Confidence

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I wanted to discuss confidence. Everyone knows that one of the keys to success is confidence. So what if you don't have enough confidence, how do you get it? One way I found is hard work and repetition. Looking for others experiences here.
If you are not confident now, does that mean you won't be confident later?
I found this to be false. I have a confidence now that wasn't always there, what's your take?
Is faked confidence better than no confidence? I'm going with yes, even though I probably wouldn't do it. What say you?

I just wanted to see how many different angles I could get on this on. There's the social risk of acting cocky and close minded. You want to be confident but you have to balance the confidence with humbleness and openmindedness.

Tag you're it.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Is faked confidence better than no confidence?

There's the social risk of acting cocky and close minded. You want to be confident but you have to balance the confidence with humbleness and openmindedness.
I'm not sure if it's possible to fake confidence. Yes, you can try to appear confident to someone else, but you can't fake it for yourself, and eventually the truth comes out. Confidence simply comes from knowing you're doing what's required, and doing it well. Lack of confidence comes from questioning what you're doing, which on a deeper level may stem from a chronic over-analyzation personality, or feelings of inadequacy when watching other drummers.

Stage fright shouldn't be confused with confidence, they're two different concepts and I don't think one necessarily has an effect on the other. For example, I've never had stage fright, but I do have occassional confidence issues that depend on different factors. It's never been a detriment to playing, but sometimes if I'm not feeling 100% about something, I'll feel less confident.

And it's true that confidence must be balanced, at the risk of being perceived as aggressive, overly-assertive, or just plain cocky. Nobody wants to hire musicians like that, just as they don't want someone with confidence issues who's always questioning and apologizing for what they play.

Bermuda
 

Tonico

Junior Member
Well, for me, confidence not only in drumming but in other aspects of life most definitely occurs through practice and maintenance of the practice schedule. In order to feel the confidence, a person has to feel secure that what he is playing and doing is based upon something. Without a solid base, people would crumble.

If John Coltrane, or Steve Gadd, or Dave Weckl inconsistently and lazily practiced, then their confidence in themselves as professional musicians would have sunk.

You mention faking confidence as a replacement for true confidence. Really, to that, I say, why fake it? Why not allow the world and the public to view you as you truly are? Even if that means you're unprepared for a show, or not as developed as the other musicians. Play what you play with where you are, because ultimately, you take yourself where you wanna go. Confidence can be faked and conveyed through outward appearances, but inside, the truth is known. And really the truth is saying, "I'm not where I feel I should be."

That inner strength results from constant connection with it. If your constantly calling upon your innards for guidance and for love and motivation and rest, then you'll continue to build it and that's what, I feel, musicians are always calling upon. The inner being to take control. The more we can depend on ourselves to improvise what we wish, or to precisely strike that "a" on the second beat of the bar, the more our relationship with music will become as fundamental as breathing.

I also think understanding is one of the last keys. Realizing that patience is required to do just about anything. Especially if you already have a goal in mind, but you realize that you're far from your goal; most people try and rush the process, but it can't be rushed, it just can't. Sure, practice 5-8 hours a day, if that's what is calling you. I personally enjoy building myself through other areas, as well. Point is, anything worthwhile is going to take time to develop. Confidence in your playing results from playing. Practice right and practice.

Practice, Consistency and Love
 

mxo721

Senior Member
you can be humble, and still not care what people think. in a live music setting, most people are either drunk, or trying to hook up, and don't much notice if you stumbled on a fill.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Lack of confidence comes from questioning what you're doing, which on a deeper level may stem from a chronic over-analyzation personality, or feelings of inadequacy when watching other drummers.
You hit the nail on the head. That nicely describes my situation until about a month ago when I had a little epiphany that's resulted in a small plateau jump in my playing standard. I probably don't play better than I did, but I don't think I can play as badly (at my worst - when uncentred and unprepared - I could be abysmal).

My thoughts in the mini-epiphany ran something like this, "I'm well into the autumn of my life now ... there's nothing to worry about ... most of what I'm going to do in this life has already been done ... time to let go and go with the flow and just have fun instead of forcing things". Wish I realised this 40 years ago ...

I've never been consciously confident, but despite a lifetime of being almost pathologically unconfident I could still enjoy an unconscious confidence that stemmed from being in the zone - nirvana.

The less self-conscious I am, the more "confident" I am. So I'd rather not think of "confidence", which to me seems to hold a sense of ego. I prefer words like grounded, centred, focused ... immersed to the point where that annoying little ^&%$ (the "I") has gone for a hike and I'm just blending in, having fun and making myself vaguely useful.

I think ego is a major source of misery.

// end sermon :) //

tonico said:
You mention faking confidence as a replacement for true confidence. Really, to that, I say, why fake it? Why not allow the world and the public to view you as you truly are? Even if that means you're unprepared for a show, or not as developed as the other musicians. Play what you play with where you are, because ultimately, you take yourself where you wanna go. Confidence can be faked and conveyed through outward appearances, but inside, the truth is known. And really the truth is saying, "I'm not where I feel I should be."
Well said. Let it be. Whatever happens happens.
 
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Too Many Songs

Senior Member
This is a fascinating discussion. I think there is a big difference between having confidence as a player and having confidence as a person. But in either case in my experience having true confidence never translates into arrogance or cockiness. These traits tend to be displayed by people who are actually quite insecure but try to bluff confidence by demanding rather than earning respect. By contrast, true confidence leads to being very relaxed about things (even one's own mistakes).

Personally I've never had the confidence as a player to push myself to the limit of my technical abilities and have always tended to play it safe. That's kept me busy enough but I'll never be a Vinnie or a Neil Peart. But it's an odd relationship in that I've (almost) always gone on stage confident in my playing ability because I'm intending to play well within my technical limits but have pushed at where those limits are in the practice studio.

As for having confidence a a person. My mum is now 82 and still feels scared, uncertain, insecure and frightened by circumstances that are unfamiliar or beyond her control. This is just part of the human condition. 'The greatest things are those we may not learn' as Mervyn Peake put it.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I guess this topic is something we all have to come to grips with at some point.

I find that self-awareness, hard work, preparation and humility are the keys to my own self-confidence. But I try to be objective about my playing, work hard at improving what I'm not satisfied with, dedicate serious preparation to any performance and never think I'm bigger than the music or the other folks in the band.

If I do those things, then I know that I've done all I can do to be the best I can be and I have nothing to be ashamed of no matter how things turn out. And that gives me confidence.
 

SOGdrummer

Senior Member
A wise emergency medical instructor I had back in the 80's impressed on us the importance in a crisis of "exuding competence through confidence"...and when in an emergency I am always amazed at how the knowledge and skills "come back to me".

In my dealing with my clients as a financial planner today, there is nothing more important than their having confidence in my competence. And there are no substitutes for education and PRACTICE in developing competence.

We are all familiar with that inner sense of confidence when playing or the uncomfortable feeling when it is not there. The other musicians in the band rely on the drummer being steady and confident (consciously or not)...

Bermuda, Steve Gadd, and any other pro keep that status because the people they work with have confidence in them. In their abilities and in the way they will respect the music.
 

yesdog

Silver Member
I guess this topic is something we all have to come to grips with at some point.

I find that self-awareness, hard work, preparation and humility are the keys to my own self-confidence. But I try to be objective about my playing, work hard at improving what I'm not satisfied with, dedicate serious preparation to any performance and never think I'm bigger than the music or the other folks in the band.

If I do those things, then I know that I've done all I can do to be the best I can be and I have nothing to be ashamed of no matter how things turn out. And that gives me confidence.
Well said, thats how I look at self confidence. I do the best I can with what I got.
 

nona

Junior Member
So, "Confidence" is a state of mind. I don't believe there is such thing as "fake" confidence...you either have it or you don't.. For example, in drumming, you generally gain confidence by practicing and knowing the materials and knowing what you can and can't do.
Only then, can you go out there on stage and perform at your highest level. If you're not prepared for a gig, you will, essentially, "suck"...that is, not perform at your highest level.

You also have to keep in mind that your success is relative to your abilities. I've been playing for about 30 years now and I know what I can and can't do. Now, when I practice, I work on things to get better. But, when I get on stage, I would never play anything that I have not mastered. From experience, if you try it and fail to pull it off, then your confidence level "during the performance" will drop like a ROCK.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Confidence is a simple product of comfort, but there's no doubt that self belief can foster confidence in a situation that you'd usually regard as being outside of your comfort zone. Some people can muster a "cavalier" attitude that propels them to take on something they'd otherwise hesitate to tackle. That's an inner disregarding of the consequences, or a belief you can manage the situation if it all goes tits up. Individuals that posess such qualities are the ones who move the game forward, and, in a musical context, are often exciting rather than impressive, or merely competent. The ability to operate on the edge, is very attractive in so many ways.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: can't fake confidence...At some point, if someone doesn't have confidence, eventually they will have to take that first step, with or without it.
Approaching a strange woman in a bar to is a good illustration of where fake confidence is better than no confidence. You have to give an E for effort. And if you crash and burn enough, eventually your effort will pay off with someone who can see that maybe you don't have it all the way, but at least you're brave enough to attempt. Of course social confidence and onstage playing confidence don't necessarily go hand in hand.
We've all heard the term fake it till you make it...At some point you have to take the leap of faith and push the envelope a little.

But agreed real confidence is either earned, or a God given trait. I'm sure there are other ways....I'm really enjoying this topic...many different angles. Thanks to all for chiming in.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Musicians, performers, actors etc have notoriously been very shy and introverted people but something happens to them, when they get on stage. The get transformed!

SO, yes I think confidence as a player and as a person are two different things. I've seen enough cocksure guys shake in their boots too, when they are under the arc lights.

Like 8 Mile said, my playing confidence comes from humility as well.
One thing I was told by a great great drummer many years ago, was to "Just play the music, thats all there is to it".

He meant that in a larger sense of the phrase, which was that everything else is subservient to the music.
Your ego, your mistakes, your chops, whos is watching you, which other musicians are in the house, how big the gig is, your hang ups etc etc etc .. all of it means diddlysquat when you are playing the music.

For me, my confidence comes from knowing that sooner or later, and for better or for worse, I will give in to the music.

...
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
...

For me, my confidence comes from knowing that sooner or later, and for better or for worse, I will give in to the music.

...
A great line Abe, & one we would all do well to remember.

Last night's gig is a prime example. I was told a fairly local drummer of some note was in the house. I've seen him play a couple of times, & he really is a talent. Not flashy, but super solid & intuitive. He introduced himself before the gig, & we got on well. His presence was in my mind when we kicked off the first number, & I suppose I concentrated on nailing that timing a bit more than usual, but I just did my thing. The music took me to where I wanted to be. There was no intimidation feeling whatsoever. At the end of the night, he came over, shook my hand, & simply said "job done, see y' around".
 

bigd

Silver Member
Confidence usually equates to how well prepared you are. If your material is solid you're confident, if it's not well prepared you're unconfident. I deal with this alot with my 15 year old. He is extremely comfortable and well prepared when it comes to playing mallet percussion. It's his strong suit. When he switches to snare drum he is less confident because he knows he's less prepared. He's spent way fewer hours working on snare drum then he has on the mallet instruments. He's just less comfortable with that instrument then he is other things. He's since changed that and things are looking up.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
We've all heard the term fake it till you make it...At some point you have to take the leap of faith and push the envelope a little.
Psychologist Paul Eckman has spent much of his career studying the connection between emotions and physical (mostly facial) expressions and discovered that not only does a particular emotional state evoke a particular physical expression, the reverse tends to happen as well (i. e. A certain physical expression tends to evoke a particular emotional state). He and his colleagues sort of accidentally discovered this when practicing to replicate facial expressions of emotions they'd captured in photos--the better they got at and longer they spent "faking" the expression the more intensely they actually experienced the emotion.

I think that for a lot (I mean "alot" - hi Polly ;) of people who have difficulty connecting with confidence, "fake it till you make it" can be a pretty good place to start.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Confidence usually equates to how well prepared you are. If your material is solid you're confident, if it's not well prepared you're unconfident..
This is true, but like anything, there's more to it. For instance in a jam situation where there is no prep, this is the time for a sense of well being even if you lose it. As long as I keep time, that usually works, and I know that so I don't worry. If someone else causes a wreck, that's when you learn the most...how to quick get on track with grace and humor. As long as it's not me I'm good lol.

Psychologist Paul Eckman has spent much of his career studying the connection between emotions and physical (mostly facial) expressions and discovered that not only does a particular emotional state evoke a particular physical expression, the reverse tends to happen as well (i. e. A certain physical expression tends to evoke a particular emotional state). He and his colleagues sort of accidentally discovered this when practicing to replicate facial expressions of emotions they'd captured in photos--the better they got at and longer they spent "faking" the expression the more intensely they actually experienced the emotion.

I think that for a lot (I mean "alot" - hi Polly ;) of people who have difficulty connecting with confidence, "fake it till you make it" can be a pretty good place to start.
I'm going with this too. You have to face the fears. You can only prepare so much and then it's detrimental to not take the next step.
 

Caz

Senior Member
And it's true that confidence must be balanced, at the risk of being perceived as aggressive, overly-assertive, or just plain cocky. Nobody wants to hire musicians like that, just as they don't want someone with confidence issues who's always questioning and apologizing for what they play.
I read this a couple of days ago and realised I'm the latter - which has sparked some serious thought on my part.. as I've never really identified this as a 'personality trait', let alone thought that it's a bad thing to question my playing (or even apologise) to other band members. But upon reflection, I think this IS a bad thing and is an unappealing quality for a drummer - who should be the 'rock' in a band situation. I think for some people, the idea of coming across cocky and egotistical is so unappealing that you almost shift to the opposite end of the spectrum.. but for the sake of our role as drummers, it might be worth at least putting on a front of self-assurance until we're comfortable enough with our parts to really feel that we're playing at our best, if anything to create a stable atmosphere for the other musicians to build upon.
 
I think the best way to gain confidence is by "doing". Practice a lot and most importantly, play a lot. I didn't gain confidence until I joined my school's marching band where I was performing about twice every week in front of sizeable crowds. And the music was a push for my skills, but I practiced more than I ever had to prevent any screw-ups when it counted.

"If you are not confident now, does that mean you won't be confident later?"

Nope, confidence can be gained. Even when I'm not completely confident, just knowing I have a good amount of playing experience puts me more at ease. There have been times during school concerts where almost all the percussionists have no idea what measure we're in, but I keep my place and we recover. Although, it's almost like they expecting to mess up then have me or someone else as a safety net, which reinforces the fact that nothing beats proper preparation.

I'd rather have someone not fake confidence to the other people in the band. If someone isn't confident, that means they don't know the music or they're "iffy" on one or more parts of the music. I'd rather be prepared to help you recover than having you lie and say "no that's okay, I got this". Reminds me of another drummer in my school, improvs on everything because he doesn't try to learn the music if it's too difficult. Very annoying.

But uh, if you want to fake confidence to the audience, that's fine. ;)

I feel the most confidence from drummers who are relaxed during performances, thus calming everyone else.
 
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