Bass Lesson 1: Relaxation for better playing and listening

Relaxation is the most important lesson for musicians

Relaxation: I could call this lesson just as well Lesson 1-10, for relaxation is very, very important. If you want to become a virtuoso bass player, if you want to improve your timing, technique, hearing and your ensemble playing: learn to relax more. A great technique is not the result of trying very hard, but of relaxation. If you try very hard, the result is tension, which is the opposite of what you want. When I study, which I do every day, I try to discover at what moment I feel tension. Next, I try to play the same thing without tension.

You can feel tension in your body and in your head, but the first is always a result of the latter.

When tension arises, it becomes impossible to concentrate fully on what you’re doing and on what your fellow musicians are doing, for you hear half as much, compared to when you are relaxed. You’ll never play properly if you do not do something about this. If you do, you’ll be able to look at your playing with a new, higher level of consciousness. You’ll understand and hear better what you and the people around you are doing and if something goes wrong, you’ll understand quickly why and be able do something about it.

Great musicians never have to work hard. How they play seems easy because it is. It is easy because they’re so relaxed. To play well, you have to be conscious of many things at the same time. It is a form of mind mastery. For this level of consciousness, it is imperative that you’re totally relaxed.

Relaxation is not something you can only attain after long hours of practising. When you feel tension when you’re trying to play a certain passage, just play it for a short time every now and then, trying to relax while playing it. A few minutes each time is enough. This way, you’ll become a virtuoso bass player easily! This always works.

I used to experience a lot of tension, and I can still get more relaxed. This method helps me to raise my playing to a higher level. I don’t believe in boundaries anymore thanks to this method; I just keep getting better and better. You can to, it’s easy!

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relaxation: basshead of Philip Baumgarten