commonly believed myth about becoming a great bass player, is that
it is necessary to play the same boring material for hours at an
end. Most musicians are nor satisfied about the time they spend
on studying. Usually this means that they believe they should practice
material all day long that would make you sick if you had to listen
to it for more than five minutes.
I believe the contrary: if you want to become a good musician, find
material that really interests you. It should not be a punishment
to play on your bass; youre doing this for your enjoyment.
Youre not playing to torture yourself, it should give you
great pleasure! Always play something you like playing and youll
make time for your instrument, even if youre a very busy person.
If you want to play well, just play, dont work on it.
So lets throw all the depressing material by for instance Simandel
or Rufus Reid into the wastepaper basket, except of course if you
enjoy playing this stuff.
So play your favorite music when practicing. After all, you probably
started playing the bass after being moved by particularly beautiful
bass playing. Why not play that very same piece? After playing for
a short period, youll hear something that you believe you
could do better. Spend a few minutes trying to improve your playing
a few minutes, no more, except if youre having a great
time. Think how you would like to play this and just try. Maybe
youll find a way to improve your playing immediately, maybe
youll discover a technical problem. This probably means youre
tense. Youll have to learn to relax more while playing (see lesson 1).
I do not mean to suggest that it is never good to practice the way
it is suggested by most manuals. If you like to practice this way,
by all means do so. But never practice this way if you hate it,
for youll start to hate your instrument, which means youll
play worse than before. If youve got a teacher, it is wise
to demand interesting material. If he does not comply, find another
teacher. Youre wasting your time and learning to hate bass
Why are people so keen on making bass playing their personal hell?
This may have something to do with the puritan, Christian background
a lot of us have. If so, youll probably believe something
like this on a subconscious level: there is a lot of terrible work
to be done, life is a form of punishment, were not on earth
to enjoy ourselves and in the end well have to die in order
to go to heaven and earn the right to be happy. Brrrrr! Shall we
try to stop thinking this way? Lets believe life is beautiful
instead. Lets believe that its fun to play the bass, that we dont
have to work hard to become great bass players, that we dont
have to practice on terribly boring material, but that we should
only play material that makes us happy!
I think this way will you join me?