‘I Was Allowed to Practice 30 Minutes a Day’: Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld Reveals Method She Used to Get Better With Limited Playing Time (VIDEO) tt

“I actually recommend it to every musician.”

'I Was Allowed to Practice 30 Minutes a Day': Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld Reveals Method She Used to Get Better With Limited Playing Time


Bassist Tal Wilkenfeld described an original method she devised to compensate for the limited time she was allowed to practice and named one thing people should bear in mind when deciding to pursue music for a living.Having worked as a professional musician for 18 years, during which time she played with the likes of Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Prince, and Mick Jagger (to name a few), it’s safe to say that Tal Wilkenfeld was right to pursue a music career, even though those nearest to her apparently had other plans.

“I just grew up in an environment that was focused on academia”, the bassist said during a recent interview with Lex Friedman, revealing that her practicing time was seriously limited (presumably so as not to infringe upon her studying time). Wilkenfeld, who started getting serious about the guitar in high school, and then switched to bass shortly afterward, added (transcription via Killer Guitar Rigs):

Tal Wilkenfeld: Root Awakening - Bass Magazine

“I fell in love with the guitar and just wanted the focus to be that. So my limit was 30 minutes a day, for… I don’t even remember how many times a week. Might have been every day or five days a week.”

Her dedication being as high as it is, Tal came up with an exceptional method to overcome the limitations imposed on her:

“I just learned how to visualize the fretboard in my head. And I practiced all day in my head.”

“I used to do that with the fretboard, just practice. And I actually recommend it to every musician. Because if you’re just practicing here [on the actual fretboard], you don’t know what is more dominant, necessarily.”

She added:

“Is it [in your head], or is it your motor skills? If you just take that away and do it [in your head], you know you’ve got it. So I’m glad that that happened and that I learned how to do that.”

Tal Wilkenfeld’s advice to young musicians

With experience such as hers, Tal is in an exceptional position to advise those looking to make a name for themselves in the music world, especially when dedication and the mindset with which to apply oneself to the task are concerned. Asked to share some of her wisdom, the bassist said:

“I think, first and foremost, understanding why you are playing music — if it’s because you have something that you’re trying to express, or that you’re just in love with expression itself, with art itself. Those are great reasons to start this journey.”

“I think the ‘why’ is really important because it’s a jagged lifestyle, and there’s a lot in it. So if you don’t have your purpose, if you’re not centered in your purpose, then all that jagged lifestyle is probably going to get to you.”

Such kind of resolve tends to come in handy when the inevitable periods of uncertainty characteristic for the profession set in, she adds:

“Every human being needs a certain amount of certainty and structure, and so the certainty can come from your inner knowing that you’re doing exactly what you want to be doing and knowing what your purpose is in doing it in this expression. Otherwise, you’re just kind of like a leaf blowing in the wind.”

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