I keep a log of my practice time, something to remind me what I'm working on and (on those days when I need a boost) to show me that I'm making progress. Yesterday I sat down to write something in it after practicing. To my shock, it had been 50 days since my last practice.
I had a lot going on over the last two months. I had a lot of deadlines at work and a trip to Europe to plan and get prepared for. I also have a busy family life that needed attending too. But 50 days? What happened?
It sounds worse than it may actually be. I had a lot of gigs in the two months, but not more than twice a week. Is that a lot? Do I have any other excuses for missing 50 days?
I'm trying not to think aobut it. Its inevitable that time can get away form you. For me, music is an avocation rather than a vocation. As a result, it sometimes must take a back seat. The last 50 days are a sunk cost. I'm putting it behind me and moving on.
However, I'm suffering for it. While I'm not back at step one, I feel like I'm re-training muscles to move in a disciplined manner, re-learning pieces, and generally struggling with intonation. (at least relative to where I was). On top of this, my callouses are gone and the Calgary Stampede is on the horizon. This is a busy gigging time for just about every musician in town. Without my callouses, it will be 10 days of pain so I'm on the rush to get some good time in with my bass.
Overall I'm quite surprised at how far my skills had dropped off in over 50 days. (As an aside, I started yoga again after at least a 3 month break. I'm having the same realizations there as I am with my bass playing.) Maybe I shouldn't be, but its striking how many things (particularly playing the bass) are not like riding a bike: you can and do forget. It reminds me of the old quote (which I heard as attributable to Louis Armstrong)
If I miss one day's practice, I notice. If I miss two days practice, the critics notice. If I miss three days practice, the audience notices it.