Great advice for those learning a creative skill . . .

Liebe zeit

Silver Member
. . . saw this the other day and thought it was great advice:

"What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me... is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through." (Ira Glass)
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Absolutely, really good advice...

I play for 30 years and I'm still working on those "ambitions", my musical taste and view of the drums within any musical styles has changed many times and the "target" of those ambitions keeps raising up... It never ends.
 

eric_B

Senior Member
It reminds me of the keyboard with starters books which went through my family and relatives who wanted to learn play keys. Some didn't even open book 1.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
Wow that hits home, pretty cool.
I've been shlepping drawings just to pay the bills for years, but this still rings true and is spot on for me,

"But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you."

Unfortunately it's just a job that pays the bills for me these days.

In terms of my drumming; I now see why I take more of a leaders roll and direct the music the way I want to hear it and with who I want to play with - even if it's purely amateur and just for fun.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
It's very grounding to hear that my own dissatisfaction comes from a positive place, especially when someone is saying "that was awesome!" and you're thinking "when am I going to not stink up the place anymore?". Just smile and say thank you, and mean it.
 

Jim Mattingly

Senior Member
I am guessing the majority of us constantly strive for perfection in our playing, and life I would hope. Half the battle of achieving perfection is knowing that there is no such thing as "absolute perfection, all the of the time". I know I am most definitely my own worst critic and it has taken numerous years to know that my playing will not be perfect, at least in my own ears, and to not get frustrated/disappointed to the point of wanting to stop playing. Setting realistic goals, not striving to be the best drummer to ever sit behind a kit (because I know I just don't have the talent be another Harrison, Peart, Krupa, WIlliams, Cobham etc....). However, when you start receiving compliments from your followers such as the one our band got a few weeks ago (Your Music Is Like Chiropractic For The Mind) it certainly makes you feel like you are the best, and that is what it's all about....makes it all worth while.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
That's an interesting take- I never thought of it that way. To me, taste (assuming he means good taste on not just a personal preference) has generally been a thing that develops as you develop as an artist, not something that you necessarily have from the beginning. Maybe that's the case with the smart kids who become writers or movie people- the people I imagine Glass was around; I haven't seen it a lot among musicians.

Another thing is that to survive being a student-level artist, I think you have to find something you like in art that is within your reach technically- you have to adapt your taste a little, or sometimes a lot. For a beginning drummer, that would mean developing a real love for very basic drumming; if you think anything short of Aaron Spears/Thomas Lang/the amazing metal guy du jour is boring and sucks, then you have a lot of years ahead of you of hating everything you play, while you develop something resembling their level of technical facility. In the end it's no compromise at all, because appreciating simple music makes you a better musician.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
That's an interesting take- I never thought of it that way. To me, taste (assuming he means good taste on not just a personal preference) has generally been a thing that develops as you develop as an artist, not something that you necessarily have from the beginning. Maybe that's the case with the smart kids who become writers or movie people- the people I imagine Glass was around; I haven't seen it a lot among musicians.
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Taste, aesthetically speaking (aurel or visual), is something a person will develop as they grow. But, you need to have a strong sense of it from the beginning. In my own observations I found that, generally, those who succeed artistically are the ones that had it to begin with. And those who didn't have it, yet are still successful, are the managerial types - they think they get it, but it just doesn't come out of them.
I see it all the time working w/juniors. I find it hard to get them to understand the aesthetic (good taste) of an architectural drawing (presentation or technical). You just keep explaining it but they just don't have the "eye" for it.
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
this post might be getting old but I came across this so I thought I would add it...

It´s a matter of taste, a matter of proportion, a matter of good sence, a matter of harmony, a matter of balance between colours - something you have in your heart.
Quote: PininFarina (Car Designer)

this idea works equally well in any art form.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Taste, aesthetically speaking (aurel or visual), is something a person will develop as they grow. But, you need to have a strong sense of it from the beginning. In my own observations I found that, generally, those who succeed artistically are the ones that had it to begin with. And those who didn't have it, yet are still successful, are the managerial types - they think they get it, but it just doesn't come out of them.
I see it all the time working w/juniors. I find it hard to get them to understand the aesthetic (good taste) of an architectural drawing (presentation or technical). You just keep explaining it but they just don't have the "eye" for it.
I mostly agree, except I'm not sure the thing that develops into good taste can be called that from the beginning.

Thinking more about Glass' original statement, the more clearly wrong it seems- at least his premise that everyone starts out because of good taste. There are many, many people doing creative work- possibly even the majority of them- who have bad-to-atrocious taste. Otherwise how does all of the bad music, art, writing, architecture, etc get made? And many people- myself included- started out for reasons that had nothing to do with our good or bad taste at all. I personally started playing the drums because my brother played the drums.

I'm not that comfortable with the idea of creating from taste anyway- though I guess it's somewhat unavoidable. I much more agree with Picasso's statement: "Taste is the enemy of creativity."
 

Big Foot

Silver Member
I mostly agree, except I'm not sure the thing that develops into good taste can be called that from the beginning.

Thinking more about Glass' original statement, the more clearly wrong it seems- at least his premise that everyone starts out because of good taste. There are many, many people doing creative work- possibly even the majority of them- who have bad-to-atrocious taste. Otherwise how does all of the bad music, art, writing, architecture, etc get made? And many people- myself included- started out for reasons that had nothing to do with our good or bad taste at all. I personally started playing the drums because my brother played the drums.

I'm not that comfortable with the idea of creating from taste anyway- though I guess it's somewhat unavoidable. I much more agree with Picasso's statement: "Taste is the enemy of creativity."
I can agree w/what you're saying here. I don't think Glass is saying we all start out w/ his idea of good taste. But what is our convition or belief that we have good taste. I think - maybe - Glass wants us to believe in ourselves - our personal taste good or bad that it might be. maybe?
Mr. Farina's quote makes me think he and Glass are on the same page - only Farina summed it up better. That well placed note, or that something that just makes everyone go - oh, yeah.

But, there's that question, what is good taste? - for example; Bon Jovi? he knows exactly what to put in a song. What note, the beat, the timing, the drama etc. He kills it for millions of fans.
Frankly I can't stomach his music. Maybe it's because I have broader view & taste of music than most of his fans and I've become more critical with the more I learn.

The more I think about this the more I question myself... Todd, we should get together over a few beers on this idea.

But I still think it's something we're born with (or w/out), that comes out of us either w/eduction or if we're lucky, on it's own.
 
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