Inspiration is my favourite reason to play bass. I often hear people use the word motivation to encourage practice, but that word tends come with the connotation of forcing oneself to achieve, whereas inspiration feels fun, creative and natural. A bit of a push isn’t a bad thing, but it’s nice to have a balance between the two. I think there’s a reason people refer to what we do on the bass as playing rather than working…because it should be fun and enjoyable. One of the best ways I know to stay inspired or renew inspiration is to watch or listen to my favourite artists play. This might be going to see them live, getting one of their albums, or even watching clips of them playing on YouTube.
Not only does this inspire me to play more, it also allows me to take note of the techniques that they use. How are they creating that sound? I watch their finger placement, how they hold their bow, how they move with the bass. There is so much we can learn from watching someone play.
Likewise, listening to an artist I’ve never heard of before, or someone who plays a different type of music also inspires me to play. I bought an album a while back called Flying by Garth Stevenson which gave me heaps of new ideas of different ways to use a bass in combination with a looping pedal. There are endless sounds and techniques we can learn, but the only way to do it is through our own exploration on the bass, and listening to others.
The thing I love most about watching people play is the enjoyment and satisfaction that comes through performing something they’ve learnt. Even if I don’t enjoy the sound they make, that alone is usually enough to get me inspired to go home and play. So if you’re lagging on inspiration: get a new album, browse YouTube or get out and see someone play. If there’s someone who’s inspired you lately, or you know of an exciting gig coming up…let us know!
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