People who don’t know how to do a thing are almost always impressed by people who know how to do a thing; they have no frame of reference for judging the skill. People want to assume that if someone is good at something, it must be some aptitude they were born with and they weren’t.
“Talent” often does mean that you can do things in significantly less time than the average person though… but there is a point though where practice will surpass talent if you don’t put in enough effort.
So, last week I learned the bassline for “King Nothing.” Not the world’s most beloved Metallica song, but it came on the radio, my brain said “Oh yeah… I forgot how cool that bassline is at the beginning.” so I started on it, figuring I’d get that intro part down and call it a day.
Ended up learning the whole song because, mysteriously, I found myself moving on to the verse, then the prechorus, and then the chorus, while still having a good and relatively easy time of it. Took about a week of off and on practice, and I had it down pretty well.
This is how it’s been going for me when learning songs for only a few months, now. I started pretty much the same way as a lot of you guys have detailed, here. Just riffs, or my favorite parts, or whatever, and then abandoning the rest of the song. But even easy songs were like that for a while. After a time, I get the itch to “play along” with something, and so I start to look at some of the beginner songs here on Bassbuzz as well as “easy songs to jam to” and whatever on Youtube. After that, I go back to learning harder riffs because I eventually want a challenge, or I hear something that sounds cool I want to learn, but I probably don’t finish those songs. And then I go back to easy stuff and surprise myself when I learn more than I was expecting… and you can guess what happens after that.
It’s just one of those things with art, I guess. I find my “safe” zone where I’m creating things that sound good and feel good, but the itch to push my boundaries will keep me going outside of that circle to test my limits. I’ve learned to use that time to explore but not be discouraged, because I know, even if I don’t learn a whole song when I’m being adventurous, what I do learn will only serve me in the overall enjoyment of making music. If that’s you, then yeah… take those muses and put them to work with whatever song is hitting you at the time, no matter how hard it is. I guarantee they’ll show up again when you least expect them, and if you keep at it, they’ll visit more frequently to inspire you to finish more songs.
I’m realizing that “it takes time” is applicable to virtually everything on an instrument and music, but with moving goal posts you rarely notice that you’ve achieved something.
I recently played with some friends online and they were digging simple basslines and playing along, and it didn’t fatigue me at all after an hour to keep a lot of things going, so that was a boost of confidence.
As much as I want to tackle certain songs my hand movement just isn’t there yet but every week or so I notice notable improvement even if its 70% to 80% tempo from muscle memory, just have to embrace patience and a good nights sleep and accept it lol.
I like the concept of a “Safe zone” to be confident in that your not totally flopping on your progress.
I love Neil Gaiman’s take on this. - “You have to finish things - that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things. Moreover, the main thing you will learn by finishing things is to love to finish things.”