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  • The Lightbulb Moment: Antici…pation

    The Lightbulb Moment: Antici…pation

    It’s 6:57pm. I made it — and with three minutes to spare! Sixty minutes ago, I was at work, way across town, biting my fingernails as I shut down my computer for the day and ran out of the office. Thankfully, the traffic gods smiled upon me and aside from a few inescapable red lights,... »

  • Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance

    Increasing Concentration for Focused Practice and Performance

    Q: I play at a semi-professional level. I work a regular 9-to 5-job and play in the evenings. I am lucky enough that I get a few hours every evening to just shed and work on my playing and lately I’ve been doing a lot of classical etudes to work on technique and maintain my... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: You Make It Look Easy

    The Lightbulb Moment: You Make It Look Easy

    “Are you ready for bed?” “Yes, mom.” “Did you pick out a book to read?” “Yes!” “Did you brush your teeth?” “Ye-es” (with a slightly sarcastic tone). Twenty-odd years later and I’m still brushing my teeth, as I’m likely to do for another twenty years, and hopefully another twenty after that. Needless to say, I’m... »

  • Right Hand Endurance for Bass Players

    Right Hand Endurance for Bass Players

    Q: I’d like to ask something about right hand endurance. I’m playing in two metal bands, so some of our songs are rather fast-paced (I play 95% of the time with a pick). When rehearsing, everything seems just okay – no problems. But when playing live, my right tends to get this irregular muscular tension,... »

  • The Importance of Cooling Down After Playing

    The Importance of Cooling Down After Playing

    Most musicians are aware of the importance of warming up. Warming up properly helps to prevent injuries, and increases our ease of play. It can even help solidify our technique and ensure we play at our best that day. Fewer musicians, however, seem aware of the benefits of cooling down. Playing the bass for hours... »

  • Making a Living in Music

    Making a Living in Music

    I get a lot of questions from aspiring musicians on how to make a career in music. There isn’t one answer to this, and everyone’s circumstances are different. However, below are some of my more general suggestions for those considering a life in music. Specialize I’m usually talking to upright bassists, so I generally suggest... »

  • The Light Bulb Moment: Men In Black and Anonymity on the Gig

    The Light Bulb Moment: Men In Black and Anonymity on the Gig

    Another rehearsal called for 5:30pm. If it were my band, I’d wait until 7:00 so that no one would fall victim to rush hour traffic. But it’s never my band, so, 5:30 it is. As expected, I-40 was jammed in both directions and the guitar player’s GPS took him to the wrong house. We started... »

  • Freelance Gigs: Five Tips for Bass Players

    Freelance Gigs: Five Tips for Bass Players

    The last “Tips” column (on avoiding injury), was a popular one. So let’s continue this series with some tips on freelancing. 1. Be Musically Prepared If there is sheet music, review it. If there are recordings, listen to them. As much as possible, be familiar with all the parts. Be acquainted with the melodies, harmonies,... »

  • The Lightbulb Moment: A Tale of Two Pickups

    The Lightbulb Moment: A Tale of Two Pickups

    It was a humid, mid-summer night in 2010. Navigating to the venue seemed to take forever as the streets were bustling with 20-somethings heading to this restaurant and that, celebrating their two-day vacation from the confines of their offices. This particular club was familiar… I had played there once a month for almost a year... »

  • Promoting All of Your Gigs: A Guide for Bass Players

    Promoting All of Your Gigs: A Guide for Bass Players

    Q: Damian, your Artist Data show announcement for tonight just popped up in my news feed. That made me think about self promotion for bassists (aka sidemen where people rarely come to see us play, but the artist we support). How do we promote ourselves when we are not the main attraction and what platforms... »