Essential Secrets 84: Develop Rituals
Preparing for a Focused and Calm Playing Experience
Beginning a practice session can take a big adjustment for many bass players. Making the transition from your daily activities to your practice room is not always easy. This transition can be helped by having a series of activities you use to set the tone for your practicing. These activities become your personal bass rituals.
In the world of elite sports rituals are commonplace. Olympic track stars, major league baseball players, and touring golf professionals can all be seen going through highly personalized routines during competition. These rituals keep them in control when the pressure is on.
Like athletes, musicians need to feel calm and highly focused to perform well. You can go through a specific protocol each day—just before you practice. Then, you can use this ritual backstage or onstage to give you a sense of control in the performance arena.
Rituals can be something you do or a thought process you go through. A few examples:
• Take a specific number of deep breaths.
• Adjust your instrument, strap, or volume knobs in a consistent way.
• Stare at a specific part of your bass for ten seconds before playing.
• Squeeze a good luck charm in your pocket.
• Silently say specific, consistent words of encouragement to yourself. (Your musical mantra.)
• Visualize a place that is special, comfortable, or relaxing to you.
• Think through the beginning of the song you’re about to play, hearing it exactly the way you want to play it.
Procedures like these allow you to get ready instantly for playing bass. You’ll quickly alter your mental state and be ready to play at the best of your abilities. By going through these acts every day, they will eventually become natural, habitual, and automatic. Then, you’ll be able to depend on your rituals to keep you calm, focus your mind, and allow you to perform at the top of your game.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET