A beginner bassist's foray into the unknown

An unscheduled break and revitalization

staff-infectionIts been a crazy few days. Since the week before we got the drum set, I pulled my back slightly, around the left shoulder blade. It got progressively worse up until Sunday, which is the last time I was able to practice, until tonight. Then, on Tuesday, I had an allergic reaction to something – possibly, to my horror, a Lindt chocolate sample I had while getting groceries – which caused my eyes to swell to the point that I couldn’t open them fully for a day. Wifey took me to the hospital, where I was placed on an IV drip to administer diphenhydramine and then a steroid. It took a day, but I’m able to open my eyes normally and function again. I don’t know if the steroid has anything to do with it, but my shoulder blade is also improved to a point in which I was able to get in almost an hour of practice tonight (its 6AM now and I was practicing around 3AM).

I think the rest did me some good. I ran exercises 47 & 48 in the Hal Leonard book for 25 mins each. They’re the octave lessons. I thought 47 was a good place to start, because the exercise is easy. I didn’t plan on doing 48, because it requires some actual notation reading, and I didn’t know if I’d have the brainpower in the middle of the night, but I made it through both of them pretty handily, which lifts my spirits quite a bit.

If I can make time during the day, later, I’m going to start focusing on the Notes on the G String exercises and see if I can knock them off by the end of the year. I also watched the 2nd half of a live stream from Mark Smith of Talkingbass. There were some interesting bits of everything in there – technique, theory, history, playing experiences, gear talk, string talk, bassist comparisons and a bunch of other things. The format revolved around answering questions live, so there was quite a breadth of topics discussed. I’ve not caught his live streams before – I get emails about them, but for some reason, didn’t indulge until now (it might be due, in part, to the 5-hour time difference between England and here).

Losing a few days also gave me some perspective about progress. I only worked on 2 exercises, but the time felt well-spent, and I feel like I accomplished something with them. Its the opposite of my experience last week, in which I had a long session but tried to tackle too much, too fast, and left dejected. So, slow and steady seems to be the way to go for me. I did mess around with random patterns, mostly based on A minor chord tones and the minor scale, during Mark’s stream, and I was surprised by how they came together. I didn’t realize that the exercises in the HLBM have not only been forcing me to play in ways that are somewhat alien to my way of thinking, but they also have been quietly improving my dexterity and finger strength. I’m not as accurate as I’d like to be for some things, but there’s a marked improvement that I wasn’t aware of until now. It make me look forward to someday completing the entire method.

Ok. Its 6:30 in the AM now. I’m going to go lie down and pretend to get some rest.

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