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  #1  
Old 12-29-2015, 01:20 PM
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Default Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Hi all,

so Ive have just started learning yadda yadda, Im taking lessons once a week with a professional teacher at his drum studio and have an e-kit to practice rudiments etc and to jam along to songs in the privacy of my own home.

However, a drummer friend of mine asked if I was going to join a band, and to be honest the thought never occurred to me. Does this even make sense? I have always wanted to learn the drums and so decided to take the plunge. Im full of newbie enthusiasm and my drum teacher is awesome and supportive but the idea of joining a band fills me with utter terror. Does it make sense to embark on learning a band instrument with no intention of joining one? I have to confess, I don't really like the sound of drums on their own...but in a song, my ear has always gravitated to the drum beat. My question is, am I destined to hit a learning "glass ceiling", limited to "boom clap, clap boom" in my living room if I don't play with other budding musicians?

Has anyone gone through this?
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  #2  
Old 12-29-2015, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I imagine every drummer experiences this.

Its worth a try. You learn a lot by playing with other musicians.
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  #3  
Old 12-29-2015, 01:48 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

It's up to you what you do with your hobby but I think you should play drums:
Solo
With a click
To music
To drum-less music
With people
In your house
On a stage

I don't think I'm missing anything but if so, you get the idea. If you're super nervous about jamming, just do everything you can to prepare e.g maybe learn the songs ahead of the jam.
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Old 12-29-2015, 02:03 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

So far my cats are my only captive audience. Im really enjoying the journey. I wish Id taken this up sooner!
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  #5  
Old 12-29-2015, 02:08 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Duck Tape View Post
It's up to you what you do with your hobby but I think you should play drums:
Solo
With a click
To music
To drum-less music
With people
In your house
On a stage

I don't think I'm missing anything but if so, you get the idea. If you're super nervous about jamming, just do everything you can to prepare e.g maybe learn the songs ahead of the jam.
Heh...I can't see myself jamming in "public" anytime soon but my lessons are super fun- I get to playing along with the teacher in a "controlled environment" so to speak. I guess its like learning a new language and overcoming self-consciousness. Im hoping confidence will come with time and practice.
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  #6  
Old 12-29-2015, 02:39 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Do whatever makes you happy, you dont have to be in a band to enjoy what you are doing. Playing along to songs on the e-kit is fun and you learn a lot.

But....If you do it only once, play with other musicians. You might love it you might hate it but its a different ball game.
Mostly you will do the count in, so you are in charge, then there is the push and pull of the band, listening to each other and responding in some way, even if it means playing less or quieter. Its a band so the outcome is down to all the musicians. Even if its just 2 and 4 its the feeling you get being a part of "Making" music, rather than playing along to music.
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  #7  
Old 12-29-2015, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

It is terrifying playing in front of people-to this day really. I played for years in my youth no problem-never thought about it-just did it. But then took about a 15 year hiatus and started back playing about ten years for an audience of one-me. Opportunities at church, with an orchestra, and a jazz group opened up and with great fear and trepidation I jumped in-really enjoyed it as my confidence built and learned so much to help me along. Did that about ten yearns and now back to me again. You don't have to play with other people but you would really enjoy it.
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  #8  
Old 12-29-2015, 03:50 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I'm a basement dweller for now, but am lucky enough to be surrounded by other musicians. I don't play any recurring gigs nowadays, but we have a handful of informal jams each year, and that's enough for me. I'l be retiring in a couple of years, and will be moving back home - "where the music is." We'll see what happens then.

Given the chance, I'm sure you'd love playing live music.
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  #9  
Old 12-29-2015, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Yeah probably.

Everyone on this forum has so much more experience with this than I so its good to read and see where people are at.

Bar a couple of friends who don't live in the same country as I am, and people on this forum, no one knows i have take up learning drums but Ive recently been introduced to a local punk scene where a lot of gigs are happening and a lot of bands forming so I am actually enjoying the vantage point of stealth mode for the moment. I like having my little secret. At least while I learn the basics anyway. :D
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  #10  
Old 12-29-2015, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I'm putting on my drum teacher hat for this one. There's nothing at all wrong with enjoying playing, all by yourself. There's an introspective side to pastimes that's very valuable in terms of time to focus, time to think things through, even a little Zen-like relaxation/release time -- I'm that way in my shop. But there are also some advantages playing music with other people can provide that playing alone can't.

With other people, you gain the opportunity to listen and respond. You can't get this off recordings, because recordings never vary -- you become like guitar players I've met who can't find the downbeat if I don't play the identical fill every time. Further, you learn to support and enhance what other people are playing, which will widen the purpose of your playing.

Also, playing along with recordings will train you to follow instead of lead. It means you're keeping up with the music instead of setting the pace of it, so you never learn to drive the band -- a really important function of a drummer.

And finally, there's a joy to be found in the result produced by a group of people/instruments combining their sounds and function to make a greater whole piece of music. The experience of the feast can't be duplicated by one single dish.

My suggestion would be to spend some time noodling around with a friend who plays a different instrument -- doesn't have to be a set piece of music, could just be running a groove together and playing around with it. Find an opportunity that doesn't involve stress and approach it without any goals in mind, so there won't be any "mistakes" to worry about.
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  #11  
Old 12-29-2015, 05:19 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by motleyh View Post
My suggestion would be to spend some time noodling around with a friend who plays a different instrument -- doesn't have to be a set piece of music, could just be running a groove together and playing around with it. Find an opportunity that doesn't involve stress and approach it without any goals in mind, so there won't be any "mistakes" to worry about.
Thats quite sound (heh) advice! I might try that one, thank you!
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  #12  
Old 12-29-2015, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

motleyh's (Jeff's) advice is wonderful. You have to learn the basics on your own, but once you can play a few beats, you should play with other musicians, like as soon as possible. Don't spend more than 6 months learning your basic stuff. I've always said that you can shed in your basement alone for YEARS...and it means ALMOST NOTHING until you play with other musicians.

Don't spend too much time alone. Playing to records is NOTHING like leading a band.
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  #13  
Old 12-29-2015, 07:03 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Thanks for this great thread Ajax. I have two guitars come over every two months we get together and thats it. Its exciting thinking about playing with other musicians on a stage. Some day. Its still fun in the living room.

Last edited by lmcrash; 12-29-2015 at 07:04 PM. Reason: 00000000
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  #14  
Old 12-29-2015, 07:26 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Great advice given already. Do what you want to do. If it's just practicing to records and you are completely good with that... cool. To each their own. Personally I got bored fairly quickly doing that.

Many have said, playing with others live is a completely different world. It is and I'm willing to bet once you get past the initial fear, the fun and excitement of performing live with others will overtake you. It's an excitement that's hard to explain.

While I get your 'terror', it's really unfounded. Your internalizing the fear. The worse that can happen is you might not be asked to join. That's the worse and it's no big deal. The best thing that can happen is you'll get to experience something uniquely fun and exciting that not many people get to do.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2015, 08:24 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I'd say the vast majority of drum sets sold go to people who have little to no intention of playing with a band.

I do think there is a HUGE difference between just being a drummer at home and being in a band.

And for me, there was no question, I learned drums to be in a band.

But now having been there, done that, I'm pretty content to stay at home.

Do what you want. There are no rules. One should join a band because they want to, not because they feel they have to.
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  #16  
Old 12-29-2015, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Drums are an instrument that kind of needs other people to bring out the possibilities of the instrument.

Yes you can never play with others, and that's fine. I just think if there is no intention of playing with others, a guitar or a piano might be a more satisfying instrument to learn for a person who has no desires to play out.

Don't allow me or us to pressure you into playing with others if you don't feel like doing that/or are not ready for that.

I just feel that the drums are not meant to be played in a vacuum. It's OK if they are, that's merely a personal opinion. For myself, there is 1000x more satisfaction playing as a team compared to playing in my studio alone.

The more I learn about drums, the more I learn about life.
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  #17  
Old 12-29-2015, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I agree with all "uncle larry" has said. I came back to drums a year ago after 40 years off. I initially played at home to music. Which I really enjoyed and still do. I then had an opportunity to jam every couple of weeks with a couple of other old blokes . I was initially very anxious as I'm a very ordinary drummer. However that quickly faded. Whilst I still enjoy playing at home to music, the real and excitement ( and learning) comes from my playing with these other guys. Learning new songs out of my comfort zone, having to develop drums to songs that don't have drums in them, being responsible for driving the tempo.etc. As others have said - it is hard to explain. It is one of the real highlights in my life every couple of weeks.
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  #18  
Old 12-29-2015, 11:49 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I have been playing as a hobbyist for the past 8 years. I have experience of playing with a band when I was younger and wouldn't mind playing with others now, but I'm not out searching, and realize it won't just knock on my door one day. However, I like music, and playing to music by myself is just fine. For now have fun, get better at your hobby, and worry about playing with others in due time.
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  #19  
Old 12-30-2015, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Hi Ajax, first let me congratulate you in becoming a musician and picking the drum kit as your instrument. The kit is the hardest instrument to play believe it or not. It is harder than the piano, harp, violin and yes even the guitar. You must use all four of your limbs and after you get proficient in the basics you will start to play different rhythms on different limbs together down the road. Know other instrument does this.

For now, just have fun jamming to songs at this time and studying with your instructor. After awhile down the road you will feel (I bet) the desire into looking to audition for a band or start a band. Maybe your instructor might bring it up to you that it might be time or say have you been thinking about it? Then talk with him or bring it up to him. Remember everyone progress at different rates. You might be dwelling on it too much at this time please dont. This is normal for most of us that started playing just like yourself. Yes the first couple of auditions might not go as planned but you will learn from it. Its all part of the fun of playing.

If you just want to play the kit and not join a band then by all means do so. As long as you are having fun and enjoying yourself thats what counts at the end of the day. It also helps the memory skills.

Have fun playing for years to come my friend.
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Old 12-30-2015, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Worth mentioning:

You don't need a band to play with other people. I run a Friday-night-music club and play every week with others. It's like poker night. Bunch of old musicians, beer, pizza. No touring, no gigging, no real commitment to show up, no stress.

There are many other ways of making people come together to make music. Some musicians never leave their basement yet collaborate online with other musicians in a virtual-band of sorts.

Don't be afraid to share your gift. You can still make it happen on your terms.
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  #21  
Old 12-30-2015, 06:52 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Thanks all! Some great encouragement and advice!

Knowing me, I will probably want to take on jamming with others once I feel the inclination to take playing to the next level so I tackle that bridge when the time comes or whatever. For now, Im enjoying being that prefect, enthusiastic student who turns up to lessons early with a list the length of my arm with stuff I want to learn/practice.
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  #22  
Old 12-30-2015, 09:37 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I had absolutely no desire to play with other musicians when I started drumming. In fact, I was a real scaredy-cat (I still am, but a bolder scaredy-cat) and it took all my courage even to play in front of my teacher. But gradually, as I became more competent, I became more confident and I started to want to do more, which led to me joining a band and that eventually gave me the desire to play at jam nights. I don't gig anything like as much as I'd like to, but I love playing out.

You may well find that you feel differently about playing with other people in due course, or you might not. It really doesn't matter. While I love playing with other musicians, there is a special sort of happiness to be found when it's just me and my drum kit, in the living room. And cats generally make for a surprisingly uncritical audience!
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  #23  
Old 12-30-2015, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I've been in and out of bands for 31 years. When I find myself without a band, I'm quite content jamming along with my iPod. The important thing is to just keep playing, although playing with a band is much more satisfying for me. 😁
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  #24  
Old 12-31-2015, 02:00 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

I love playing along the records just my way, stepping over vocals, playing ghost notes, playing sloppy, trying to play like moonie etc..etc..for my own enjoyment and playing a team member in my Trio band as well......all fun....to me and for the three of us, any kind of "set rules" take the fun away .....
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:46 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

After all is said and done, Ive joined a band. :D

And, although Im still taking lessons and practicing at home, it does feel great to play with other musicians and instruments! What was I thinking not wanting to join one in the first place??
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
After all is said and done, Ive joined a band. :D

And, although Im still taking lessons and practicing at home, it does feel great to play with other musicians and instruments! What was I thinking not wanting to join one in the first place??
Congrats on taking it to the next level!
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  #27  
Old 02-23-2016, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
After all is said and done, Ive joined a band. :D

And, although Im still taking lessons and practicing at home, it does feel great to play with other musicians and instruments! What was I thinking not wanting to join one in the first place??
Well done - all part of the learning journey.
Cheers
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  #28  
Old 02-23-2016, 12:46 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Thanks guys...it all just kinda found me in a way...I posted a pic on my Facebook about a month ago that my drum instructor had randomly taken of me playing during a lesson and an acquaintance who plays guitar got in touch to ask if Id like to form a band and well...opportunity came knocking and all that.

Luckily were both just starting out so everything is shiny and new. Making loads of mistakes and having fun correcting them. Got a decent rehearsal space and all. Dead fun jamming and picking tracks to cover, recording ourselves weekly and critiquing and the whole shebang.
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:49 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Quote:
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After all is said and done, Ive joined a band. :D

And, although Im still taking lessons and practicing at home, it does feel great to play with other musicians and instruments! What was I thinking not wanting to join one in the first place??

Well done!

Silly 20 char rule
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Old 02-23-2016, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

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Well done!

Silly 20 char rule
Hahahaha. Yes. You were one of the ones who was trying to urge me to play in a band!! So thanks! :p
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  #31  
Old 02-23-2016, 01:38 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Congratulation Ajax, Ill bet within the next few months you will have a base player then looking for a vocalist. After that you and your new band mates will be playing your first gig. There is nothing like it, leading up to it that is. All the rehearsals, choosing of the songs, the order of the songs of each set and so on. The best part is the first count off of the first song on your first gig. You will never forget it.

Again congratulation Ajax.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Congrats!! Good luck picking the next band members!

After one failed attempt to start a band I'm again at the same stage as you are. Tonight is the 4th jam with my new Italian bassist colleague (clearly freakin' talented although he had not touched it for 15 yrs) and next week we're adding a guitarist/singer (another old fart :)) to see what happens. We're trying to find our thing between older funk, newer funk, the Police and such.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:25 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Ah, this is brilliant! See: never say never :)

Let us know how things progress. We want to hear about any additional band members, and we particularly want to know about your first gig.

ETA Have fun tonight, Pico!
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

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Originally Posted by Ajax View Post
Luckily were both just starting out so everything is shiny and new. Making loads of mistakes and having fun correcting them. Got a decent rehearsal space and all. Dead fun jamming and picking tracks to cover, recording ourselves weekly and critiquing and the whole shebang.
Great stuff! This is what it's all about. Enjoy the ride.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:34 AM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

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Originally Posted by Magenta View Post
Ah, this is brilliant! See: never say never :)

Let us know how things progress. We want to hear about any additional band members, and we particularly want to know about your first gig.

ETA Have fun tonight, Pico!
Merci ;)

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  #36  
Old 02-23-2016, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Somehow I missed this when it first came round.

Ajax, kick ass. ;-) When I read you had been introduced to the local punk scene, I was about to comment, "Then why the actual f**k aren't you in a band?!" (but I noticed the date). I mean seriously, it's PUNK. You don't have to be Neil Peart. You have to be able to keep basic time. And possibly kick things over while dodging beer bottles and spit, but I digress.

Anyway, I'm happy as anything that you've found people with whom you can make music. That's what it's all about.

Now go bash things, make mistakes, and HAVE FUN.
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  #37  
Old 02-23-2016, 03:23 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

You learn a great deal from playing with other people.

One thing you can try if you don't want to commit to a band, is try going to some open mic nights. You have a chance to play a few songs with other musicians, who are usually in the same boat as you, and there's no pressure!

Going to jams is also a good way to network with other musicians and then start something on the side.

Playing with others is the most fun as well, but it teaches you listening skills, and might help you transfer some of your drumming chops to a more musical setting.
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Old 02-23-2016, 09:53 PM
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Thanks for the positive feedback, guys! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by picodon View Post
Congrats!! Good luck picking the next band members!

After one failed attempt to start a band I'm again at the same stage as you are. Tonight is the 4th jam with my new Italian bassist colleague (clearly freakin' talented although he had not touched it for 15 yrs) and next week we're adding a guitarist/singer (another old fart :)) to see what happens. We're trying to find our thing between older funk, newer funk, the Police and such.
Co-incidently, I wore a Zildjian t-shirt at a beer festival last saturday after *ahem* band practice and got speaking to a drummer who was at the event and hes Italian and working on Police covers too! Said he finds the tracks quite a nice challenge so good luck with your own musical project- getting bandmates and such.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tcspears View Post
You learn a great deal from playing with other people.

One thing you can try if you don't want to commit to a band, is try going to some open mic nights. You have a chance to play a few songs with other musicians, who are usually in the same boat as you, and there's no pressure!

Going to jams is also a good way to network with other musicians and then start something on the side.

Playing with others is the most fun as well, but it teaches you listening skills, and might help you transfer some of your drumming chops to a more musical setting.
I think thats very much the next stage that I don't think were ready for just yet!

We are only two so far- guitarist and me on the drums. He sings and I harmonise quite well with him on some parts and were currently working on covers by the kinks, dandy warhorls and the cure but what I would like to be a next big goal is to work on original songs so weve agreed to set aside some time to free-jam at our next rehearsal on Saturday. See if we come up with anything that sticks. Id love to be able to find a tune to be able to write lyrics for!! Excited.
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:04 PM
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picodon picodon is offline
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

The Police is a challenge, yes. Still trying to get So Lonely right. Not that it's the least complicated. It's actually so simple that it's damn hard to play properly :S hope that makes sense somehow.

Blew up my speakers at some point tonight and we managed to play Suck My Kiss just drum & bass without the Red Hots playing along with us 8) so much fun!
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Old 02-23-2016, 11:10 PM
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Ajax Ajax is offline
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Default Re: Hobbyists: Practicing without a band?

Quote:
Originally Posted by picodon View Post
The Police is a challenge, yes. Still trying to get So Lonely right. Not that it's the least complicated. It's actually so simple that it's damn hard to play properly :S hope that makes sense somehow.

Blew up my speakers at some point tonight and we managed to play Suck My Kiss just drum & bass without the Red Hots playing along with us 8) so much fun!
Excellent, mon amie! And yeah what you say makes perfect sense! Simple yet precise workings can be a bane! But all part of the fun. Good luck!
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