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Life's lessons from a bass

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by mattzink, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. mattzink


    Jun 21, 2002
    Bloomington, IN
    Greetings bass players!
    I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade social studies at a school here in Columbus, IN. I have a number of boys in my class who very much like playing guitar and listening to music. They spend their lunches in my class room playing. I thought it would be neat if I could post your answers to the question: What has bass playing taught you about life? Why should a young man/woman continue playing a musical instrument?

    Of course, I'm full of opinions and could answer this myself, but i thought my students would get a kick out of hearing from other bass players. Please bare (bear?) in mind that I may be posting your answers in the classroom, so keep it clean!

    Thanks a ton,
  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    In 15 months I have become a very accomplished player for the short amount of time I have been at it. I regularly play out and gig and have people approach me and tell me they really enjoy my playing. For me it proved that if you put your mind to anything you can do it! It gives me something to do as a passion and a hobby and gives me direction in my life, it keeps me out of trouble and away from negative influences and is a great stress reliever jamming out tunes during a show or practice. This is something that you can take with you your whole life and have no matter what is happening or going on in it, it will always be there for you and is something you can fall back on. No matter how long you study and practice one year or a hundred there is always something to learn, it's a lifelong study.
    Nobody will ever play exactly like I play, it's a way to express myself and my playing is mine only and unique to me. If you never played on stage in front of hundreds of screaming people then your really missing out and is something that can only be described by doing it for yourself. I have also made a lot of friends at this and continue to meet a lot of great people, most muscians are very cool and love to help you out and talk about music. There's so many great things about it, I even learned how to sing outside the shower :bassist: Peace and God Bless
  3. Committment and dedication, most of all. It takes work to be good enough to actually keep a song going, but I've figured it out. And I keep working to improve my technique. That takes a certain deal of dedication.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    "Always...I mean, never...go out in a blizzard."

    The Abominable Snowman in Monsters Inc.
  5. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003
    Well said. Josh Walsh
  6. eli

    eli Mad showoff 7-stringer and Wish lover Supporting Member

    Dec 12, 1999
    NW suburban Chicago
    What bass playing has TAUGHT me about life: You get out what you put in. I play pretty well, enough to get along in most bands I try out for. I know I could be better, but I am currently satisfied with my skill elvel for waht I want to do. There's always a little something that cn be done better, and if I want to, I put in the work and it happens. Almost identical to ANY of life's endeavors.

    Why should a young man/woman continue playing a musical instrument? Playing in a band with others and making a cool sound is highly therapeutic, especially if your gainful employment is in some other field, like engineering or wallpaper hanging or installing right front windows in a car factory. Music keeps you balanced, and you can always find it. I can't imagine living without playing.
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    To add on to others:

    Playing bass has taught me that I can be in the shadows, not be known, not be in the spotlight, and still have many people rely on me. That has taught me humility and modesty, and to feel good helping out and supporting others however I can.
  8. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Bass taught me not to trust anyone who plays a musical intrument. Unruly, untrustworth bunch of heathens, the lot of them.
  9. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Ain't dat da fwiggin' twuth!
  10. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Should all be rounded up and shot.
  11. yeah it is good as it also brings a feeling of fitting in and contributing, which is something that is certainly lacking these days...because back in my day......oh wait im only 18....

    anyway it can leave you feeling dissapointed if the people you play with dont have the same dedication / commitment as yourself.

    but thats life i suppose...oh i could tell you a few stories...oh wait...:p
  12. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX

    I really liked this one. Playing bass has taught me that you can't always tell who's in control. There might be a flashy, interesting character out front to draw the attention, while off to the left is the guy actually running the show, standing quietly. When we leet our keyboardist sing he came out from behind his keyboards and got flamboyant(very), but I was still driving the band.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Music is where freedom and discipline meet.

    Music is a passion, without vice.

