Essential Secrets 12: Focus on the Solution, not the Problem
Focus on the Solution, not the Problem
Looking forward instead of backward
From day one of playing music, bassists focus on their difficulties. It’s actually the norm for musicians to think exclusively about their problems. Consider this: Concert reviewers are called critics, not commentators. Musicians expect to hear negative criticism, and this expectation is alive and well in the practice room—where you are your own critic.
There’s no reason to be negative about your own playing. Thinking only about your problems makes you dwell on the past (when the difficulty was still a part of your playing) and is not the best use of your time. Working on solutions gives you a game plan to propel you forward (to a time when the problem is erased). Solving problems will inspire you to get a lot accomplished quickly.
This is a practical guide to focusing on solutions in your bass playing:
1. Whenever you come across a specific problem, immediately define what your playing would be like if that problem did not exist. For example, if you are having difficulty leaping to a high note, tell yourself that your goal is to play that high note easily and gracefully.
2. After defining the playing goal, feel and hear the music correctly in your mind. Visualize yourself playing flawlessly.
3. Create a specific exercise that will allow you to play without the particular problem. In the above example, try slowly sliding up to the high note, making sure you control your stopping point.
4. After you know that your particular target note is playable (that is, you are physically capable of reaching it and know the exact fret you’re aiming for), then you can begin to work on the shift itself.
5. Continuously repeat steps 1 – 4.
You can use these steps for any difficulty you encounter while practicing. Every technical problem has a solution. Your job is to find it.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET