Essential Secrets 86: Try a Very Long Practice Session
Try a Very Long Practice Session
Experiencing Something Completely Different
Since this book is all about mastering the bass in ten minutes a day, what’s this secret doing here? Well, there are advantages to long practice sessions*, and you should know about them. Aside from the fact that you can cover more material in two hours than in ten minutes, there are two other, important reasons to experience long practice sessions:
First, there seems to be a mental change that occurs after playing bass for about an hour. An expanded level of clarity, creativity, and expressiveness can well up—seemingly out of nowhere. Some bassists describe this state as being “in the zone,” the same way athletes describe peak experiences. While in this zone you play in a heightened state of awareness, see new possibilities, and gain insight about technique and phrasing. Whatever the reason for these experiences, they are definitely worth having.
Second, to be completely ready for performing you need the physical and mental stamina to play bass for more than ten minutes at a time. During a performance your muscles will require the strength to keep going, your fingers must play accurately, and your concentration must remain extremely high.
A long practice session serves as a test to see if you’re ready to be on stage. If you’re unable to continue playing or if your thoughts start wandering away from the music, this is a sign that you need more preparation for performing.
You will see the most musical progress by practicing daily in consistent, high quality, focused sessions. Never believe that a single, long practice session can serve as a replacement for your ten minutes a day. It can’t. But, even if you’re following the ten minutes a day plan, it might be worthwhile—every now and then—to try practicing for two hours or more. You’ll enjoy this very different experience, and you’ll better equip yourself for performing.
*A word of caution: Be careful trying to play bass for a couple of hours at a time. You may not have the strength or stamina to play for that long. After all, you probably couldn’t do 100 sit-ups or run a marathon without working up to it. If the slightest fatigue or pain occurs (especially abnormal pain in your fingertips), stop playing for the day.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET