Criticism

DrummerCA35

Senior Member
Well, the bass player and I spoke last night. He’s easy to talk to, good sense of humor. He wasn’t able to tell me WHERE he noticed a problem, or in WHAT SONG. Except for one example: except during the keyboard intro to “Jump” where the drums play accents. He said it didn’t feel right to him; I felt that I played it exactly like the record. He said they were 16th notes; but they are not, and I corrected him and he agreed. I told him I'd go band and double check it, though. This has happened in other instances with other people…I learn the part like the record, and then am told there is a problem. Same thing happened with a cymbal choke in “Purple Rain” before the break, which I posted in another thread some time back.

I would add to this, that he told me he quit the last band because he felt the drummer “wasn’t in the groove.” He tried to “work it out” with the drummer, but he told me that after a while the drummer “stopped working on it” and so he left the band, because of the drummer “not being in the groove.” He, therefore, before becoming more involved with our band, would want to make sure that everything was “OK” with the drums. He again told me that he felt he and I were very much locked in. He did say he’d loved to sub with us again, if given the chance.

I also found out from another guy who’s played with him that “he is very picky.”

So…
He can’t remember where there is a problem with my playing, but thinks there is one

He left his last band because “the drummer can’t groove”

Other guys who’ve played with him say he’s great but picky

I said that if we play again, he’s welcome to tell me exactly where he hears a problem.

And regardless of ANY of this, it’s a good idea to record some performances and take an objective listen.
 
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Smoke

Silver Member
Outstanding! Handled like a true professional, CA35. I like where he accepted your response when you knew you were right. And, as you mentioned, a recording will be your best critic.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It's impossible to give general answers in situations like these.

I've been the old fart in plant of situations like these. Not being critical, but sometimes giving a tip or two about how make things gel better or just wanting to discuss something that's not working with the feel. Many drummers are quite defensive about it tellinge how great their time is. That's not the point though, it's about a type of certain music in certain tempo and what type of vibe we're going for.

I think just commenting on stuff is worthless, though. We have to be willing to listen, but we also have to be willing to explain properly.

There are many reasons people talk about these things, and as in many other professional endeavors it's not always sincere.

Each musician has a different det of experiences and each musician has his/her own groove.

In this case it seems like the bass player enjoyed the gig, didn't find it natural to nitpick on your playing as a sub, which is understandable and at the same time just made a few comments in a more suitable environment.


Now, I've been a guitar player for most of my life and I've been known to be quite picky on drummers. Having spent some time behind the kit myself I have a better understanding of a drummers challenges than I used to have, but I still my little bits of criticism used to be correct.

This brings up an important point, which is to not expect other musicians to speak "drummer-language" and give you the exact right term in regards to what they want.

It also brings up a point about time vs groove.

When someone talks about tempo it might just as well be about where you play on the beat or your inner dynamics.

Other musicians can only tell you if the feel is right. If they happen to be metronome obsessed they're probably wrong, too.

I could say something to the extent of a drummer not being able to groove. What this then speaks to is that drummers commitment to the groove and overall sound. If I get a comment like"I can groove, I have great time..." then that drummer doesn't know what's up.

A lot of stuff I used to play requires to be behind or right on and having a solid back beat. When some pure jazz guy would try that stuff they often didn't really take it seriously and saw it as just playing a simple rock beat, obviously not understanding anything outside their own typical world. I think most informed people today understand that all music has it's challenges, but I still come across these things sometimes. I can't teach this to someone in 2 mins, they have to start listening to the music and learn to appreciate it.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Well, the bass player and I spoke last night. He’s easy to talk to, good sense of humor. He wasn’t able to tell me WHERE he noticed a problem, or in WHAT SONG. Except for one example: except during the keyboard intro to “Jump” where the drums play accents. He said it didn’t feel right to him; I felt that I played it exactly like the record. He said they were 16th notes; but they are not, and I corrected him and he agreed. I told him I'd go band and double check it, though. This has happened in other instances with other people…I learn the part like the record, and then am told there is a problem. Same thing happened with a cymbal choke in “Purple Rain” before the break, which I posted in another thread some time back.

I would add to this, that he told me he quit the last band because he felt the drummer “wasn’t in the groove.” He tried to “work it out” with the drummer, but he told me that after a while the drummer “stopped working on it” and so he left the band, because of the drummer “not being in the groove.” He, therefore, before becoming more involved with our band, would want to make sure that everything was “OK” with the drums. He again told me that he felt he and I were very much locked in. He did say he’d loved to sub with us again, if given the chance.

I also found out from another guy who’s played with him that “he is very picky.”

So…
He can’t remember where there is a problem with my playing, but thinks there is one

He left his last band because “the drummer can’t groove”

Other guys who’ve played with him say he’s great but picky

I said that if we play again, he’s welcome to tell me exactly where he hears a problem.

And regardless of ANY of this, it’s a good idea to record some performances and take an objective listen.

Ah. Seems you're on your way to dealing.

Yeah, this is just reality. Don't expect other musicians to be able to truly put a finger on these things like a drummer. Not every drummer can either. It's sort of reserved for those that study this really hard and very deep teachers.

Many players get it, but they just worked on it until they were able to make it feel how they wanted. That's all that's needed. They can be amazing players, just doesn't make them the best teachers.

As long as you can communicate and both want things to work out well then it should be good.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
the keyboard intro to “Jump” where the drums play accents. He said it didn’t feel right to him; I felt that I played it exactly like the record. He said they were 16th notes; but they are not, and I corrected him and he agreed.
That seemingly simple part took me a while to grasp because of the "early" start point at the end of the measure.

1/8 notes, right? Starting just before the third measure with the second accent being at the top of the third?

It seems like a trained player should know 1/8 and 16ths. I have zero training and it took me 10 minutes cf counting and tapping to come up with my guess. :)

There is always the possibility that he has been in a band, playing it wrong for years and he assumed he was right. I've seen that before.


Other guys who’ve played with him say he’s great but picky

That can be a blessing and a curse. My guitarist is extremely picky but he is easily a 9.5 out of 10 and it makes us try a little harder to be a better band. You just have to decide whether he is worth the effort.




And regardless of ANY of this, it’s a good idea to record some performances and take an objective listen.
Yes^


As long as you can communicate and both want things to work out well then it should be good.
More wisdom^
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Critisism is one of the most excellent opportunities for personal/musical growth. No matter what the source. One can always improve things. An open mind, and not taking things personally, is the way to go
 
Well, perhaps he isn't malicious, just an idiot.
It's often hard to tell.
Really glad you're dealing with him and know to take his criticisms with more than a pinch of salt!
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
I played a gig with two other drummers recently and one guy was pretty much all over me from the first song. Took me by surprise. Everything I played was too slow. He would stand there and clap intently as I played.
And of course when I rattled and focused too hard it just got worse, and my playing more stilted.
But I swallowed my pride and really listened to what he was saying. After two solid days of jamming he finally started saying I was doing it right. Sometimes you really have to bite your lip and try and takeaway a positive.
Even on this site. I once posted a clip and someone pointed out that I was coming back in late after every fill. I checked it out, and damn if he wasn't right. So I have been able to correct that in my playing and a lesson was learned.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
There are folks that can take constructive criticism and those that cannot.

Out on YouTube one guy was posting his company's custom made snares for sale .

I posted feedback that maybe he should have a better player demo his snares as his technique was not up to par.

The some other jabroni chimes in saying who the fork am I to criticize this guys playing.

In my experience ,if you're trying to sell a product,you try to make it look as good as you possibly can.

You'll sell a whole lot more product with Eddie Van Halen playing your brand ,than Joe Schmoe barely able to play a C scale cleanly.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
Critisism is one of the most excellent opportunities for personal/musical growth. No matter what the source. One can always improve things. An open mind, and not taking things personally, is the way to go
Word!

Hearing and digesting criticism can be tough. That said, you have to remind your self what YOUR goals are. Regardless of how it's delivered, can the information be useful to you?

I got some feedback a year ago while auditioning for a new band. I thought I nailed the audition. I probably did as far as the part. However, the feedback was that I sped up & slowed down a bit during one or some of the songs. Hadn't heard that before. Didn't get the job (which actually worked out just fine).

Took the info to heart and decided to focus on consistent tempo myself. Been working on it for a year. At the last gig in my new band which we shared with the prior band I played in, 2 of the 4 players in the prior band commented on how consistent my tempo & groove is. Damn! Loved hearing that and thankful for the feedback I got in the failed audition a year earlier.
 

DPTrainor

Senior Member
At the risk of repetition (pun intended), accepting criticism with grace is a good practice - taking ego out of the equation. Even if criticism is unfounded, take the "high road", stay positive and check yourself regardless, just in case. Also, recording yourself with field recorder (zoom/tascam) and listening back will reveal where the issues may or may not be. Another good practice. Having others listen to same also can be quite useful. Band members can listen, non-band members too. Post the song(s) here and we can listen and provide constructive input. If you have a teacher, have him listen as well. If it is purely a tempo issue (song requires constant/consistent tempo), you can measure that by using an App such as LiveBPM (no affilation). LiveBPM app listens to "pulse" of music realtime and measures the BPM and display a number e.g 102 BPM. As you play, the number will go up and down realtime. The App also records a line graph of tempo over a 5 min period, showing tempo rises and falls. You can use the App while playing with the band and glance over and look at it. Or you can have it listen to your band recording. In either case, it does not lie.

On another note, if the issue is not purely tempo consistency, it may be the interaction with Bass player (and Rhythm guitar) in terms of "locking into" a groove. Even with consistent tempo (and planned consistent tempo changes), the bass player could feel the song needs to be pushed slightly ahead of the beat creating more of a "drive" or vice versa. Or maybe right on top of the beat. And you (me) as drummer may feel the groove slightly differently. I have found it makes a big difference, even if tempo is consistent. To resolve, listening to each other is the key to locking it in tight. Which begs the question, who is controlling the groove? I am not sure there is a definitive answer to that question. I believe it comes down to good listening ability and reaction to same.

In the past, when our band had a new bass player coming in, we had to go through weeks of rehearsal time (sometimes months) of playing (and listening) together to work that out. Many times, I would give the "lead" to bass player for the good of the music. Then, I find over a few sessions they start listening to me and I start setting the feel. After some time, we are both listening to each other and BOOM. The rhythm section is LOCKED IN. But, we are amateurs (weekend warriors playing in small pubs). Professionals, I suspect can iron out the "lock in" issue in a single session.

My 2 cents from an Amateur hack :) Dan
 
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