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Old 07-19-2013, 03:24 AM
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Default When is it appropriate to chime in?

So, as some of you may already know, I recently joined a band. I have a lot of ideas floating around in my head, but I don't know if I should throw them out there yet. So my question is, when is it appropriate to start making suggestions, and/or giving further input when you've recently joined a band?

The guitarist and I were talking the other day about learning a cover or two for a show we have next month, and I threw out a suggestion. When they asked if everybody could practice last weekend, I couldn't make it, because I was already playing a show that night, but I suggested that maybe they could use the time to try writing a new song, as we only have a five song set right now. While I got positive responses from those two suggestions, I still felt like I was overstepping my bounds a little, being that I'm brand new to this band.

Thoughs?
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:41 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Being in a band is kind of like teaching a classroom of kindergarteners...you need to establish the relationship right away, or else run the risk of being walked on from then on.

They asked YOU to join the band. If you're the type to give suggestions or try to lead the group, it's best to dabble in that right away so you know if the band is a good fit for you. I think your suggestion of them writing tunes while you're away is a fine one. It shows you make lemonade out of lemons.
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:55 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Personally speaking, I've always said my piece the very moment I thought I could add something. I'm not one for waiting around for any imaginary introductory or "getting to know you" period to expire. That doesn't mean you steamroll anyone with sledgehammer tactics to get your point across, but if you've got something to say, say it. If it's delivered in good faith, they'll either take it or they'll leave it.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:05 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Being in a band is kind of like teaching a classroom of kindergarteners...you need to establish the relationship right away, or else run the risk of being walked on from then on.

They asked YOU to join the band. If you're the type to give suggestions or try to lead the group, it's best to dabble in that right away so you know if the band is a good fit for you. I think your suggestion of them writing tunes while you're away is a fine one. It shows you make lemonade out of lemons.
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Old 07-19-2013, 04:57 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
Being in a band is kind of like teaching a classroom of kindergarteners...you need to establish the relationship right away, or else run the risk of being walked on from then on.

They asked YOU to join the band. If you're the type to give suggestions or try to lead the group, it's best to dabble in that right away so you know if the band is a good fit for you. I think your suggestion of them writing tunes while you're away is a fine one. It shows you make lemonade out of lemons.
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Originally Posted by Pocket-full-of-gold View Post
Personally speaking, I've always said my piece the very moment I thought I could add something. I'm not one for waiting around for any imaginary introductory or "getting to know you" period to expire. That doesn't mean you steamroll anyone with sledgehammer tactics to get your point across, but if you've got something to say, say it. If it's delivered in good faith, they'll either take it or they'll leave it.
Well, if it's something that I find rather important, I won't hesitate to make my opinion known about it, whether they like it or not. That's just the way that I am.

I'm more so talking about the little stuff. For example, we're a 'ska punk' band, and I think it would be awesome to do a ska cover of George Michael's "Careless Whisper". Or there's a small part in a song that I would like to suggest something slightly different to our horn players, but I've been in bands in which people get very insulted if you suggest they play anything differently, and I haven't really gauged how they would react.

Maybe I'm just overthinking it, and should say whatever is on my mind.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Unless it's one of those cover bands that's run more like a business and everything goes through an appointed band leader, I would think that it's always appropriate to share your thoughts and ideas. If it's not then you're probably in the wrong band.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:15 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I'll give the same advice I give my 10 year old son. (And in case it sounds like I'm talking down to you, it's the same advice I give myself on a regular basis.)

Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.

It's no guarantee that they will like what you have to say, but if you run everything through the "golden rule filter", at least you're not being evil.

If your band members can't take well meant, constructive suggestions conveyed in a pleasant manner, are these really people you want to spend time with?
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:26 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

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I'll give the same advice I give my 10 year old son. (And in case it sounds like I'm talking down to you, it's the same advice I give myself on a regular basis.)

Treat others the way you'd like to be treated.

It's no guarantee that they will like what you have to say, but if you run everything through the "golden rule filter", at least you're not being evil.

If your band members can't take well meant, constructive suggestions conveyed in a pleasant manner, are these really people you want to spend time with?
You know, I don't know why I didn't immediately think about that when I started pondering this idea. It's pretty much what I live my life by.

For the record, if somebody ever has a suggestion on something I could do differently, I would rather them tell me than keep it to themselves. For me, it's about what's best for the song, before anything else, and if somebody has an idea that has the potential to make the song better, I would always love to hear it. I feel like at least a few of the guys feel the same, but we're all socially awkward and hard to read.
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Old 07-19-2013, 05:28 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

It sort of depends, IMHO.

Cover vs. Originals.

Is there a CD of orignal material you need to learn first, or are songs in the early stage?

What was discussed before you joined?

Other wise, it's your life too, so you should have a say in how things go.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:32 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
It sort of depends, IMHO.

Cover vs. Originals.

Is there a CD of orignal material you need to learn first, or are songs in the early stage?

What was discussed before you joined?

Other wise, it's your life too, so you should have a say in how things go.
All originals right now

I know the songs well enough by now that I'd be comfortable playing a show.

Nothing was really discussed. We all just jammed a few times, and then they told me that they wanted me to be their drummer.

Of course, I won't play in a band in which I don't have a say. I just don't know if I should bring anything up until I've settled in with everybody and at least played a show with them. Afterall, they wrote all these songs before I was even considered.
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Old 07-19-2013, 06:34 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I dunno, when doing band business, I think it's best to just TCB and keep your mouth shut most of the time, regardless. Have a filter, at least. If I was on the receiving end of the rehearsal suggestion, I would probably be feeling something like: "Yes, well, when you can make it to a rehearsal, then you can make suggestions about what we do with our time."
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Old 07-19-2013, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I think phrasing makes a huge difference.

I've been in my current band for about 18 months now, and I have no qualms about saying "This is my opinion as to why I think that's the bad way to do this thing!". But that being said, I'm comfortable around the guys enough to speak my mind. Also, I have more 'real world' musical experience than any of them, plus I'm a number of years older than the guitarist and bassist, who both tend to make most of the decisions - so I guess that helps.

But that being said, phrasing suggestions - especially as the 'new guy' - is incredibly important.

For example:

"Hey, for <insert well-established long-term song here>, I had this idea which I think is pretty cool, would you guys like to hear it?" is one good example. Changing pre-existing songs generally doesn't happen unless the guys were already considering that it wasn't quite right to begin with. Unless, of course, when you joined the band they said something like "Yeah, old Frank was alright, but his writing sucked. Feel free to change parts as much as you like, we know you're good." :P

For during the writing process, an interjection at a polite moment would be something like:
"Do you guys mind if I give you my 2 cents? I was thinking <insert suggestion here>.".

The basic idea is to always allow the other people to give you permission to speak, at least early on, until you are familiar with how they like to discuss things. See the thing is, is that if you pipe up and say "This is what I think", then immediately that creates a position where you are forcing people to listen to your opinion. Whereas, if you say "May I offer a suggestion?", then what that does is that turns it around, meaning that if they say no, then any potential negativity is put on them instead of you.

But this is all psychological stuff that most people don't really notice, and familiarity tends to negate this to an extent. I hope this helps, of course :).
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Chimes fit well in some types of music. If you're going to chime in, do it in the soft dreamy sections of your songs.
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  #14  
Old 07-19-2013, 10:13 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
Chimes fit well in some types of music. If you're going to chime in, do it in the soft dreamy sections of your songs.
Oi! That's my area of expertise. Back off Watso!!!!!!! ;) ;) ;)


OP, I understand your hesitancy re: original material not penned by you, but they have to expect a new member to take a degree of ownership in the delivery of that material. Diplomatically always, & yes, I think waiting until after your first gig would be prudent, unless there's something of burning importance prior.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

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Oi! That's my area of expertise. Back off Watso!!!!!!! ;) ;) ;)
In that case, you can chime in any time you like with advice.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:21 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I think the most important part is feeling that you're contributing; I was in a good covers band a couple of years ago but it was the lead guitarists band. We rehearsed at his house, the singer worked for him etc I watched him basically dictate the set list, new songs etc and, because I liked the other guys, liked the music (mostly) and didn't wanna 'rock the boat', I kept quiet and became increasingly frustrated to the point where he and I had a big argument finally and I left the band.
I should have thought how and when to 'chime in' but instead left things to fester...by not saying anything I spoiled what we had...better to have put my li'l bit in here n there, thats just my thoughts bro.
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I agree with the hatless one - how you say it is the clincher. The key IMO is to make sure that your vibe is such that everyone knows that it's just a suggestion and you have no ego investment and you're 100% fine if they reject it.
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Old 07-19-2013, 02:17 PM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I think it also matters how or why you ended up in this band. Was the old drummer fired? Did he quit? Did he die in a tragic gasoline fighting accident?

For example: I ended up in the band I'm in because the old drummer was a boob. He would flake out, miss practice, not know his parts, etc. I was also one of 8 or so drummers to try out, and I got the gig. So even though I am walking into an established band with members who have been there for years, I feel that my opinion is desired because they chose me.

If you were selected out of a group of drummers to be in this band, then your opinion has validity becasue they obviously recognize your talent.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:09 PM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

I appreciate everybody's input here. I'll 'chime in' on a few suggestions which I feel are necessary to provide a response to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
I dunno, when doing band business, I think it's best to just TCB and keep your mouth shut most of the time, regardless. Have a filter, at least. If I was on the receiving end of the rehearsal suggestion, I would probably be feeling something like: "Yes, well, when you can make it to a rehearsal, then you can make suggestions about what we do with our time."
That last part 'irks' me a little, for a few reasons. That's just a jab, for no good reason. First, I had a prior commitment, and I had to be out of town for it. As was stated, I was simply trying to make 'lemonade out of lemons'. If somebody can't be understanding of that, then they're not the type of person I want to play music with. It's just a bad attitude, and when you go into things with a bad attitude, you get bad results.

And two of the other members play in another band, so I'm not the only one that has to miss practice every once and a while. Our guitarist is in four different bands, I do believe. This weekend will be our last practice until our guitarist and bassist leave to go on tour with their other band together. Everybody's understanding about that, because it's a prior commitment.

For the record, they did end up writing a new song while I was away, because it was a good use of time, and we need more songs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iwearnohats View Post
I think phrasing makes a huge difference.

I've been in my current band for about 18 months now, and I have no qualms about saying "This is my opinion as to why I think that's the bad way to do this thing!". But that being said, I'm comfortable around the guys enough to speak my mind. Also, I have more 'real world' musical experience than any of them, plus I'm a number of years older than the guitarist and bassist, who both tend to make most of the decisions - so I guess that helps.

But that being said, phrasing suggestions - especially as the 'new guy' - is incredibly important.

For example:

"Hey, for <insert well-established long-term song here>, I had this idea which I think is pretty cool, would you guys like to hear it?" is one good example. Changing pre-existing songs generally doesn't happen unless the guys were already considering that it wasn't quite right to begin with. Unless, of course, when you joined the band they said something like "Yeah, old Frank was alright, but his writing sucked. Feel free to change parts as much as you like, we know you're good." :P

For during the writing process, an interjection at a polite moment would be something like:
"Do you guys mind if I give you my 2 cents? I was thinking <insert suggestion here>.".

The basic idea is to always allow the other people to give you permission to speak, at least early on, until you are familiar with how they like to discuss things. See the thing is, is that if you pipe up and say "This is what I think", then immediately that creates a position where you are forcing people to listen to your opinion. Whereas, if you say "May I offer a suggestion?", then what that does is that turns it around, meaning that if they say no, then any potential negativity is put on them instead of you.

But this is all psychological stuff that most people don't really notice, and familiarity tends to negate this to an extent. I hope this helps, of course :).
That is some great advice, actually. I'll remember that. Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eclipseownzu View Post
I think it also matters how or why you ended up in this band. Was the old drummer fired? Did he quit? Did he die in a tragic gasoline fighting accident?

For example: I ended up in the band I'm in because the old drummer was a boob. He would flake out, miss practice, not know his parts, etc. I was also one of 8 or so drummers to try out, and I got the gig. So even though I am walking into an established band with members who have been there for years, I feel that my opinion is desired because they chose me.

If you were selected out of a group of drummers to be in this band, then your opinion has validity becasue they obviously recognize your talent.
Well, he quit when they were in the middle of letting him go from the band, so take from it what you want. I was one of a short list of drummers they were trying out, and from how they talk, it sounds like I'm a vast improvement from their previous drummer. I've seen some videos of them with their old drummer, and not to toot my own horn, but I would have to agree.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:56 PM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TColumbia37 View Post
That last part 'irks' me a little, for a few reasons. That's just a jab, for no good reason. First, I had a prior commitment, and I had to be out of town for it. As was stated, I was simply trying to make 'lemonade out of lemons'. If somebody can't be understanding of that, then they're not the type of person I want to play music with. It's just a bad attitude, and when you go into things with a bad attitude, you get bad results.

And two of the other members play in another band, so I'm not the only one that has to miss practice every once and a while. Our guitarist is in four different bands, I do believe. This weekend will be our last practice until our guitarist and bassist leave to go on tour with their other band together. Everybody's understanding about that, because it's a prior commitment.

For the record, they did end up writing a new song while I was away, because it was a good use of time, and we need more songs.
You don't have to justify it to me. I'm just telling you that, to me, trying to set the agenda for rehearsals you're not attending is a little strange. If you think the band needs to learn more songs, I would think of another way to bring it up to them. Do with that suggestion what you will.
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Old 07-20-2013, 12:19 AM
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

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Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
You don't have to justify it to me. I'm just telling you that, to me, trying to set the agenda for rehearsals you're not attending is a little strange. If you think the band needs to learn more songs, I would think of another way to bring it up to them. Do with that suggestion what you will.
Point made. The needing more songs part is what everybody thinks though. The way I see it, is that I didn't know if they would even be practicing if I couldn't make it, or how they would use that time. So I would rather make a suggestion that could possibly be beneficial, than not to offer anything of value in my absence.
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Old 07-20-2013, 03:26 AM
iwearnohats iwearnohats is offline
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Default Re: When is it appropriate to chime in?

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Originally Posted by TColumbia37 View Post
That is some great advice, actually. I'll remember that. Thanks!

You're welcome! :)


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