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What Are the Benefits of Playing the Bass?

The double bass, sometimes called the string bass or upright bass, is an essential member of many musical groups. As the lowest registered string instrument in a symphony, it performs the critical bass line for a number of musical styles, including popular contemporary bands like bluegrass and rock, as well as in string ensembles and classical orchestras.

If you’ve recently decided to learn to play the double bass, you know you've got to be very determined. As a large instrument, it's fairly expensive and extremely cumbersome to transport, so it’s not always the first choice for many students. However, if you’ll stick with it, the benefits of learning to play the bass for beginners are truly exceptional. Not only will you develop a lucrative skill that's in demand with many musical groups, you’ll gain personal and physical improvements that will last your entire lifetime.

Professional Advantages

Double bass musicians are readily sought-out to perform in a professional capacity. If you plan to pursue a career as a professional musician, talented bassists have a leg up because they can adapt their playing style to match almost any musical genre. Having a variety of options to choose from increases your ability to make a good living. In a professional capacity, bass players can follow opportunities in numerous avenues, including:

  • Session musician—providing background music and scores for films, television, and advertisers.
  • Orchestra gigs on cruise ships, performing for church groups, or similar occasion gigs (like weddings, reunions, and other gatherings).
  • Chamber musician—if your talent can earn you a spot with one of the many community orchestras.

In addition, simply knowing how to play the double bass gives you decided workplace advantage and higher learning benefits. Potential employers and college acceptance boards look for individuals who have attained and developed marketable skills. Playing a string instrument builds your aptitude for teamwork, planning, and execution—all of which are highly appreciated on both college and job applications.

Scholastic Benefits

Bass for beginners, like learning to play other musical instruments, offers incredible scholastic advantages for students. A large amount of research has been performed over the past 10 years concerning the influence a musical education has on brain development. The findings agree that learning to play an instrument like the string bass builds enhanced reading comprehension and math skills, as well as helping the brain forge new connections. Improvement areas include:

  • Increased grades and I.Q.
  • Higher marks on achievement tests, spelling, math, and language arts examinations
  • Stress reduction
  • Improved social behavior
  • Increased grey matter
  • Heightened attention spans
  • Enhanced pattern recognition and memorization

Students who undertake music training early display increased neural processing.

Moreover, more studies are being conducted to explore the influence music education has in overcoming behavioral issues and autism. In an interview with Psychology Today, Berklee's Music Therapy Department Chair Dr. Suzanne Hanser stated that, “There is scientific evidence that music therapy influences children on the autism spectrum in several ways, like enhancing skills in communication, interpersonal relationships, self-regulation, coping strategies, stress management, and focusing attention." And, more recently, studies are showing that learning to play an instrument like the double bass offers long term benefits, reducing instances of memory loss in the aging brain.

Physical Enhancements

In addition to the enhancements a musical education provides for your brain, learning to play string bass also generates measureable physical improvements. To play any instrument, you must maintain correct posture and playing form, but the double bass is a large instrument that requires a lot of support. While playing, you will build upper body strength in your arms, shoulders, and neck, as well as lower body strength through improved, overall posture.

Plus, just toting the instrument around will help build not only your muscles, but also your resourcefulness. It can be quite a challenge trying to make accommodations for such a gangly apparatus, and you’re brain will stay busy overcoming various difficulties.

Joking aside, learning to play the string bass provides a host of lifelong benefits for those individuals who have the determination and drive to stay the course. The opportunities it provides will help you chart your course and have a successful career, whether you choose to play professionally or not.


is a stringed instrument right for you