Saying that the issue is NOT a lack of quality time is a bit too glib.
I can’t and won’t speak for others, but I know only too well how little quality time is left at the end of my day lately.
I do get at least 10-15 minutes most every day, sometimes more, to practice etudes, which for me are quick, quality practice hits that keep my hands and mind nimble. But I do miss having the 60-90 minutes I had not so long ago to practice. Hopefully, I’ll have that available again in the not so distant future.
One thing I do is “practice” in my head as I lie in bed and drop off to sleep. I visualize the fretboard and notes and move my fingers to simulate whichever etudes I’m currently working on. May sound dumb, but it really pays off the next time I pick up my bass.
Have been thinking about this more, and the one thing that really is suprisingly demotivating is this…
When I finish a cover and post it, I generally have zero desire to learn another song right away, or even work on simple practice/lessons/etc. It’s like I am spent for a bit. I can’t really get right back in the saddle usually.
And here is the weird thing, and @JerryP and I have talked about this, if I do go to learn a new song, I feel like it is an insurmountable task and can’t learn anything, and am generally amazed at the fact that I was ever able to learn a song in the past. Even an easier one. It’s the darndest thing.
Eventually the motivation and feeling for learning something comes back and all is good, but man, it is so not there right after. Right now, after “The Long One” i am spent-ola.
Good news is I just pivot to sax and all is good for a while.
But man it is weird.
For me its mostly the reason “brain dead”. I’m a teamleader, working for a technology supplier company and have to deal with my collegues and time consuming projects.
I have the time to practice, but if I do feel exhausted, I dont get the focus and play badly. When I play bad, I cant enjoy practicing.
So I’m practicing two or three times a week, when I feel good and relaxed. but then I play between 1 or 2 hours. Sometimes twice a day (especially on weekends).
Before practicing new songs, I usually play already songs I know to warm up. Then I practice a new song over and over again getting up the speed.
But making breaks of one or two day have the advantage to get my synapsis ordered. I knowticed, that I make slowly progress, having breaks inbetween - and I really enjoy getting the Instrument back into my hands again.
These are all great reasons. I think mine is laziness. Though I am pretty satisfied with my practicing, it’s interesting to hear all the reasons and differences with people at different levels.
I enjoy new songs. I enjoy revisiting old songs. I think the School of Rock is good, positive peer pressure. I think goals are good too. I don’t have the “perfection” problem, if anything, I think I’m a little easy on myself. Next session’s theme is “One Hit Wonders” and/or “New Wave”. Lots of new wave songs seem pretty easy on the bass - so my goal will be 100% of the notes. I usually dumb the songs down a bit to make sure I can play it comfortably…and when I can, I rarely go back and add more notes in.
But I have the bass right next to my office chair. And there are many meetings where I can turn off the video/audio and practice while I listen to the meeting. I’m super lucky that way…
No high pressure deadlines.
That’s a real important one.
I always practice when there’s a band/gig/job that is headed for a gig or a recording session or a rehearsal.
I need to be accountable to other people or an audience to get my practice-ass in gear.
I can see some potential echoes of that in other folks’ comments. I didn’t have it in my 3… but really, this should be my one… with the other 3 being IF NO THEN responses for when I don’t have something to be accountable for coming up.
Honestly, there isn’t much that keeps me from noodling on my bass. Generally speaking, I spend at least an hour almost daily tinkering around with no real direction, just playing riffs and scales and moving up and down the fretboard.
There’s no structure or goal. And that’s where my challenge lies; not in playing the bass, but in playing something productive.
This is a perfectly expressed analysis of how we end up doing things.
I will be thinking back on this often.
I might be tempted to - depending on the scenario or the activity - substitute different words in for stress.
I think pressure, accountability, potential-embarrassment, fear… all those negative motivators…
But also, when the joy of not playing is lower than the joy of playing, I tend to play.
It works with positive factors as well.