Tomorrow I am driving to a town near Reno, Nevada to see my older brother, "Bro." It will be a welcome interruption to my daily rut. Bro is an accomplished musician and plays lead guitar, steel guitar and keys. He teaches guitar and gigs around the locale where he lives. We will do some serious jamming, and yes, I am bringing my new bass guitar.
Right now I am sitting in my lovely backyard gazebo, enjoying the very mild California weather, and listening to a CD of Anat Cohen (jazz clarinet) that my friend Rick Darby (of Reflecting Light) sent me. (Thanks Rick!)
The problem with reaching retirement age is that every significant goal in life has been achieved: you completed your education, got your degree, started a career, found a mate, had children and grandchildren and finally retired. Now you get to do nothing all day! Just hang around and wait for the grim reaper.
Doing nothing is absolutely boring. Without a major purpose in life, one can lose his zest for life, even his will to live. So to increase my sense of purpose, I have turned to my long-deferred goal of becoming an excellent bass player.
For the past three weeks I have been studying music and practicing bass for anywhere from 3 to 5 hours a day. I am not just practicing what I already know, but pushing myself to gain new skills, to break through to the next level. My practice involves practicing jazz chord progressions to backing tracks, watching how-to videos (Scott Devine's are best), practicing speed and accuracy drills, playing to music and recording it for analysis, among other things. Because so many riffs and bass lines are presented as written music (with notes and time and key signatures), I can see that I will have to renew my study of reading music, too. And that's fine! I want to be a real musician, one who is literate and can sight read.
From time to time I will post recordings of my progress.
If possible, listen to the videos and recordings with head phones, unless you have larger speakers attached to your computer. The small, built-in speakers in most computers cannot reproduce the bass or the warmth of the original recordings.
I play bass guitar and string bass in and around Hollister, California.