Essential Secrets 85: Create an Emotional Roadmap
Create an Emotional Roadmap
Putting Real Feelings Into Your Performances
Music communicates powerfully by sending listeners on emotional odysseys. The technical process for infusing your playing with emotions was covered in Secret 39, “Show Some Emotion.” Here, you’ll take it a step further.
As you prepare to learn a song, decide on the emotional content of the various sections of the song. Following this emotional roadmap when you perform will have a big impact on your audience. Giving your music emotions will also change how you play your bass.
First, you’ll have goals beyond merely figuring out the notes so that the learning process is more exciting. This excitement will make you more interested in the outcome of your practicing, and you’ll feel a greater connection to your upcoming performance.
Second, you’ll play better than usual. Going for a specific emotion as you learn a section gives you a level of focus that alters your technique as if by magic. Without giving it conscious thought, you will adjust your sound to accommodate the desired emotion. Most bassists do this backwards. They plan out a specific technique hoping that it will make the notes feel right. Instead, you should focus solely on the emotion. You’ll be surprised at how creative you can be with your technique when you want to express feelings.
Third, you’ll learn more quickly and save time. Don’t make the mistake of learning the notes first and thinking of the emotions you want to convey later. When you start working on the notes, remember the feeling you’re trying to achieve. The emotion will work its way into your muscle memory from the very beginning, and your muscles will learn to play the notes with the appropriate tone, articulations, and dynamics.
Performing perfectly with no emotion is boring and robotic. Plan the emotions you want to communicate in your music to give both you and your listeners a more meaningful experience. Never perform without an emotional roadmap.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET