What do you say when....

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
someone who knows absolutely nothing about music or drumming tries to tell you "how" to drum?

You know the type, the people who strike up a conversation with you and you start talking about music. You learn from them they don't play an instrument, never picked up a pair of sticks or guitar, or horn, never played keys, but then they learn that YOU are a drummer and all of a sudden, BOOM!, they turn into "know-it-alls" and start telling you this and that about drumming and what you should be doing, blah, blah, blah....

What is a safe way to get out of the conversation, or a safe way to remind them they don't play and shouldn't be giving advice. What or how is a kind, diplomatic way to get out of the conversation or redirect it, without totally pissing them off or being rude?

Reason I'm asking is because I've had those types come up to me at church after our band has played and start on me about drumming, the music, the choir, the sound system, how such and such's guitar is turned up too loud....

About the only time that left me steaming (okay, totally po'd) at church was recently someone approached me and regaled me on why the drums should be used sparingly and not on every song, how certain drums should be used here and there, etc. Real abraisive and totally over the top. Luckily my wife was with me and saw me getting ticked and pulled us away with an excuse.

Any advice? This may sound kinda petty, but it's starting to get on my nerves. Thanks!
 

motleyh

Senior Member
Just nod, smile and keep saying "Uh-huh." He's not having a conversation, he's just talking to be heard.
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Everybody has their right to their opinions, whether we want to hear them or not. If it happens again, tell them to take it up with the music director. Don't have a music director? Tell them you're the music director and you'll look into it.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
+1. Simple and effective.
+2. Brilliant!

Also, realize that these people are dealing with an intrinsic desire to be heard. Sometimes it's best to just let them flap their lips and just nod and smile, especially if you are in a situation where you are going to be around them on a weekly basis like at church. No use creating drama or bad blood in your social circle...
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Sometimes they dig their own grave. When I was starting out an uncle who was visiting told me that he played drums in the army and was sprouting forth and giving advice as though he was a hotshot.

That's where Pocket's reply would have been perfect but then he said "Bring over the pad and sticks" ... that's when I found out that Uncle Les couldn't play drums for nuts.

I learned two useful lessons from that: 1. Don't over-claim and under-deliver and 2. Don't ever let yourself get so rusty that you lose it all.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I see people do this stuff all the time regardless of subject matter. Depending on the situation, and the person, I will either call them out on it, talk over their head so they shut up and look dumb, or just ignore them and nod and smile while thinking about other things.

I must say, however, PFoG's response has got to be the best answer hands down.
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
I've noticed that people tend to give their opinions more weight when they are speaking about one of the arts as opposed to a science. Imagine a layman telling an engineer his "opinion" on the most aerodynamic shape for a new car design.

I must say PFoG's response was excellent. I myself would probably have said something rude and unprintable or just laughed in his face. I have no patience for opinions from someone who hasn't earned the right to give one.
 

EarthRocker

Senior Member
I have a very difficult time being rude to anyone. I'm just not confrontational. So when something of this sort comes my way, I usually just take it for what it is... Nonsense. I do however, recall a time, a few years back. A band I was playing with, had a new bloke come in and try to sing and play for us to replace a previous dude.

The first foul how ran for, and some of you may take his side. I had always tapped around on the drums, and made my adjustments while the others tuned up. No one had ever had a problem with it before - my tapping wasn't even loud. Just more or less to remedy boredom. This chap decides to give me the "go die" look, and says "Hey, stop for a minute, and let me get tuned up." But I let that one slide.

Later that evening, after rehearsing a song, he told me I "need to play my kick drum harder." So after the audition, I told the rest of the guys how I felt. They talked to him, and this led to the third foul that set me off. The next practice, this guy approached me and said "Hey man, I'm sorry if I offended you. But I'm the type of guy, if I'm doing something wrong, I want someone to correct me."

I flew off the handle on this cat, and we nearly came to blows. Needless to say, he never rehearsed with us again.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
There are two appropriate words you could use, but you being a church goer I presume they would be out of the question.
 

picodon

Silver Member
Well there's a fine line between having an opinion and telling people how to without having any actual knowledge.

Many people may have never had a pair of sticks in their hands their whole life, but may have an excellent musical education and so a valid opinion on your drumming.

On the other hand, every couch potato thinks they know how to play football better than the 22 professionals they're watching -- by the way compared to sports players, I guess musicians are not the worst off with regard to the number of people offering them unsollicited tips...

Coming back to the OP, a comment like "drums should be used sparingly and not on every song" sounds more like a third case, i.e. what the person probably really wants to say is get out of my church altogether with your noisy kit… I guess if you drum in a church, you have to live with an audience of which most did not come to listen to you in the first place. Maybe you just should gently hand them a pair of earplugs rather than a pair of sticks :)
 

rtliquid

Senior Member
"And what line of work are you in? Would it be ok if I stop in tomorrow and tell you how to do your job?"
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Well there's a fine line between having an opinion and telling people how to without having any actual knowledge.

Many people may have never had a pair of sticks in their hands their whole life, but may have an excellent musical education and so a valid opinion on your drumming.

On the other hand, every couch potato thinks they know how to play football better than the 22 professionals they're watching -- by the way compared to sports players, I guess musicians are not the worst off with regard to the number of people offering them unsollicited tips...

Coming back to the OP, a comment like "drums should be used sparingly and not on every song" sounds more like a third case, i.e. what the person probably really wants to say is get out of my church altogether with your noisy kit… I guess if you drum in a church, you have to live with an audience of which most did not come to listen to you in the first place. Maybe you just should gently hand them a pair of earplugs rather than a pair of sticks :)
We all know what opinions are like, everyone has one. If you asked for there opinion, you get what you get. If it was just given and you don't know the giver or don't value and respect there views, then ignore.
 

kuren84

Senior Member
I had one similar to this at a small wedding gig not long back. We had been playing for 20 minutes or so and everyone was enjoying it. Then in between a song this guy pipes up that we should play songs by this band and that band. Non of which we had ever heard of and then started to tell us and all of the wedding party that he used to manage bands in London and how he knows his stuff. We carried on with our set and he shouted out again play some what ever band it was. At this point I was fed up so I downed drumsticks and just shouted if anyone has ever heard of ...... and would like us to play a song by them please come and let us know. The room feel silent as did the guy. I just said that's what I thought and carried on.
 
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