Essential Secrets 9: Overcome the SAD Syndrome
Overcome the SAD Syndrome
Eliminating the all-time, worst-ever habit of musicians
Nearly one-hundred percent of bassists make an enormous mistake every time they practice. This mistake is like an infectious plague that has spread through the musical community. It’s called the SAD Syndrome. SAD stands for Stop And Do-it-again. Here’s how it works:
Song after song, musicians start playing at the top, abruptly stop every time they play a wrong note, quickly correct the note, and move on—continuing this pattern until they reach the end of the song. Each interruption feels almost instinctive, like a reflex twitch. During these uncontrolled stops and starts, some musicians unconsciously blurt out a quick “Oh” or “Sorry” or “*%&^#$”!
Let’s look at this process from your muscles’ point of view. Your muscles learn that stopping in the middle of a phrase is normal. They also believe that putting down wrong fingers and playing incorrect notes on the bass is an acceptable way to play. Finally, they accept that a wrong note followed by a corrected note is a perfectly reasonable sequence of activities.
Teaching your muscles mistakes is not an effective way to learn the bass guitar. If you constantly play a mistake, stop, and do it again, you’ll never have total confidence in your ability to perform well. The SAD Syndrome will prevent you from developing the muscle control needed to play flawlessly. Your habit of stopping and restarting will cause memory lapses, create stress, and may lead to the paralyzing effects of stage fright.
The antidote to the SAD Syndrome is very slow playing. When you go slowly enough, you learn correctly the first time you play something new. This undoes the dangerous situation of only partially knowing how to play a song accurately.
Remember, you can’t restart or talk to yourself in front of an audience. The SAD Syndrome interrupts any substantial progress in your bass playing. Do everything possible to eliminate it. It’s just sad.
Books by David Motto:
THE TEN MINUTE
FOR ELECTRIC BASS
COMPLETE 3-VOL. SET