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Motivating Self to Practice (DB Forum Thread)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Swing Doom, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. Swing Doom

    Swing Doom

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    So I have a problem that I'm sure is quite common: I absolutely love playing bass and I want to be killin' but I don't want to practice.

    I get bored easily. I know that you don't just become killin' overnight and definitely not without practicing. So my question is this: How can I motivate myself to practice?

    Any tips and advice would be appreciated. :)
  2. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

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    How long have you been playing? In a band now? When I started out - and still to this day, I play along to songs / learn new songs - and now with youtube, there's so much on there - check out Scott Devine and MarloweDK on yt and their websites. I started playing in the late 70s - a different deal then - no youtube or free lessons - just a turntable and you had to find a good teacher to study with. My main problem now is finding TIME to practice - kinda rough with a day gig. If had had more time, I'd practice more for sure. Just seeing players on youtube that are better than you is motivating, no?
  3. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Administrator

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    For me, I simply record myself playing. When I listen back, I always find things that I'd like to improve, so I have a built in incentive for picking up a sledge hammer and beginning to break some rocks.
  4. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    Disclosures:
    Endorsing Artist: Fender and Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    If you cannot get motivated to practice then music is not your passion. Find something else to do that you can enjoy without having to force motivation on yourself.
  5. Swing Doom

    Swing Doom

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    I'm sorry, but you're in no position to tell me what my passion is.

    Try telling that to any professional athlete. "You don't enjoy going to practice every day doing push-ups, lifting weights, and running wheezers? Then your sport isn't your passion."

    My passion is not to sit in the practice room; my passion is to perform. But obviously I'm not going to be able to perform on a high level if I don't spend the time in the practice room.

    So pardon me for not enjoying transcribing a solo and wanting to rip my hair out because I can't figure out what that one note the soloist played was or trying to get a passage up to tempo and wanting to smash something because I simply can't seem to get it any faster. I prefer to be on stage.
  6. MrBKerth

    MrBKerth

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    Just trust you'll get better. Also +1 for Scott devines lessons. It gets easier. I find jamming out songs with a guitarist helps me a lot
  7. Kmonk

    Kmonk

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    You might believe that you are passionate about music but trust me, if you are not motivated to practice, music is something you enjoy but are not passionate about. People who are truly passionate about what they do are motivated and take every opportunity to play and practice. I have known many musicians who like the "idea" of being in a band but do not want to practice and put in the work needed to get better. I also know many professional athletes who actually enjoy working out and practicing because they know it will make them perform better. If you really are passionate about anything, you do not need to find ways to get motivated. You will enjoy it whether you are practicing alone, with a band or playing a gig. Having said that, we all go through times when we are not as motivated as we should be but that is usually something that is temporary.
  8. Ronbassman

    Ronbassman

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    Call me crazy, but buying better sounding gear has helped me with this same issue. It could be a better amp, strings, pickups, bass, or whatever. If you really dig the sound that's coming out of the speakers when you're playing, you'll want to play more and more.
  9. gregmon79

    gregmon79 We've come to kill gods...... Supporting Member

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    I find this to be very true as well for me. I've been playing for 14 years and I've gone through periods of time where I barely played, usually when I wasn't a part of a band, and I've gone through periods where I can't put my bass down. I'm in the latter period right now due to all the gear changes I've gone through in the last year. Sure, better gear does not make you a better player per say, but having better gear that sounds killer motivates me to pick my bass up a lot more. Plus I'm in a great band right now that's actually progressively getting better in all areas. So I guess a lot of my practicing revolves around where my musical life is at at the time. I'd love to say I practice all the time regardless but I don't.

    OP, how long have you been playing?? Are you in a band? What does your rig consist of? I can relate to you, I don't always want to practice fundamentals. But I still do. Because I know it will make me a better player. I LOVE the bass and all things involved with it. You have to give and take. Don't get down on yourself if you don't practice all the time. You will when you want to. It's that simple. If you really want to be a better player you will find ways to keep yourself interested and not bored with it. Have you thought about a gear switch up?
  10. DannyBob

    DannyBob

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    I'm really bad for practising. I usually spend an hour a day with the bass, but I can guarantee 45mins of that is just playing songs, not working on anything in particular...
  11. Radio Face

    Radio Face

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    After a long day at work, it's tough to pickup the bass and start in on an intense practice session but, what is practice? Playing the bass, no matter what we play is what I consider to be practice. When I'm tired, I pickup my bass, turn on my favorite tv shows and just start playing, at low volume. 4 half hr. shows = 2hrs. practice time. I'm constantly practicing intervals and modes and seeing how they relate to music being played on the tube. Every tv show has music. There are jam sessions almost every night of the week, if I care to go. There is youtube music. There is music radio during the day, which gives me ideas on what to play that evening and, there are my books, if my sight reading or theory gets to rusty. I haven't been in a band for years but, my desire to play never diminishes.
  12. Seanto

    Seanto

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    If you're not motivated, you just need to try something new and different. Also, make sure your practice is MUSICAL. Don't just play exercises, play songs. I really only do exercises as a warm up, then go full speed into playing songs i know and learning new ones.

