Physical fitness isn’t usually something you associate with being a musician, but it’s a must especially if you’re looking to go pro and perform on stage. Playing the bass standing up, even for just an hour, can really drain your energy. What if you need to play several gigs a night or a full concert with only a few minutes to rest?
Even the most lightweight and easy-to-play acoustic bass guitars can feel heavy and difficult to play when you’re tired. Playing the bass is physically demanding and without taking care to prepare, you will get fatigued easily and risk developing an injury.
This is why it’s important for bass players to build their strength and stamina even as they work to improve their skills. Here are some tips to follow to build endurance and become stage-ready.
Practice playing for an hour
It’s crucial for bass players to build up their playing time gradually before a performance. One of the ways you can do this is by playing a long set.
Set up a play-along playlist that’s good for at least an hour. Don’t stop playing until the playlist ends. No bathroom breaks! A few seconds between tracks is fine, but nothing longer than a 30 seconds. Play the entire set. If you feel fatigued before the playlist runs out, stop. Take note of your time. The next day, try again and try your best to exceed your playing time the day before. Do this until you are able to play the entire set list without stopping.
Continue doing this by setting a longer playing time bit by bit. Aim to play a two-hour session without stopping and without any mental or physical fatigue. Once you’ve built up your endurance, you can focus on maintaining it.
Practice even if you don’t have gigs
There are days when you’ll need to play for four to six hours straight, and there are days when you don’t play at all. Work breaks are good, but if you stop practicing for a long period of time – say, a week – it will affect your stamina. You’ll find it harder to go back to playing long sets again. To stay in shape and avoid being physically unprepared, you need to keep a daily practice regimen.
Maintain your stamina
Keeping your stamina up requires daily practice and working toward being physically fit. Make sure you have a good form when playing your bass guitar and that you move around to improve circulation and prevent muscle fatigue.
It’s also recommended to maintain good nutrition and drink plenty of water so that your body will recover faster after you’ve played a long set. And of course, nothing beats exercise to keep physically fit. Yoga, weight training, any workout that encourages good posture and proper movement is good for you. A 20-minute walk (or better yet, a run) every day can do wonders for your overall health, so get moving!
Those are just a few tips that can help you prepare to perform long sets on stage or for multiple gigs. Don’t take your physical fitness for granted – you’ll need it to keep on playing so you can achieve your goal of going pro.