The perfectionist

Highway Child

Senior Member
Even though it's not an ideal situation, learning to play behind players that are lacking...that can really strengthen your thinking on the bandstand. It sucks to have to endure others shortcomings, but it ideally strengthens a drummers resolve.

I've been in jam situations where the 2 guitar players were all lacking in the "team player" skillset....playing for themselves...with a bass player that would play so far ahead of the beat, it was almost a full 8th note ahead lol. In that situation all I personally could do was to not clutter things up and JKT. (just keep time), and utilize dynamics.

Afterwards, I was complimented by a truly great bass player, and I was like "really?" All I could do was not add to the chaos and try to keep it as steady as I could.

The moral of the story is that everyone can kind of suck, as long as the drums aren't part of that, it can still carry the whole band. I tell you what, JKT gets a bad rap. Which is completely backwards. JKT is one of the best things a drummer can do. Also elusive, because drummers think they have to do more, and they mess it up because they think they aren't trying hard enough or something. I went through it too, for many many years.

Playing with unconscientious players sucks, but it can make you a stronger drummer, if you are a conscientious drummer, which it's clear that you are. Attitude is everything. Your powering through everything undeterred is an inspiration to the players who need help, even if they never say that to you.

Also of note, I recorded the playing situation I described above, and listening to it on the drive home, with the drums as a common thread, the lines down the highway, everyone's individual shortcomings became less noticeable when combined with everything else for the total net sound. Onstage I was noticing individual stuff and not necessarily realizing that it wasn't as prominent as I thought it was while playing. Perception and all.

Drummers. Making lemonade out of lemons every second of the day lol.
Very well put Larry. Love the "lines down the road analogy", gonna pinch that for a discussion with one of my bands (definite time issues to sort out) tomorrow.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Even though it's not an ideal situation, learning to play behind players that are lacking...that can really strengthen your thinking on the bandstand. It sucks to have to endure others shortcomings, but it ideally strengthens a drummers resolve.

I've been in jam situations where the 2 guitar players were all lacking in the "team player" skillset....playing for themselves...with a bass player that would play so far ahead of the beat, it was almost a full 8th note ahead lol. In that situation all I personally could do was to not clutter things up and JKT. (just keep time), and utilize dynamics.

Afterwards, I was complimented by a truly great bass player, and I was like "really?" All I could do was not add to the chaos and try to keep it as steady as I could.

The moral of the story is that everyone can kind of suck, as long as the drums aren't part of that, it can still carry the whole band. I tell you what, JKT gets a bad rap. Which is completely backwards. JKT is one of the best things a drummer can do. Also elusive, because drummers think they have to do more, and they mess it up because they think they aren't trying hard enough or something. I went through it too, for many many years.

Playing with unconscientious players sucks, but it can make you a stronger drummer, if you are a conscientious drummer, which it's clear that you are. Attitude is everything. Your powering through everything undeterred is an inspiration to the players who need help, even if they never say that to you.

Also of note, I recorded the playing situation I described above, and listening to it on the drive home, with the drums as a common thread, the lines down the highway, everyone's individual shortcomings became less noticeable when combined with everything else for the total net sound. Onstage I was noticing individual stuff and not necessarily realizing that it wasn't as prominent as I thought it was while playing. Perception and all.

Drummers. Making lemonade out of lemons every second of the day lol.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Ha Ha, yes. Not implying the OP is guilty of this but I often find people who describe themselves as "Blunt" are using the term to hide the fact they are rude or offensive. The same could be said of "I tell it like it is". No offence intended, just a little Northern humor.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Thanks alot for all of your responses... I actually found the words to communicate what I was feeling in my band without being offensive to anyone. Well, in one of the bands anyway. I can be a blunt communicator at times.
I find that communicating over a blunt is always very beneficial to productive conversation.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Thanks alot for all of your responses... I actually found the words to communicate what I was feeling in my band without being offensive to anyone. Well, in one of the bands anyway. I can be a blunt communicator at times.
 

crash

Member
You want perfectionism? Orchestral players spend thousands of hours perfecting 30 seconds of music. Some of the most important excerpts get thousands of hours of practice by the time you win an orchestra job (if you ever do--99% of players never get one), and the longest excerpts are usually no more than 30 seconds.

I got out of the audition circuit in my mid-20s, but even so, I had spent probably close to a thousand hours or more on the biggest xylophone excerpt by then.
I play in a local orchestra, and understand what you're saying. I have literally hundreds of hours in practicing important passages. I start working on big parts when the music for the next season is chosen.
Learning your parts should not be an issue. This is time well spent if the performance goes well.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
To many, it will sound like a cop out and a cliché, but in my experience, it's true.

Two of the best songwriters I've ever played with were absolutely atrocious musicians in any trained or theoretical sense. Don't ask them to run up and down any scales because they don't know what scales are and wouldn't have the dexterity to pull it off even if they did - but they can write clever songs that stick in your head for days.