    Add to that playing WITH people as often as possible. That's just as important, if not more so, than playing alone. Plus it's usually fun. Bass is primarily a support instrument, so go out there and support someone! Playing a supporting instrument alone is no fun.
  13. dvh

    dvh Supporting Member

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    The OP has never claimed music is his passion.....

    I find myself in the same boat OP.... it's very difficult to feel motivated to practice. Basically, I force myself and then pat myself on the back when finished. The whole "no pain, no gain" thing (not physical pain).

    And yes, I'm talking about DB and good for you for noting that in your thread title. What's discouraging is that even STILL some don't seem to notice......
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Administrator

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    Regarding technical practice as apart from musical practice, a couple of thoughts:

    There's passion (lowercase p), and there's Passion (uppercase P), and then there's PASSION.

    The smaller divisions are at the service of the bigger ones. For instance, I have a great PASSION for playing music, and for my family. Then I have Passion for martial arts and reading. Last, I have just plain old passion for exercising, both physically, and on my instrument.

    I don't get a psychic or spiritual xx-gasm from running or lifting weights, but I know they help me feed the larger passions of martial arts, family, and just general health, so I do them daily. They aren't particularly fun in and of themselves compared to the things they are support activities for, but knowing that they enable these higher order of things makes them easier to motivate for. Similarly, running scales, arpeggios, etc. with the drone and metronome isn't particularly exciting, but experience shows that when I do these things I perform better, which is the ultimate goal. Sometimes just reflecting on this experience makes it easier to set my backside on the bass stool and get to work.
  15. Treyzer

    Treyzer

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    Kudos Chris, very well stated. I think there is a huge difference between having a passion for performing in front of an audience and having a passion for wanting to become the best musician you can possibly be. The OP might want to reflect on that.

    I actually love shedding, transcribing, learning new things. It's all part of becoming a better musician.

    I'm reminded of a story that might be apochraphyl regarding the great Pablo Casals. Well into his nineties the maestro was still practicing for many hours each day. When asked by a student why he still practiced so religiously the great man stated, "I think I'm beginning to see some improvement"……..Mr. Casals did in fact say, "The most perfect technique is that which is not noticed at all". That takes lots and lots of practice. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! :cool:
  16. rtav

    rtav

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    For me, if I don't practice, it starts to slip away VERY quickly. I am terrified of regressing and losing any proficiency I may have gained in playing 36 years... but the funny thing is that once I start practicing, it becomes fun (even the mechanical stuff like scales, different fingering techniques, etc.)

    The hardest part to doing anything is actually sitting down and DOING IT. After that, everything gets easier.
  17. lrhew

    lrhew

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    I tried the Ronbassman approach. Now I have 9 highend bass's, 4 complete pro rigs, and stuff to go with it.
    I'm down to 1hr a day rather than the 6hrs went I started. Getting better is hard and slow.
    With the job, it's hard to find time to woodshed. Plus these guy"s want you to be on their level.
    Tough row to hoe, but I'm not quitting.
    Now off to buy a new bass.
  18. jdombrow

    jdombrow

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    "Practicing Without Problems - Mental Training for Jazz Musicians" by Michael Gustorff is a great book.
  19. hdiddy

    hdiddy Official Forum Flunkee Supporting Member

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    IMO, unless you're into being challenged, generally people hate doing what they're not good at. Everybody, at least in the US, want instant gratification and immediate results. Of course you usually never get that with music. The moment we get good at it, things become fun and enjoyable to do because it's no longer a struggle.

    The moment I got out of that mindset and treated practicing as a enjoyable routine without expecting results, my relationship with it changes. Practicing and playing, even for myself, is a privilege. I get a lot if enjoyment out of the journey. For me, music is the goal wether I'm by myself or in front of an audience. I try to play my best and be as musical as possible in all situations.

    If things get tough in the shed I just go slower at it til I get it - also knowing full well that I see the long term vision that things will be more fun once I get it and it'll add further enjoyment to the journey.

    That and being frustrated at not being able to express everything I'm hearing or feeling gets me going. A healthy hunger to improve always helps.
  20. Treyzer

    Treyzer

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    Well said hdiddy….. Some of the transcription stuff I do, and have done takes lots of time before it actually becomes a part of my playing.

    Here's what I mean. It takes a certain amount of time and effort just to learn a given solo. Most of us probably don't want to go and parrot the exact solo in public, so how do we really use this info? For me, really learning an excerpt involves (1) ear training, (2) fingering and/or alternate fingering exercises, (3) understanding the harmonic implications of what is being played and finally, (4) really trying to get as close as possible to the articulations and exact timing a jazz master was using. This process usually takes a lot of time and it's not just something I get to check off my list, then move on. It can take a long time before all of this work shows actual results on the stand and becomes second nature. Obviously, this is not an instant gratification deal.

    Of course, transposing is only part of my practice. The stuff the Chris alluded to (scales arpeggios etc.) as well as arco etudes and excerpts provide enough variety to keep me pretty interested and busy. Sometimes just playing while doing something else provides some kind of practice. I'm lucky enough to play out about 4 or 5 times a week in different jazz ensembles and all the shedding allows me to constantly try stuff out live. I dig it all.

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