Rick Shaw is the bassist for Johnny Mathis and Gordon Goodwin’s Phat Band

Music is food for the soul and therapy for whatever ails you, and breathing problems are no exception. Playing an instrument has been an enjoyable and sanity-saving hobby for me. Learning new tunes is just as important to me, as taking my neb treatments or doing long distance fitness walks.

I love all kinds of music styles, but being bass oriented I tend to lean more towards jazz, swing and pop, or anything with a good beat to it. Ive only been playing for 7 years, so not very good at slap or fancy acrobatics on the instrument, but I can find my way around a musical chart and pound out a pretty decent bass line.

Playing an instrument like the bass can be quite challenging at times, because the medication I take causes painful muscle cramps in my hands, making it hard for me to bend my fingers, especially my pinky finger. But just like everything else in my life, I find ways to adapt.

Below are a few videos of me playing along to various big band backing tracks, many of them written for high school and college jazz bands students. Most of them performed on upright acoustic bass, I do my best to emulate that sound with my electric bass.

A special thank you to Rick Shaw, Gordon Goodwin, Kris Berg Jeff Jarvis, Victor Lopez, Paul Clark, Alan Baylock, Doug Beach, Alfred, Kendor and Barnhouse publishing, and many many others for their musical talent and educational contributions.

If you suffer from a chronic illness, or even if you don’t, I encourage you to seek out a hobby for yourself. One that sets you free from your health struggles….at least temporarily. There are times when Ill start a song feeling like pure crap, only to get lost in the music and feel pretty good again. It’s amazing how that happens.

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