I don't exactly know why that is, except to say that some people just prefer coming up with new and novel ideas and fashioning them into songs. For them, that kind of creativity is what motivates them to keep at it. For me, I've played with enough highly skilled players without a whit of an original musical idea to know which type I prefer to play with.

Sometimes it is a drag when you're feeling the pressure to hold it all together because others can't be bothered, but mostly it's just a recognition that everyone's strengths lie in different areas and nobody has every aspect of being a player completely locked down.
I agree. I know its moving away from the "dexterity" mentioned by the OP but for me creativity trumps dexterity every time. Its the innovators that push musical boundaries. Not saying that a virtuoso cant innovate, just implying mastery of an instrument is not needed to be a great musician.

Lennon and McCartney deliberately started songwriting on piano later in there Beatles career cos they had no idea how to play the instrument. The reasoning being that they had been writing on guitar for years and thought they were becoming tied in to a method.
 

running

Member
Dre, just throwing this out there...if you could play with anyone you wanted....realistically, that are already in your area, and that you admire, and where it could actually be doable...do you have such persons in mind?

It's good to have a realistic goal to play with people in your area who you aspire to play with.

More than that, it's even better to get into their "scene", get to know them, get to know their stuff, and generally get a lot of face time. Find them, don't wait for them to find you, with the goal of trying to get called to sub for them...for starters. Become a fan first, go to their shows, that's a great way to start the ball rolling. Get a gig and hire them. Just get them in your life somehow.
This.

There are musicians to suit all skill and commitment levels! To expect an entire band to rise to meet your expectations is an inferior option to going out and finding one that does. Try to enjoy yourself in the meantime.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Dre, just throwing this out there...if you could play with anyone you wanted....realistically, that are already in your area, and that you admire, and where it could actually be doable...do you have such persons in mind?

It's good to have a realistic goal to play with people in your area who you aspire to play with.

More than that, it's even better to get into their "scene", get to know them, get to know their stuff, and generally get a lot of face time. Find them, don't wait for them to find you, with the goal of trying to get called to sub for them...for starters. Become a fan first, go to their shows, that's a great way to start the ball rolling. Get a gig and hire them. Just get them in your life somehow.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
Hats of to you, I wish more musicians would show the same amount of dedication for self improvement but your personal circumstances may allow for lots of time honing your craft. Other band members may not, with life getting in the way.

If it is getting you down (admittedly none of us removed from this can know the full ins and outs other than ŷour good self) maybe think about finding some fellow committed players.

I feel very much committed to improving myself but I play with some people who although are committed to the band don't try and push onto the next level and also can be somewhat tardy at times and that's not completely a bad thing. They are still members who add 'something' else to the group.

As long as their outcome/circumstances/playing don't hamper the band overall that's what it's about I guess. Some people sometimes are only in it for the hang but still offer something valuable to the group, an element that contributes overall.

Just be mindful of maybe applying your own outlook/dedication to other people too much maybe as everyone is different.

Again though I'm removed from your own personal experience on this and don't know full ins and outs.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
To me, a band needs to gel together regardless of ability. You can have a member who has had zero musical teaching etc but could quite easily be the best song writer there is (look at history) musicians of no musical teachings tend to be more creative in their writing & style as their minds are free to do whatever sounds the best irrespective if it is deemed "musically correct"
To many, it will sound like a cop out and a cliché, but in my experience, it's true.

Two of the best songwriters I've ever played with were absolutely atrocious musicians in any trained or theoretical sense. Don't ask them to run up and down any scales because they don't know what scales are and wouldn't have the dexterity to pull it off even if they did - but they can write clever songs that stick in your head for days.

I don't exactly know why that is, except to say that some people just prefer coming up with new and novel ideas and fashioning them into songs. For them, that kind of creativity is what motivates them to keep at it. For me, I've played with enough highly skilled players without a whit of an original musical idea to know which type I prefer to play with.

Sometimes it is a drag when you're feeling the pressure to hold it all together because others can't be bothered, but mostly it's just a recognition that everyone's strengths lie in different areas and nobody has every aspect of being a player completely locked down.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I find that when I'm able to hold out and get into projects where I'm the lowest member on the rung, or even just middle of that pack, I tend to like playing more.

When you're the best player in the group, you're going to be a little bit default as far as who drives the really good playing and arranging. It'll feel like you're dragging them along a bit. If you're into it, that's fine, actually.

I think the important thing is to keep a sense of scale and perspective. In almost all bands, it's rare for everyone to be exactly at the same musicianship level. When you're at the top of the pack, remember that in your next project things might be flipped and you'll be the one holding everyone back while you perfect a section that all the others already nail.


Spot on. A bit of humility can go a long way. If others are genuinely doing the best they can then fine. If they are not committed and are just messing about then find another band that is looking at your own level of commitment.

