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  #1  
Old 12-26-2011, 04:11 PM
ryanlikealion ryanlikealion is offline
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Default Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

Hello all

I'd like to start an open discussion on these 5 things as I've had some difficulties working with other people over the last couple of years and want to "man up" a bit now because my communication difficulties are making certain collaborations impossible. Not only that, i'd like to be a bit more professional in my approach to music.

I consider myself to be a competent drummer (although there's always room for improvement) and have had a lot of people wanting me to work in their bands over the last couple of years.

However I have a problem with feeling 'subservient' in a band. It seems like i quickly creep into this role. its almost like as a drummer i'm noty expected to have much influence over the musical direction - that i'm there to be malleable. I am quite an amiable person and i think people want me onboard because they like me as a person but also see "amiability" as an easy trait to deal with. I quickly get fed up of those in more of a leadership/ directive role. Maybe because i've been very patient with these characters in the past and my patience maybe beginning to dwindle..

As a side project i sing/play folk songs on guitar and banjo - traditional/original/contemporary and get more satisfaction from this because it allows me to make decisions, to explore my musical interests more freely and not to have to deal with the complications of group dynamics - it gives me the creative space i crave and somehow feels more spiritually fulfilling. But i can't help thinking i should be drumming because im good at it!

This outlook may be childish or naive. I may be letting my ego get the best of me and I'm aware that there's room for improving my attitude. I don't understand what's going on to be frank! But have posted this to see if there are other folk who've had similar experiences.
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Old 12-26-2011, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

Sounds to me like you are feeling frustration from the nature of the drums within a band context. I'm guessing the reason that many have asked you to drum for them is because of all the words you used in the thread title.

Do you realize how secure you need to be to be all the above? You may be feeling stupid because no one else has to be like that, right? Why should you be the only one, right?

You have a skill set that is hard to come by. Take comfort in knowing that most pitched instrument players can never do what you do. Drumming needs someone with those skills.

Perhaps the group of people you are with aren't the best for you. In my one band, they value, ask for and listen to my opinions. All I have to do is make a sour face, and they will say...OK Lar, whats wrong...and I will tell them. Sometimes it's listened to, sometimes, I'm off, but I don't feel invisible.

Perhaps gently asserting yourself in situations that you feel strongly about is a way to ease into the role you crave. This may alter perceptions about yourself, meaning it may threaten the insecure ones. Being subserviant to the music is one thing, being subserviant to the musicians is bad for your soul. Strike a balance, and if some get upset, don't you get upset too. You don't own their problems, it's not your issue.

As long as you speak the truth....people know the truth when they hear it. This doesn't take into account the bruised egos that result from hearing the truth. That's where they need to man up. Call them on it. Time to gently go on the offensive, only when it is warranted though.

If you assert yourself, and meet resistance that is born from insecurity or a need to feel superior, call it out, and term it unacceptable. Call a spade a spade. As long as the truth is on your side. Make no apologies. Call them like you see them. That's what everyone loves about me. Anyone who knows me knows that whatever happens...they will get a straight answer from me, even if it is unpalatable. Which it usually is. Not my problem, I didn't make it unpalatable, I am just reporting on the unpalatability of it all. I'm just the messenger.
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Old 12-26-2011, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

YES, Larry, you've taken the words out of mouth, with a difference though, I would never been able to write it down as well as you did.

Your reply is the very essence of what a drummer, or any other musicians for that matter, should be or aspire to be in a true democratic band, where all involved are on same level of interactions, participations and opinions towards each others, and of course, towards the music.

Still, I can relate to Ryan frustation, in the sense, that unfortunately, there's still some bands or musicians who are "looking down" on drummers, especially if he's/she's only good at the drums, no other instruments, regardless that they could not play our instrument to save their lives, and while I can admire a brilliant saxophone player, he's only playing one instrument, as we, drummers are playing several instruments together.

Another approach Ryan, which could be more satisfying as a drummer, is to start a band in which you'll be the leader, bringing your own music to the band and be the "lead" instrument within your project, at least you should feel less frustrated, but it could also help the "I may be letting my ego get the best of me and I'm aware that there's room for improving my attitude" syndrome.
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Old 12-26-2011, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

I've spent four years trying to find the best people for a band I'm in. And it wasn't even really my band to start with! It's by far the most important factor in whether a band will function, having the right people, both musically and personally (these two are inextricably linked, I suspect). Only when you've got a good team can you really get things done.
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Old 12-27-2011, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

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Originally Posted by PQleyR View Post
I've spent four years trying to find the best people for a band I'm in. And it wasn't even really my band to start with! It's by far the most important factor in whether a band will function, having the right people, both musically and personally (these two are inextricably linked, I suspect). Only when you've got a good team can you really get things done.
yes.

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Old 12-27-2011, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

I think as drummers we are expected to just "sit back and take note". You will find many here that are satisfied in doing just that. You will read many posts on here that say things that go along the lines of "If they write the check, then play it as such". Which is fine and appropriate for those situations, but if you are in a band that creative ideas are flowing, then I would say step up and state your ideas! If they are not valued by your bandmates, then maybe it's not the right group for you.
As larry stated, they can't do what you do. Understand that and that you do have a place.
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Old 12-27-2011, 10:10 AM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

Ryan, I don't think much is to be gained by thinking about the role in the band pecking order. If you have some thoughts on the arrangements I suggest you share them with the band - as though you're a proper musician :) Seriously, our approach to drums has a massive effect on arrangements, especially the dynamic shape of a song.

The worst that can happen is you'll be dissed. The best response to a dissed suggestion is not to worry about it but to work out why they preferred a different approach. If you come up with an idea that requires the bassist or guitarist to play a simple ostinato, be ready for a rejection :)
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:44 PM
ryanlikealion ryanlikealion is offline
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

Hello all - Thanks for you're postive replies. Especially Larry ace , that was very well put.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Ryan, I don't think much is to be gained by thinking about the role in the band pecking order. If you have some thoughts on the arrangements I suggest you share them with the band - as though you're a proper musician :) Seriously, our approach to drums has a massive effect on arrangements, especially the dynamic shape of a song.

The worst that can happen is you'll be dissed. The best response to a dissed suggestion is not to worry about it but to work out why they preferred a different approach. If you come up with an idea that requires the bassist or guitarist to play a simple ostinato, be ready for a rejection :)
Some good points here Pollyanna. I often suggest my thoughts on the arrangements, without getting too upset if they dont end up happening.

I would argue, however, that there is a lot to be gained from thinking about ones role in a band pecking order - especially if we were talking about someone who often finds themselves at the bottom of one. To me, if they passively go along with this role they could be depriving themselves of the opportunity of thinking critically about their own ideas and their creative processes. Admittedly this could slow down the whole process of 'getting things done' and 'getting results.' But ultimately, if a project is people centred - if it faces up to the invevitability of tension within a group dynamic, i'd suggest that this is going to help the final recording/gig, making for a more energetic performance.
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Old 12-27-2011, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Mallaebility, Amiability, subservience, group dynamics and leadership

Quote:
Originally Posted by ryanlikealion View Post
I would argue, however, that there is a lot to be gained from thinking about ones role in a band pecking order - especially if we were talking about someone who often finds themselves at the bottom of one. To me, if they passively go along with this role they could be depriving themselves of the opportunity of thinking critically about their own ideas and their creative processes...
That's really well put there and I agree with your comments, it's indeed the positive critisism we recieve that's the motivating factor to improve our playability and approach to music and being part of a band. :-)
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