Double bassist and blogger John Floeter recently put up an excellent post on his bass studio blog containing advice on how to get in shape fast after taking some time off. Recently taking a few weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon, I can definitely attest to the usefulness of this advice. John writes:
The first thing I’ll do is set up with a tuner, a metronome, and a mirror. I want to be careful not to blow all my time with my un-calloused fingers on any one thing, so I try not to dwell on anything for more than 5 minutes. 3 or 4 half-hour sessions is all I can manage on the first day back. After I’ve tuned the bass, I just want to make sure that everything I’m doing is done correctly, even if it’s done very slowly. I might play some easy etude or melody off the top of my head just to relax, but making sure in the mirror that I’m bowing straight, and my shoulders are relaxed. Sure, I’ve been playing for years, but I still need to check once in a while that I’m holding everything correctly. I’ll move on to some scales and long tones, but I won’t do it too long-I really have some notes to learn. After 20 or so minutes of rep at a slow speed, I’m done for now. I really don’t want to forget my vacation just yet. I repeated the process twice, but played some things faster.
Read the complete post here.
I always struggle with the best method of getting in shape after taking a long break from the instrument. Usually nothing feels great, and I must resist the urge to dive right in and start working of faster repertoire. Often I suffer from the misconception that faster playing equals faster recovery. Taking John’s advice and easing back into it in a slow and methodical way is usually the best way to reestablish a technical foundation and promote good playing habits.
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