Home | Blog | B*B*C FAQ | About Steve | Contact | RSS : RSS

Beyond Bass Camp

Digging Deeper Inside the Bass, with Steve Lawson.


I’m always amazed – and dismayed – at how often I fail to ask the above question in my life. I spend a whole lot of time on trivial, time-wasting things as a diversion from the important things I really ought to be doing. That’s not to say that ‘trivial fun’ isn’t valid – sometimes what’s most important is some rest n’ relaxation, or a good laugh, or some time playing a computer game to wind down – it’s just that so often trivia is the default because we don’t stop to think about what it is that really matters to us and what it will take to bring that about.

Nowhere is this more obvious to me than in music
– partly because I’m lucky enough to spend a lot of my time explaining to people ways of finding out what matters to them, musically speaking, but also because it is conspicuously the only part of my life where I have any real mastery over the concept!

One of the points I keep stressing to my students is to take 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of a practice session to decide what’s important for that day –

  • Are there obviously technical or theoretical obstacles that have been getting in the way of you playing the music you want to play of late?
  • If there are, can you think of a useful exercise that’ll help you focus on those elements, rather than just playing the offending song in question over and over again, entraining your brain and muscles to remember the mistake as part of the song?
  • Or are there perhaps ideas about what’s ‘ok’ to do as a musician that are holding you back?
  • Are you crippled by other people’s expectations of what you should be doing with your music?
  • Are you playing the things you ‘ought’ to know, rather than the music you love? (this is most evident amongst bassists in their tendency to try and learn bebop melodies before learning to play walking bass, or without having any real interest in listening to jazz, or playing in a jazz setting… It’s just one of those things you ‘ought’ to do – a pox be upon whoever it was who transcribed the Charlie Parker Omnibook in bass-clef! 😉 )

So making up your mind about the things that matter to you,
deciding what you REALLY want to play and what the skills are that will get you there, and regularly revisiting them, even keeping a diary or a blog of where you’re up to can make all the difference to your satisfaction with your musical journey.

Beyond Bass Camp will be a place were those kind of questions are encouraged and explored, where goals can be refined, and bespoke musical paths defined and resourced.

Q: So, what are you working on at the moment? What are the obstacles? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply