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I need help

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by Mason Nagy, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Mason Nagy

    Mason Nagy

    Nov 20, 2015
    Salt Lake City
    I don't really know where to start with this. I have felt like I am in a rut in my life, musically and otherwise that I just can't seem to get out of no matter what I try. I just got off a pretty big production tour for two months as a hired gun and it was incredible. It was my first real experience in "the business" and being a part of a real tour. I felt like I was busier as a musician preparing for the tour and actually going out and doing it than I have ever been. It felt great but it all came to a screeching halt as soon as it ended. They thanked me and told me that I did a great job and we all went our separate ways. That was it.

    Since returning home, I have been mainly trying to keep the momentum I had going. I am trying to write, get back into reading notation, (which I haven't really done since high school) learning a lot more challenging songs, improvising, etc. I just feel very discouraged now and not confident about anything, especially in reading notation and trying to write music. Most gig environments I have been in have not been a creative one. Mainly I have done various hired gun type scenarios or coming into an original band after being sort of established.

    I am just wondering what people out there do to stay motivated. I have always felt a deep passion and love for music and I feel like it will always be a part of my life. I just feel like days keep going by and I don't progress as a musician and definitely not as a songwriter. I am sure everybody has similar days but I have been feeling very anxious and haven't been sleeping for the past few weeks. Maybe 3 or 4 hours a night if I am lucky. I am in desperate need of help with the above mentioned topics. If anybody can recommend some exercises or give me any advice on how to go about my problems, it would really mean a lot. I just need something to work on
  2. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006
    Nothing motivates me or focuses my energy like having an upcoming gig.
    So "Join a gigging band" is my first response.

    But You seem to be speaking more of a personal creative motivation.
    Being in charge of your own creative decisions is a huge amount of hard work .
    Practicing notation, challenging songs, and improvisation is good -but it needs to be to some end.
    Without someone handing you a set list, you have no target to aim for.
    Without someone else making the creative decisions, your task is simply undefined.
    until you define it.

    The process is as simple and hard.
    The first step is to make a decision, pick a target, so you can at least have a direction to move in.
    Then start taking steps in that direction. Small, constant disciplined steps.

    It needs to be a material goal: Finish a song or set of songs (not just write : record, perform.)
    Book an actual gig where you need to deliver the goods.
    Give yourself a deadline, and don't aim for perfection, rather aim for pretty good execution.
    Having a reason is the key to self motivation

    picking a goal is simple, the daily discipline to slowly build towards that goal is what is challenging.

    I lied, actually. My first response was "what would Jocko say?":

    Rhythmman535 likes this.
  3. Education. Nothing fosters and inspires musicality like a real university/college education. If you can afford it, take some university courses, like ear training and theory. You don’t have to be pursuing a degree to take the courses, as long as you fulfill the necessary prerequisites.

    Also, you’ll be networking with other professionally trained musicians, forging contacts that can benefit you for a lifetime.
    IamGroot and DeltaTango like this.
  4. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Musically... pick a kind of music that you thought you'd never play and play it on your bass.
    If you're in a rut, go 90 degrees in another direction. Remove all judgements of success or obligation to justify the time you spend on that new thing. Just break the bonds.
    Self doubt and self judgement are the brakes to progress. (get rid of them) When you're in a rut, a bad decision is better than no decision. Move on, make it happen.
    pcake likes this.
  5. Rhythmman535

    Rhythmman535 Supporting Member

    May 9, 2007
    Rochester, NY
    I've been where you are and undoubtedly I'll be there again. In particular I have poured myself so heavily into a project only to find myself in a bit of a depression when it ends. Music, like life, is cyclical and you're coming off a peak. Probably one of the highest you've ever experienced. The trick is to manage both the highs and the lows to keep your life in balance and that includes the other aspects of your world. Everything in your life influences you and molds you as a person and musician. It appears that you've invested so heavily into the music that possibly everything else in your life has suffered to some degree. Even little things like taking out the garbage to personal relationships (family, romantic, mailman etc.) have an impact and often we overlook the value that these experiences play in our overall well being and music.

    Step back, decompress and take a breath and assess both the good and bad of the experience. Think about how you would share the experience with someone you were mentoring. Would you be sharing only the good or only the bad as you consider their perspective? How have you grown from the experience and how has that experience gotten you one step closer to your goal, whatever that is? Have your goals changed? It's okay if they have because once you identify what the goal is then you can plan the next step. We all have holes in our playing and I honestly don't think that you need somebody to tell you what to work on because you will never cover it all in one lifetime. You already know what you need to do but the real question isn't what but why. Keep your eyes open and don't overlook the obvious just because it appears to be too simple.

    Jason Raso just released a book called "Bass Line Continuum." The 180-page book is centered around four topics: influences, practice, developing your style, and positivity. You should check it out.
    Mason Nagy and Spin Doctor like this.
  6. Mason Nagy

    Mason Nagy

    Nov 20, 2015
    Salt Lake City
    Very well said, my friend. I appreciate your response. I am going to definitely look into that book. It sounds very interesting. Thank you.

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