This pandemic has certainly put a major dent in a huge number of our usual options for playing live over the last year or so. Now, with many states and cities starting to relax some of the restrictions, I hope that this means you'll have some renewed opportunities to make music publicly - and safely - once again.
But since most of us have been "out of it" for a while, it might be helpful to refocus ourselves with some "resolutions" (kind of like a belated New Year's Resolution list) moving forward. Here are some ideas to jump back in with the right attitude and preparation. I hope you find it to be a thought-provoking to-do list.
- Practice more - make playing your bass a renewed priority in your life, if it hasn't been one for a while. Even a modest goal - how about every day for at least 20 minutes? Even better, how about resolving to learn a new music piece every week?
- Take good care of your bass - have you been minding the humidity and temperature where your bass "lives?" Paying attention to seams, bridge lean, tuner lubrication? Early intervention is key with so many bass problems - that whole "ounce of prevention" theory definitely applies. And since the seasons are changing, this is a prime time to be on the lookout for early signs that require maintenance.
- Resolve to not hit the piano player every time he uses his left hand... if you can. (No problem, I never hit the piano player under these circumstances. I throw things.)
- If you don't play with a bow, strongly consider taking it up. It can open new avenues in your playing, and really help you to improve your intonation as well - the nature of pizz tone can "hide" the occasional "pitchy" (who came up with that word?? And when identified, can we throw something at him/her?) note, but the pure, singing notes of arco won't let you get away with it!
- Remember that playing a musical instrument should be FUN - when it becomes a regular "gig", sometimes we lose sight of the enjoyment and wonder which drew us to the bass to begin with. Recapture that!
- Experiment with new genres, even if you don't "like" or "know" them as well.
- Learn a new instrument - and use its differences from the bass to inspire you, and help you to look at how you play music (on bass) from a new perspective.
- Don't forget to DUCK when going through doorways. Your bass pegbox will thank you.
- Support other bassists. Not playing this Friday? Go see a local show to support a fellow player. Especially in this weird Covid recovery time, friendly faces in the audience will be very welcome!
- Find your own sound. Play from the heart, rather than trying to emulate the "sounds" of others. The echoes of the masters from whom you've learned will likely be apparent in your own voice, but only you can truly sound like you. Embrace that!
- Buy LOTS and LOTS of bass strings and other accessories from your favorite bass shop, especially if it's us. Stimulate the economy! (Okay, that one is a little "tongue in cheek.")
- Pay it forward. Find ways to encourage other players, especially beginners. Share your love of music with those who are just getting started, so we keep the excitement alive. Inspire new players with your knowledge and passion.