Stop putting so much stress on yourself and just enjoy it
By Jon Liebman
August 18, 2023
How many things do you do just because you have to? You’ve already got plenty of obligations and responsibilities. Learning bass shouldn’t feel like one of them. Playing bass is something you do because it’s fun!
I was having a conversation with Joe Lynch recently, which I published as this week’s FBPO interview.
Joe’s a very busy, high-level lawyer in New York. He spends his days talking to clients about taxes, financing, restructuring, dissolutions…
I’m not saying he doesn’t like what he does (actually, I never asked him), but those things are Joe’s responsibilities, obligations he has to fulfill.
Playing bass, however, is something Joe loves to do! It’s something he’s chosen to learn, strictly for the enjoyment of it.
“I think a lot of us took up an instrument at a young age,” Joe says, “and life got complicated.”
Gotta do things versus wanna do things
Joe knew he’d get a lot of enjoyment out of learning bass and playing rock and roll. So he joined the Bottom Line Club a few years ago and has never looked back. I’m not sure where he found the time, but obviously it was a priority.
Joe finds learning bass to be a much-needed release from all the time he spends in the corporate world.
“We do so much in our lives because we have to do it,” he observes. “We do so much in our lives because we’re obligated to do it. We sit in traffic two hours a day sometimes.”
The ultimate stress reliever
So what does he do to relieve the stress? Same thing he advises others in the same situation to do:
“Pick up your bass,” he says. “Put on some music. Put some sheet music in front of you. Just try to mimic it. Just try to learn.”
Okay, that helps. But what about those times when that frustration kicks in? Learning bass is supposed to have the opposite effect, isn’t it?
For Joe, the answer is simply to keep things in the proper perspective.
“Remember, you’re choosing to do this to have fun,” he says. “If you get a little frustrated by it, if your fingers aren’t moving the right way, if you’re just having a bad day, just put it down. And maybe put some music on. Or watch some bass player play or something.”
Keep the end goal in mind
What’s your reason for wanting to learn bass? If you’re trying to be the next Jaco by tomorrow, well, that’s definitely going to add some stress to your life.
On the other hand, if you just want to learn bass and have some fun, that’s a whole different story.
“I am not the best bass player out there,” says Joe. “I’m far from it. But I know what I’m good at. And I’m good at playing well with others, getting the reaction from the crowd, enjoying that.”
Going to… school???
Does it take work to learn bass? Of course it does. “It means going to school,” Joe says, “doing some of the theory, learning the songs because you’ve got to sound good to have fun with it.”
It’s not the kind of school you have to go to; it’s the kind you’ll want to go to.
“It’s not easy,” Joe says, “but you’re doing this to have fun. You’re not doing it to add another level of responsibility or obligation or frustration in your life. You’re doing this for another reason.”
Stop beating yourself up
Not many people can just pick up the bass and be good at it right away. Like anything else, learning bass takes effort. At times it might get frustrating too. And when that happens, just think of Joe.
“Don’t beat yourself up,” he says. “Just don’t. Life’s too short. You’re doing this for yourself.”
Keep in mind, no one says he need to become a virtuoso. Just take it a day at a time and have fun.
“Don’t put too much pressure on yourself,” says Joe. “Sometimes the best music is played (with) the simplest things.”
How about you?
How much can you relate to Joe’s situation? If learning bass is something you’d like to do, give it a try. Join the Bottom Line Club like Joe did and see how you like playing bass. It’s 100% risk-free. Get started here.