I have a confession to make, sometimes I wonder why I continue to play. I think I may be technically challenged. I feel like no matter how much I study or practice, all I am really doing is maintaining my current level. I study theory for a month then move on and forget 95% of what I learned, I work on scales and triad for a while then move on and forget 95% of what I learned. I don’t know why but I seem to have very low retention for musical studies. I feel like for every step forward I take 6 steps back, which frustrates me to no end. Working my way through Teach Me Bass Guitar has certainly improved my playing immensely, but still I feel like my retention is low.
I often wonder if I were to stop playing today and not play for 6 months would I forget almost everything and have to start all over again? Likely I would retain my basic playing skills, but would all the theory and little musical knowledge I have now be gone? Perhaps I need to find a good, flesh and blood, teacher to get direct one on one feedback from. Maybe when I get back from bass camp I will seek one out. Or maybe I’ll hang up my axe and walk away. The thought has crossed my mind a few times lately. I just feel like I have invested so much time, effort and money that I can’t walk away now, yet on the flip side, after investing so much I feel I should have more to show for it.
Maybe I’m just at a low point right now, or have pre-camp jitters. Going through the 9 songs Roy sent to work on for camp it struck me that, at least to my ear, only one of the 9 does not have a busy bass line. Of course this was the song I chose to learn first and pretty much have it down. The thing is after listening to the other 8 tracks, I have no idea which one to work on next. Each one has fairly busy sections that seem to be a stretch for me, which actually ignited this little self-realization. Surely after playing for so many years I should be capable of playing a couple of these tunes, if not all. First off, I don’t play slap, so that eliminates a couple of tracks. Second, I am not a busy player at all, which eliminates most of the rest. The thing is, I enjoy listening to guys like Flea and Victor Wooten, but I really have no desire to play like them. I am more attuned to players like Duck Dunn, James Jamerson, and Ron Blair, players who throw in a tasty fill here and there, but don’t dominate the music. At this point I plan to just try to push on through and see how things go at bass camp, hopefully I will have turned a corner by then. One things for sure, I’ll be looking to Roy and the other instructors for some much-needed guidance while I’m there.