. I've been reading in a book I ordered off of Amazon entitled Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner about exactly what his work's title would imply, playing the bass effortlessly. Werner has a really well-developed narrative going on, but after a while you learn that it effectively involves (among many concurrent things) watching yourself playing, as if from a 3rd person camera, and performing the motions of musical instrumentation from a somewhat unconcious sense of instruction. After digesting what he had to say about that, I redoubled my efforts to play everything I learned more slowly and as perfectly as possible; that's how I figured to best improve my muscle memory via this unconscious instruction(, this 'Effortless Mastery'). To be honest though, I only lifted a few ideas from the book and didn't read through to the end, so I'm not looking to discuss the book itself. Rather, I'm thinking about effortless mastery as a habit and how it can be learned, maintained, lost, etc. I can feel a definite difference between playing a concerted attempt at a passage, and playing out an effortless flow of one's soul, inner voice, you know. Of course I like playing with soulful intention much more, and I want to know what the methods are for people who do this regularly. I've been having good results with some of Wevner's ideas, the chiefest of which are to: 1Believe that the notes you play will be the most beautiful and perfect notes they can be, even before you've played them. It can be helpful to repeat a positive mantra, I.E. "I am an effortless master." or something less cheesy if you prefer, but the point is: if you don't already consider yourself a bass god in a humble, musical way, you should start to. You need complete confidence in what you're playing; you can't second guess your inner music very easily, (and especially not at high tempos ,) so just let it ride. But how do you do that? Not just drugs guys and dolls, but- 2 Meditate. I've found meditation to be pretty useful in dampening my mind and letting music flow. As Werner recommends it, you should have your hands off the instrument, all limbs totally relaxed, close your eyes and think about every part of your body from head to toe -- just think about relaxing it and take very deep breaths. Especially think about relaxing the parts of your hands/fingers. When I do this, I only just focus on relaxing my hands, and I find it's pretty easy to get in the mode with a deep breath or two after practicing for a couple of months now. It's hard to stay in such a relaxed state as you start playing, and when it slips, you're supposed to take your hands off of the instrument and regain mental clarity. I find it's pretty difficult to stay in the zone meditation-wise while playing new and challenging passages, but keeping relaxed and mentally open for longer periods is probably a goal to work towards. Of course it's not practical to stop and meditate in a live situation, but just practicing this at home has helped me make good progress. I heard that Jaco visualized the sign for infinity, a sideways 8, while he played, and I thought that was interesting as well. I think I've raised too many questions already though, so I'll cut it down and ask for informed comment and exploration of effortless playing, and the proper musical state of mind. I didn't really go in-depth with anything, so questions on topics raised and further exploration of these ideas would be great!