    Music and art lets one express what can't be put into words.
  14. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Playing music in general and bass in particular has taught me the value of continuous improvement in small almost invisible steps. If you practice every day you may not be able to see the difference between yesterday and today. But if you keep this up, you will DEFINITELY see a difference within a year or two or three. Pretty soon you've been playing 5 years and are light years from where you started and you never really noticed that much of a change.

    Music has taught me patience and discipline. You must be patient to develop any real skill. There is no substitute for experience. Discipline is required to play for the song and not scribble all over a beatiful piece of music just to be noticed.

    Music has taught me that despite my healthy ego, I can thrive by seeking the background, by seeking to support others and make *them* sound good. When the band sounds good you sound good.

    Music has taught me that the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts and given me a concrete example to prove this.

    Music has led me to some of the most wonderful people in my life. In truth music has led me to some less than wonderful people in my life too, but it's all part of the experience. Without darkness there can be no light.

    Heavy, I know, but it's how I feel about it.
  15. Well said Nick Gann, first and foremost...

    For me, music is one of the most expressive and of course emotive things in life. Think about it - everyone has a favourite song. It's the one thing in life everyone likes, but when you hear that certain song that sends a shiver down your spine - that's the power of music, to use a cliche. For example, I just got Crystal Planet by Joe Satriani and it's a truly amazing song. It's just great. It's a true expression of his feelings and so on, and that's one of the best parts of music - expressing yourself. Getting your thoughts and feelings out there. Also, there's the fact it's a challenge. There's no need to do it, in the same way there's no need to get out of bed (apart from eating 'n' weeing 'n' stuff...) in the morning. There's no incentive to, apart from knowing it can only get better. It's the fact you're learning something that only a few people can do, and you're doing it in a way no-one else can. It's your thing. Your gig. Your way. It's taught me humility, to step back and take a look at the bigger picture (sometimes you want to play a tech bassline when all you need is a groove and so on), how to get rid of annoyance and stress in a constructive way, how to 'network' with people, how to get along with people you don't know, how to gain confidence in yourself and belief in your ability, how to stick with things even though they might be hard, how to improve, how to focus yourself, how to better yourself.

    I've met some of the best people in my life through music, and would like to think I've helped other people look at the world differently by what I've played. If people are humming a song we've played in our band the next day, we've done our job.

    It's just dandy!

  16. but what i learned is that music is there so you can get chicks.

    oh, wait a minute. i am a chick.


    the big thing for me was the patience and discipline development, for sure. i was never really a patient or disciplined person, and suffering through playing drums [not bass] really taught me a lot about myself and a lot about hard work.

    also, and i love repeating this because it resonated so loudly with me when my first drum teacher told me: to fuss over whether you're good or bad, to get nervous before a gig... all of that is a waste of time, because you are demonstrating ego, and if you demonstrate ego, you will never be able to play for the MUSIC.

    in other words, playing music forces you to think as a unit, not an individual. your glory doesn't mean anything, the glory of the music is what is all-important.

    there is something immensely freeing in that. for me, anyway.

  17. No shame, JB, I'm a kid (20) too. It's possible even for us to have valid life experience!

    ... about life?
    Don't call something "easy" until you really know what goes into it. People think that bass is "easier" than guitar, but not many guitarists could play the same 32 bars for 5 minutes nonstop without making a single mistake -- in spite of all kinds of different stimuli coming at them in the meantime. Things may look the same on the outset, but they really require very different abilities and resources.

    You can win a lot of admiration for your mediocre skill... if no one watching you knows that skill. Just kidding. (Sorta.)

    ... why continue?
    Like reading and writing, or cooking and eating, or petting a puppy and raising a puppy:
    Just listening to music is great. Making music is harder, but it's great too. And they're both best when you do both.

    In my book, any opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills is worthwhile. Even a theoretical Best Musician in the World can always get better -- that's the nature of music, its inherent infinity -- you never stop learning it or learning from it.

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