Play that Bass

Music is food for the soul and therapy for whatever ails you, and lung disease is no exception. Listening to music and learning to play an instrument has been a rewarding and sanity-saving hobby for me.

Ive always had a fascination with sound, acoustics and melodic harmony. As a young child I would tinker on the piano trying to figure how chords were constructed. I played the trumpet in elementary school and then messed around with the bass a little in my teens and early twenties, but didn’t pick up a musical instrument again until I was 57 years old! In 2012 I had the good fortune of taking lessons from a renowned bassist, but for the most part Ive taught myself how to read music and play. Learning to play new tunes is just as important to me as taking my nebulizer treatments. In fact, I consider playing music as part of my asthma therapy and practice at lest 2 hours a day. Playing an instrument like the electric 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. But just like everything else in my life, I find ways to adapt.

I love all kinds of music styles, but being bass oriented I tend to lean towards jazz or anything with a good beat to it. Im not very good at slap or fancy acrobatics on the instrument, but I can pound out a pretty decent walking line and maintain a steady tempo.

Below are a few videos of me playing various tunes. Many of them were written or performed on upright acoustic bass, but I did my best to emulate them with my bass guitar. Again, this is just a hobby for me, so I’m totally allowed to screw up.

A special thank you to Rick Shaw, Gordon Goodwin, Kris Berg 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 chronic health problems, you might want to consider a hobby for yourself. One that you enjoy and one that takes your mind off your troubles, at least temporarily.

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

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