The Benefits of a Break

A fun story. From mid November, pretty much until this past weekend, I was too busy with life, work, and family to dedicate much time to bass. Or any hobby really. I was playing in a boardgame group for a bit, and I felt such relief when that ended as it meant one less thing to worry about. During that time period, I’d say I picked the bass up maybe 3 times, never for more than a few minutes as I always seemed to get called away for something.

During this break, my plucking fingers felt stiff, my fretting fingers got soft, and the difficult stuff I was learning and working on seemingly fled from my head. Even songs that I had gotten competent at, I was worried I would make a mess of when I finally got back into my normal playing routine. A break is good, but I was worried about the downside of a two and a half month break for someone at my self rated level (Id say somewhere between noob and intermediate player).

Yesterday I was off for the holiday and the wife had to work. I found myself alone with an empty to do list. And what did I decide to do with all this free time? I watched TV of course. Complete session of vegging out. Beer in one hand, TV remote in the other, bass hanging on the wall collecting more dust. I was browsing streaming services and came across Airheads, which havent seen in years (suggested watching if you want a good laugh at the music industry).

Considering the tunes and the overall rock n’ roll tone fo the film, by the time credits rolled I was dusting off the bass. I was finally back in the mind set. Ran through a few scales to shake the cobwebs off the fingers, set up my Ipad for tabs/backing track, and even fiddled with the Zoom effects pedal, which I had barely messed with since ordering.

Starting with some of those songs I felt really competent playing, I noticed I hadn’t really lost anything. It all came back really fast, helps when you already know a song by heart from listening to it for years. Three songs in and I felt pretty good. So I moved on to some stuff I had been playing with before my little hiatus, but hadn’t quite nailed, and found myself doing a pretty passable job for not having so much as looked at them for months. It would seem stepping away helped a little, I was back looking at it with fresh eyes, and things that tripped me up before seemed easier.

Then, I wanted to learn something new I hadn’t looked at before. No doubt influenced as it is the opening song in Airheads, and a love for Motorhead, I chose Born to Raise Hell. Pulled up the tabs with notation and the backing track, then decided to hit the ground running. 3-4 passes through, and I was feeling real good about myself. Nothing I had played was terribly difficult, but that doesn’t matter if youre feeling good and having fun. All told, my first solid session in months was just shy of two hours.

My fingers hurt, the neighbors must have been thouroughly annoyed, and I came away with renewed confidence in my playing and what I have retained over what I think might be about a year of playing and learning with B2B. Fearing that a long break was going to set me back a little, I found the opposite. When I played again, it was with renewed focus and precision. Before, maybe I was too close to the issue, or experiencing burnout with the regular practice schedule I’d been following.

Sorry for long ramble, but wanted to share a little story that maybe will inspire or encourage someone who finds this and is also concerned about having any length of break/hiatus. It’s fine, you will likely be surprised what stuck when you get back to playing. I also am 100% sure I am not the first person to stumble on this realization, and it is likely repeated somewhere on this forum many times (as all good advice should be).


Dude. That’s Awesome! :sunglasses: :+1:

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