We cant all be musical prodigies or always have the time to do 8 hours of practice per day, jobs and families and life often gets in the way. Look for musicians that want to do what you are looking for, whatever level that may be.
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
I think that the standards of today are set way too high regarding technical ability, musical perfection. This doesn't guarantee a good band. It can almost be a bad thing.
To me, a band needs to gel together regardless of ability. You can have a member who has had zero musical teaching etc but could quite easily be the best song writer there is (look at history) musicians of no musical teachings tend to be more creative in their writing & style as their minds are free to do whatever sounds the best irrespective if it is deemed "musically correct"
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I find that when I'm able to hold out and get into projects where I'm the lowest member on the rung, or even just middle of that pack, I tend to like playing more.

When you're the best player in the group, you're going to be a little bit default as far as who drives the really good playing and arranging. It'll feel like you're dragging them along a bit. If you're into it, that's fine, actually.

I think the important thing is to keep a sense of scale and perspective. In almost all bands, it's rare for everyone to be exactly at the same musicianship level. When you're at the top of the pack, remember that in your next project things might be flipped and you'll be the one holding everyone back while you perfect a section that all the others already nail.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I think this is normal. As you get better, you tend to separate yourself from the people that you started with, that aren't improving.

It's the same with any job/skill/trade/friendship. I hung out with some real stoners in High School, and then we started hanging out less and less as I became more ambitious, and more focused on what I wanted to do.

Now, when I see them, I have the same reaction you had with the other musicians... I feel like they are just going through the motions in life and not "giving their all" at anything.
I agree. The issues I've had in bands (& no, I haven't gone through life surrounded by issues :) ) have generally been down to this and Anon La Ply's point about band members needing to be on the same page.
I'm nowhere near putting the amount of effort in that the OP does, but in my own way in my own little band I always strive to be as close to the front as possible at "the easy stuff", namely learning the songs, turning up on time, sticking to the set list etc. I am a bit obsessive/compulsive at times which I reign in, unfortunately the less organised those around me get, the more OCD my reactions become possibly to counter their actions which can then lead to frustration. I'm currently on a bit of a knife edge in the band I've been in for the last couple of years with other members doing "silly" things, fingers crossed we can resolve things, if not my side project might become my main band :-/
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I think the high standards I set for myself are alienating me from other musicians somewhat.
I think this is normal. As you get better, you tend to separate yourself from the people that you started with, that aren't improving.

It's the same with any job/skill/trade/friendship. I hung out with some real stoners in High School, and then we started hanging out less and less as I became more ambitious, and more focused on what I wanted to do.

Now, when I see them, I have the same reaction you had with the other musicians... I feel like they are just going through the motions in life and not "giving their all" at anything.

Music is no different, eventually you reach the point where you are on a different level, and you leave the people that you started with behind.

When I first started playing jazz, I had hooked up with a stride/ragtime player and we had a good run a of gigs for several years. He was way better than me at first, and I was happy to keep up. After a few years, I was starting to get better, and started branching out to more complex and free styles of jazz. Meanwhile the piano player was stagnant. Granted he was an EPIC alcoholic, so when he wasn't playing, he was getting black out drunk. He was one of those child prodigies that could sight read Chopin and Rachmaninoff by 18, and then he peaked... My playing now, is light years ahead of what I was able to do back then, and I've found new players to challenge me.

With everything in life, there are those of us who keep up the momentum and strive to get better, and those who are content to be good enough. As long as you keep trying to challenge yourself, you'll run into situations where you leave some of these players behind, and that's a good thing.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well the professional attitude and desire for "perfection" are really inspiring to others too. One of the posters, I think Tony, responded to another post saying "try to play with people/players better than you" which is great advice and true as it drives you to higher standards and wanting to work hard to not be the weak link in a group. I had that experience hooking up with a orchestra conductor-I helped with percussion toys (I can read music with effort) and played kit. It was a civic orchestra but had retired symphony orchestra players and some really good non-professionals and just a few weak players (like "me") so their standards were high. He also created offshoot groups like a Big Band and small jazz group that created lots of gigs-which man I was way out of my league with some of these gigs. Eventually many of the orchestra "accepted me" and even a few compliments-I did this and "held my own" for about 5 years and it was a great experience. However sadly left to my own device I'm not a disciplined player at all and don't like always playing a song exactly the same way and seem driven to leave no spaces or overplay a song. I like to "experiment" too much. It seems my greatest battle is with myself.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Super balanced post, & apart from agreeing totally with Larry too, I have nothing to add, other than I wish I had your practice dedication (& time to do it :(
I agree, Andy.

Killer post, Al.

Logically, not everyone in a non-pro band will be equally tight but ideally they'll all be in the same ballpark.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
You want perfectionism? Orchestral players spend thousands of hours perfecting 30 seconds of music. Some of the most important excerpts get thousands of hours of practice by the time you win an orchestra job (if you ever do--99% of players never get one), and the longest excerpts are usually no more than 30 seconds.

I got out of the audition circuit in my mid-20s, but even so, I had spent probably close to a thousand hours or more on the biggest xylophone excerpt by then.
 
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