ISB 2017 – How it can be discouraging

So, I just got back from the International Society of Bassist (ISB) convention in Ithaca, New York last week. For any of you bassist out there, I highly recommend joining the ISB, if you haven’t already. It is a wonderful resource of being able to connect with other bassists around the USA and world, during the convention. But also, a wealth of information, that they have available for the members on their site.

Please click here for a link to the ISB site.

I hope to have more specific information and thoughts on my trip over the next coming weeks. But, for now, I thought I would leave a line or two describing my first reactions. My first day there seemed a little discouraging, because I was surrounded by SO MANY talented bassists. I specifically heard a bassist whom I had spent the evening prior geeking out over some of their YouTube videos. This bassist was talking about how they where discouraged, themselves, about what it means to be entering the “real world” of being a bassist. This person had just finished their graduate degree work at a major university in the USA. So, of course, my mind went there too. If they are feeling small and insignificant about the world of bass playing, what place do I have?

Fortunately, I was able to attend masterclasses that helped change my mind about what it means to be a bassist today, and that I do have a place. One of the masterclasses that really helped shape this for me, was given by John Clayton. Although he is not a classical bassist, I was SO glad my friend Alicia Wrigley (a local SLC, UT jazz bassist) encouraged me to attend this masterclass with her. The most profound message that Clayton was able to share with me, is that good bass playing starts with the person first, and then the bass. If I am in a good place emotionally and mentally, I will be able to play the bass. This message was exactly what I needed to hear after listening to this other up and coming bassist speak about their career.

So, it is my goal for the coming months, to make sure I am good place emotionally and mentally. This way, when I approach the bass, I will be able to work with the instrument, rather than against it.

Did you make it too ISB this year? I would love to hear about it!