What's your motivation?

Hi all! I finished the ‘Beginner to Badass’ course more than a year ago. In the beginning, I played a few hours a day, I was recording covers and even learning how to mix, and then it started to get hard to find the time and motivation. Especially after trying to learn how to slap the bass (Yes, that one is very hard).
I love playing the bass but practicing alone and doing the same over and over is stopping me from playing, nowadays I practice once or twice a month. I don’t know anyone to play with, and my short attention span is not helping at all! I would like to know how do you keep yourself motivated to keep practicing. Do you choose a song to cover and don’t stop until you record it? Do you share your recordings in the forum? etc. Any idea will be helpful! :slight_smile: Thank you all!!


I try to challenge myself. Learn something outside my comfort zone, that’s hard to play, etc. Or learn a new scale (or make one up!) and then improv/solo on it.


For short term motivation what helps me is learning new songs, recording them and sharing with the world.

My ultimate goal is to play with other people (that’s one of the main purposes that I think music is for; to be shared), but I’m not quite there yet, so I use this as a motivation; that I will be able to play in a band or with other people in the future.


Staying motivated to practice is a personal thing for everybody.

Ask yourself what your goal for learning and practicing bass is.

  1. Do you want to play in a band?

  2. Would jamming informally with others be of interest to you?

  3. Do you want to learn to play your favorite songs?

  4. Does pushing yourself to learn new techniques and/or theory appeal to you?

  5. Do you want to play solely for the fun of it?

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you have a path forward. Good luck and keep practicing.


Yes. Posting covers here on the forum is helpful because you have a bit of a captive audience and some good feedback.

I also try to pay attention to the bass line when listening to songs and if it sounds fun I’ll try to learn it.




George Costanza approves.


I also had periods when I didn’t pick up the bass for weeks.
Those periods come and go, and I try to reflect on what is causing it. Most of the time, it is that I seem to be stuck and don’t see any progress. This might be because I have it in my head that I want to learn a specific song, and it just is out of my reach. Or I just had other things to do.

So, to get around it, it might be helpful to switch things up. Find another song that interests you, try some different things to practice. Or get back to the Beginner to Badass course, look for the things that gave you trouble and try them again.


I have a small office room I had setup for music, but I moved the bass to the living area with a small amp. In sight, in mind. I practice a whole lot more now.

I also practice the mindless repetitive stuff while watching TV, twitch actually.

Seeing my bass on the stand really motivates me to be more productive with my time


I have no motivation really other than wanting to be able to produce the “THUNDER”. Actually, all of my playing is done just for me. When I pull off a song that kicks my butt at first, I am so proud. Right now, playing bass is really just a hobby that I love. I can go into the bass room and forget about life for a while. I am taking lessons at SBL and recently started another song on Level Two called “Sledgehammer”. It has a tricky pinky roll and when I got it to sound right, I was stoked. I will just continue to work my way through songs and see where this all leads.


The greatest motivator for me was always a band, and the death-defying, practice-inducing, high-stakes environment of needing to play songs well in front of audiences.
It’s the greatest motivator there is!

I also like @MikeC’s approach of trying to make the goals clear.

Hope something helps!


Here in the uk I joined something called Rock Project (I’d googled school of rock) They were a company who run a one a week 1 hr sessions on a school term basis where you learn a song every one or two weeks. You spend 1/2 hour practicing and half hour jamming with others. Its pushed me into making the effort to practice and play. See if there is something similar to this near you. Also some pubs in my area have a jam night.


Sometimes yes, sometimes no, I let The Force guide me.

Yes, and this (for me) is a big motivator as I do not currently have a band situation.

I also play sax, which is riddled in long tones, scale practice, speed/dexterity drills, etudes and lots of other boring stuff.
It’s the learning of songs, or, parts of songs that move me forward.

Apart from songs, one thing to remember…
Learning an instrument is a long game situation, not a short game win.
Self introspection on your abilities are also a big motivator for me.
Something that was hard becomes easy, something that was sloppy gets tight, etc.
It is important to keep a log of these things and notice when they improve.
Octave patterns, pinky stretches, fast passages, using a pick, you name it.


Another thing that came to mind is to watch for Talking Bass sales. Mark’s courses are great, and a lot lengthier than they might seem on the surface. They will get you interested in playing for sure, imo at least.




Escapism. Playing bass is more enjoyable than most other things going on in my life.


For me it’s wanting to be good at something I can call my own and have a hobby that brings me satisfaction. I’ve been a mum and carer for such a long time that there just wasn’t time or opportunity to do something ‘for me’. So I wanted something that wasn’t tied to the mum-carer identity. Before kids, I never had the confidence or patience with myself to pick up music as a hobby. When I sucked at my very short lived attempts at piano and guitar (at least I learnt to read guitar tabs!), I just gave up and said I have no musical talent, I’m rubbish, why bother and all the negative self talk. Now with the benefit of life experience, I know that the secret is practice and putting in the effort.

So, now my motivation is a combination of wanting something I can escape in to and explore, learn more (neuroplasticity and all that), choosing songs and challenging myself to learn something that for now seems impossible (hello Geddy Lee) and building up my skills enough to feel confident playing with others which I’ve never done before. Also, having the skills and confidence to go to the bass store on my one year bassiversary (Sept 2023) and be able to noodle around without feeling like a hack!


I agree with everyone who says playing with others. I started to do this very quickly after doing the course in a month and I was lucky to know some musical people. The next step was being brave enough to say Yes to everything that came my way and rolling with the fear. I said I wanted to play with other people and my friend said oh we have a gig in a month, then he sent me 5 songs after 2 weeks and another 12 with only a week to go. we had 2 practices and the keys were changed in a number of songs and some were swapped out for others. There were things I finally played live that I learned the day before! It was mad. But I just thought hey, there are worse things than looking a tit. As a result I learned lots of songs really quickly ( including things like Crazy Little Thing as per Josh’s tabs) in a couple of weeks when there is no way I would’ve done that under any other circumstances. Then because I did that gig I got asked again, just a week later. and that was paid. There is no better motivator than putting your vibration out there in the universe saying ’ I want to play - make it happen, universe!’


All of that is great. Big congratulations to you. :+1:


My main goal was always to be as good as possible considering my musical abilities (or lack thereof). However, my secondary goals are constantly changing. Earlier it didn’t seem possible to me due to my morbid shyness, but I figured I want to have my own band someday :see_no_evil: Another thing is to make a song that I would like to listen to myself.

The bass guitar has been my dream and calling since I was 11, and that is what motivates me too - learning to play now, feels like paying “tribute” to my teenage self, who was unable to do it then (and generally had a hard start in life).

When I have a bad day and I just don’t feel like anything, I sit down and do some technical or chord tone exercises. Something that always gives me immediate satisfaction :smile:

And tutoring, of course!! I have a great teacher who helps me choose the right paths. It is always worth thinking about taking lessons from a professional.