Essential Secrets 7: Narrow Your Focus
Narrow Your Focus
Fixing one detail at a time
Intense focus is the key to making big progress in the practice room. With focus, bass players make great leaps forward in their abilities. Without focus, many bassists flounder.
Try these two important focusing techniques:
1. Zero in on the exact issue that is making a specific set of notes difficult to learn.
For example, the move from one note to another may be the problem. Or, maybe it’s the rhythmic placement of just a couple of notes that’s causing the damage. Don’t play the entire section over and over, hoping that the problem will fix itself. Instead, slowly play just the specific area that needs the work. This focusing technique will make an enormous difference in your ability to play accurately. Your intense focus will fix the problem and create a successful muscle memory.
2. Think about only one aspect of your music at a time.
You can work on a rhythm without paying attention to pitch. Or, you can learn pitches without thinking about rhythm. Tone production and dynamics can each be isolated and worked on individually.
The same idea can be used with your technique. Focus only on your left hand or your right hand as you play. Concentrate exclusively on a single technical issue: your posture, knuckles, picking pattern, fingering, shifting, balance, or muscle tension.
Sometimes you will need to think globally, paying attention to all aspects of a song. But, acting locally by intensely concentrating on a single aspect of your playing—while not worrying about anything else—is a tremendous way to fix subtle musical issues and propel your bass playing forward.
What’s great about fixing only one thing at a time is how good it feels to finally conquer that small area of your music that’s really been bothering you. You’ll feel proud of yourself, and you can make the fix in just a few minutes.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET