Anger, dismay and confusion

8Mile

Platinum Member
Those were my emotions when I listened to a recording of a band rehearsal from a couple months ago. I didn't know the guitarist was recording us until after. What I heard upon playback was positively demoralizing. My performance on almost every song was sub-par and on some songs was flat-out embarrassingly bad. The time wasn't there, it wasn't solid, there weren't really any redeeming qualities. And this was over a period of hours! Just brutal.

I guess what shocked and disappointed me is the gap between the quality of my playing when I'm performing live or on a recording and when I'm just playing casually at band practice. I expected some difference, I suppose, but not THAT much of a difference.

I have resolved to be more focused even when rehearsing. Just because I don't ever want to hear a playback like that again in case it's being recorded!

Crushed,
8Mile
 

brady

Platinum Member
I've had that happen too. I learned that lesson a long time ago. Play everything as if it's being recorded. Because sometimes, it is.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Recordings are an excellent learning tool. You find out what you really sound like to everyone else, and that's not always what you think you sound like when you're actually playing. Conversely, I've heard recordings of things where I didn't think I did very well, yet it sounded fine on playback!

When you're right in the middle of things, perception is very subjective. But the recordings never lie.

Bermuda
 

KnuckleBuster

Senior Member
Our trio has video recorded the last 13 months of rehearsals to see what we sounded like and looked like....agreed it is an excellent tool and an eye opener to say the least.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So Lar, are you saying you play different at rehearsals than at a gig?

Anyone who doesn't listen to recordings of themselves are just delaying the inevitable, eventually you have to face the music.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I record regularly and I don't have an issue with my performance when I know I am being recorded or when I play live. Well, I do sometimes have issues with it, but that's not what I'm talking about here.

What I found disconcerting is how much worse I played when I didn't realize I was being recorded.

I guess I didn't realize there was such a difference.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
To clarify a bit more, I've had live gigs recorded and I've been okay with the results. What I noticed from this recording of our rehearsal is just how loose and sloppy I allowed things to become. It's like because I knew we didn't have an audience and I didn't think the tape was rolling, I really allowed my performance to degrade because it was "just practice. "
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
As long as the performances record well, that's the big one, but I know what you mean. There's a permanent record of you sucking and it's not under your control lol.
At least it's just a practice tape, no one would ever judge you on it, except of course yourself. The tape recorder is a cold hard bitch man.
 

Road Bull

Silver Member
Don't be too hard on yourself. Use it for what it is. Recordings are great reminders of what we actually sound like. On any given night, we may sound awesome, or be way off. I can't say that I play awesome all the time. And I have had a few band train wrecks with someone to capture the splendor or the moment for youtube or something. You just have to shrug your shoulders, figure out what needs to happen, and keep rocking.

Hearing yourself for what you are "actually" doing is a bit like hearing your voice on playback somewhere. Woe! Is that actually ME?

Don't let it get you down brother. Keep on keeping on.
 

uhtrinity

Senior Member
Recordings are good. They can can be a moral builder, a learning tool, and sometimes a reality check. Nothing wrong with any of those things.
 

Magenta

Platinum Member
It seems to me that you were doing nothing more reprehensible than marking. There's a time and a place for 100% effort, and if you were merely rehearsing so that you and your band could make sure that everything happened in more or less the right place and you could tell what it was supposed to be, I don't think it's a huge deal that your playing or anybody else's wasn't as perfect as you can get it.

It's not a problem I have, meself. I have to give it 100% all of the time, otherwise it would sound even worse than it does!
 

aydee

Platinum Member
First off, you're not bad at all because I've heard you on your playing posts. Yes, a recording is a litmus test for one's time, but take comfort in the fact that a poorly recorded band rehearsal sounds extra wierd because it picks up some frequencies and not some others which does funny things to the sound, specially drums.

So is that really what u sound like ? Probably not.
 
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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Larry, I didn't need to record my band rehearsal last night to know I sucked royally in places. My poor playing moments were mainly due to concentrating on other elements of the band's performance rather than my own. When I concentrated purely on me (but always listening, of course), I could feel my playing "step up" as a result.

Don't beat yourself up on one recording in isolation. Now you're aware of the context, you can do something about it if you wish. You're a good player, & you should know that you are. Doesn't mean you don't have off days & occasionally let your guard down though.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I don't know if everyone experiences this but I notice my ''rhythm perception'' can vary.

I can listen to the same recording of myself at different times, and have different opinions, ranging from terrible, to slightly bad, lol. Is it possible you heard this recording at the wrong time? Maybe if you revisit you'll wonder what you were so worried about?

I have another suggestion too - did the guitarist set up his recording device near his amp? I'm guessing he had something portable. Is it possible that he's making you sound bad? Reason I say this is I remember laying down some recordings for my old rock band, and I was really true to the click. Then the guitarist came along and played over them and he made me sound terrible. It's possible that if the guitar is being heard as the primary instrument on the recording, it could be messing with your perception of where the time is.

Aside from these things - I don't understand why you have different attitudes towards practice and live. You should always love sounding great, and always try to, because you're a drummer and you want to be a great one. No point in playing drums if you're going to be half arsed.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Lots of good comments. Yeah, I guess the thing that bugs me is the notion that I need to be super-focused to sound presentable. I would like to think that I have "another level" I reach for when performing "for real," but I guess I wasn't prepared for how much higher that level is!

I don't know if everyone experiences this but I notice my ''rhythm perception'' can vary.

I can listen to the same recording of myself at different times, and have different opinions, ranging from terrible, to slightly bad, lol. Is it possible you heard this recording at the wrong time? Maybe if you revisit you'll wonder what you were so worried about?

I have another suggestion too - did the guitarist set up his recording device near his amp? I'm guessing he had something portable. Is it possible that he's making you sound bad? Reason I say this is I remember laying down some recordings for my old rock band, and I was really true to the click. Then the guitarist came along and played over them and he made me sound terrible. It's possible that if the guitar is being heard as the primary instrument on the recording, it could be messing with your perception of where the time is.

Aside from these things - I don't understand why you have different attitudes towards practice and live. You should always love sounding great, and always try to, because you're a drummer and you want to be a great one. No point in playing drums if you're going to be half arsed.
Some great, great points here. I mean, I can really relate to all of this. And yeah, I think the guitarist's mic placement and performance affects my perception of my own playing.

I listened today again and some of the tunes actually sound pretty good.

It also got me thinking about rehearsals that were recorded without my knowledge on other occasions. I didn't cringe at those other recordings in the past the way I did when I heard this particular one. I think for this particular rehearsal, we worked on a lot of new material that nobody in the band was especially familiar with, so there were more mistakes and we were more tentative in general. Perhaps my own expectations of my playing have risen as well over time, so maybe I'm being a tougher judge.

Anyway, I'm off the ledge today, but I'll be paying more attention to my focus in rehearsals moving forward.

Thanks for all the feedback.
 

MikeM

Platinum Member
Well, this happens to me all the time, and I'm almost never as conservative in my approach at practice as I am during a performance (studio or live). The practice room is where every whimsical impulse gets a shot, and yeah, listening to playback recordings of practice is very often surprising! Often the things done off the cuff that feel great at the time simply don't sound good on playback, while other things that don't seem particularly special turn out great. But, there's that seemingly rare occurrence where that assed out over the top piece of comedy really does work! Those times make the whole reckless practice approach totally worth it IMHO.

It is a curious thing that disconnect between how we *think* we're sounding and how we're actually sounding. I'm pretty open with guys I'm playing with that I'm trying to do things where I don't know what the hell I'm doing a lot of the time in an effort to solicit some patience from them. I've played with some people over tbe years that don't dig this approach, but have been lucky enough to consistently find players that do.

I guess I should acknowledge that it would be highly unprofessional of me to work this way if I wasn't in a more free form type of originals band where pretty much anything goes as long as it sounds good at the end of the day. This kind of thing would get me fired on most gigs!

Disconnect phenomenon is the same though.
 

Macarina

Silver Member
Recordings are an excellent learning tool. You find out what you really sound like to everyone else, and that's not always what you think you sound like when you're actually playing. Conversely, I've heard recordings of things where I didn't think I did very well, yet it sounded fine on playback!

When you're right in the middle of things, perception is very subjective. But the recordings never lie.

Bermuda
Ain't that the truth. I think we've all at some point put on a song to play to, such as a RUSH song. We hear it in our headphones, we think we know the song and funny, I'm pretty sure, in my mind... I pretty much nailed it.

But watch a recording of it... I'm pretty sure I'd shrink into non-existence.
 

yakbutter

Senior Member
Everyone has had those WTF moments when hearing something back. Listening to yourself and keeping your ears open to the rest of the band is a skill that develops over time, as is knowing whether an idea you're throwing out there is working or not. Eventually what you perceive your playing to be in the moment and what you hear back will converge.
 
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