Essential Secrets 100: Turn Off The Lights
Turn Off The Lights
Experiencing Music in the Dark
Do you depend too heavily on visual information to play accurately? Some bassists can’t play at all without looking at their left hand. If you’re stuck watching your fretboard as you perform, you’re missing out on what music is really all about: sound.
One of the best ways to focus on your sound is to practice in a completely dark room. When you try this, make sure you literally cannot see your hand in front of your face. Once you’ve grown accustomed to being in the dark, try playing some music you know well. How do you feel? Do you have any sensations you don’t normally have?
You may be afraid to try this practice technique, thinking you won’t be able to play at all or that you’ll become disoriented. Don’t worry about these issues. If they happen, it’s perfectly fine—even to be expected. It’s part of the experience of trying something new.
When you play bass in the dark, you learn a lot. You’ll gain insight into your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll be a better judge of your true comfort level with your instrument. You’ll hear more completely how your bass sounds. And, without visual distractions, your level of focus will rise to a whole new level.
This practice technique is a lot of fun for ensembles too. Any group you play with will benefit from playing in a darkened room. You will have the opportunity to listen fully to the other musicians, and you will learn to trust each other.
Experiencing your music in a darkened setting will force you to come to terms with any weaknesses in your bass playing that affect your performances. Try this technique for just one, short practice session. It will change you forever.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET