How do I get back into "performance shape"?

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ghostbaby, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. ghostbaby


    Jul 14, 2005
    Hello, all. First time poster. I apologize if this has been gone over already at some point, but I checked the first two pages of posts and nothing seems to quite fit my problem.

    I played in a rock band ( :bassist: ) for years. Didn't have much of a "practice schedule" at home, since I rehearsed with the band for several hours at a time three nights a week as well as played shows once or twice a month. In November, I left the band due to various reasons I won't go into here... and I haven't played with anyone, aside from making up some songs here and there with my can-kinda-play-guitar brother.

    I decided I need to get back into playing with a band, because I really miss it. However, 7 months of barely playing other than just sitting around idly playing random licks and patterns or playing along to the radio when I'm bored have left me with severely diminished chops. Also, they weren't even where they should have been in the last few months of the band, since we were in the studio and not playing out/rehearsing as much. So basically we're looking at almost a year of non-serious/non-constant playing.

    Basically, I'm asking for some advice/tips on how to whip myself back into shape. Music reading/music theory lessons are irrelevant to my situation, since I will be generally learning music from recordings. Here are the specific issues I've identified so far:

    Mostly I need to get endurance back, the endurance to play one or two sets of an hour a piece. I am not ready for that right now. When I try to play a moderately fast-paced song, or even a song with a lot of straight eighth notes where I am playing constantly throughout the song, I start out okay but lose speed by the end of the song.
    Also, I'm finding that I am having flexibility issues; that is, trying to twist my wrist and stretch my fingers to hit certain notes is making my hand/wrist feel strained and making me not want to play anymore.
    Finally, my fingers on my plucking hand seem to have slowed down a bit; I can't hit the faster runs that I want to. I'm not far off from hitting them, but it's still annoying.

    I guess my question is really, has anyone been in a similar situation, and if so, what worked?
    Alternatively, if you are a music teacher or something like that, what kind of exercises/rehearsal routine would you recommend to a student with my immediate goals?

    Thanks for reading.
  2. there are you magic beans. practice and streching are all that is going to help you mate.
  3. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    Same way you get to Carnegie Hall...

    ...practice, practice, practice.
  4. Pruitt


    Jun 30, 2005
    Danbury, CT
    There are no shortcuts that replace practice, practice, practice... ;)
  5. ghostbaby


    Jul 14, 2005
    I was going to wait it out and see if someone would get the idea of what I'm asking, but I figured I'd nip it in the bud rather than wait until there are three pages of people telling me I need to practice. :)

    Practice is a given. What I'm trying to do is figure out how to maximize my practice time to help me achieve my desired results.

    How about this:
    "What specific exercises/practice techniques should I focus on during the coming months to most efficiently tackle the issues I mentioned (and thus prepare myself for playing out again)?"
  6. Time Divider

    Time Divider Guest

    Apr 7, 2005
    Please check out either the "Technique" or "General Instruction" forums on this site. Lots of good stuff in there.
  7. +1

    Time is not simply redirecting you because he doesn't feel like giving you info (or maybe, but dunnno), but because there really are great stickies on the tops of those forums. Specifically though, in order to help get back passages that you used to be able to do under your fingers, play them again slowly so you can comfortably play it. Ask ANY veteran bassist and he will tell you that there are two parts to being able to play things fast: 100% is accuracy and 0% is physical alacrity.
  8. cirwin


    May 2, 2005
    Curve ball to left field - go to the gym and start working out. I got side-tracked into a day job, playing only on week-ends. When I landed in Austin TX 2 years ago and started playing 4 hr gigs (no breaks!), I was dying! Signing up with a gym and finding machines that work out forearms, grip as well as other upper body stuff really made a difference. (And helped all my Repetitive Strain stuff as well.)
  9. ghostbaby


    Jul 14, 2005
    That's not really a left-field comment... it actually makes a lot of sense. I've been meaning to join a gym for a while now, and this just might be the thing to actually get me to do it!

    Thanks for the advice, all.
  10. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    You get back into performance shape by performing, that means playing with people on a regular basis in a rehearsal situation, jam session, or gig.