Essential Secrets 61: Play Your Bass, Don't Work It
Play Your Bass, Don't Work It
Putting the Play Back in Playing Music
Work conjures up scenes of drudgery. People can be unfulfilled or unhappy at work. These feelings should never exist when you play music. After all, it’s built into our language: You “play” the bass; you don’t “work” it.
When you are playing bass, there should always be an element of delight involved. Think of little kids on a playground. They’re unconscious of time, responsibilities, or what comes next. They’re just playing.
You have an opportunity to be like those children when you practice, rehearse, and perform. Sure, you want to make forward progress. But, sometimes this progress is best achieved by letting go. Don’t spend even one ten-minute practice session thinking that it’s work.
One aspect of play is feeling good physically as you practice. If you are working your bass, you are probably using too much tension and pressing or squeezing too hard. These actions will make your music sound tense and can cause physical injury over time. Instead, focus on a light touch and on making everything you play sound easy and fun.
Many musicians have difficulty letting go of their serious side, so here are some simple suggestions to put the element of “play” into your, uh, playing:
· Play through something without inhibitions. Don’t worry about your sound. Just play.
· Try a technique that seems impossible, and laugh at yourself as you do it.
· Purposely sound bad. Hit wrong notes. Use horrible tone. Lose all physical control of your bass.
· Play a style of music you absolutely hate. Exaggerate the elements of this style that you can’t stand. Even use the body language of musicians who play this genre.
You can try all of these ideas in just a few minutes. They will add some humor to your day and reconnect you to “playing” the bass.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET