertains to the other players within that group is equally important. Having the CD to practice with is an added bonus. It's like practicing with a band in the comfort of your own home, without the pressure of performing perfectly.

The Bassist's Link to Sight Reading is a wonderful course and would be a welcome addition to your home library, especially for the beginning bass guitar player in your family. Share this with them, and they'll be sight reading bass guitar music in no time!

Product review by Christy Sensenig, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2009