When's the right time to play with other musicians?

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I don't think you'll ever really grow as a musician till you play with others. So as soon competent to get a gig, and the better the players the greater you'll grow. It's like playing tennis-you wanna get better play with really good players.
 

JDFaulky

Well-known member
Great advice. Thanks, all. I’ll update everyone on how the jam session went this weekend. Glad to see no one is in the “learn all 40 rudiments at 180bpm and master a Dreamtheater song first” camp. 😂
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
The time to start collaborating with other musicians is now. You've been drumming for over a year, you're working with an instructor (presumably a reputable one), and you own a kit. While I'm a firm proponent of the pursuit of rudimental excellence (and would encourage you to cultivate it throughout your drumming journey), the only way to become a genuine drummer is to apply your skills to a musical context, even if you must endure an initial phase of trial by fire. Shelve your hesitance and get out and play. You can't attain confidence without overcoming fear. Just dive into the mix and enjoy the plunge.
 
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No Way Jose

Silver Member
Jams are a big step at first. Keep doing it, it gets better.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I would find out what style and/or songs they want to play. I've been playing for over 40 yrs and I would start sweating if I arrived at a jam and they wanted to play math-prog heavy metal tunes.

If it's new material, then are you prepared to interpret a chart handed to you? If not, then another sweating scenario unfortunately.
 

boomstick

Silver Member
I get the nervousness. Just play within your abilities and keep it simple and steady. I always remember what Jabo Starks said about joining James Brown's band, which was inhabited by very high level musicians:

"They taught me: I don't care what you play, I don't care how you play, I don't care if you don't ever play fancy, I don't care if you don't ever play the greatest solos in the world, all I want you to do is remember this: Play time. Play the time. Hold the time. You're the heartbeat. Once that time starts, you hold it right there. Whatever anybody else does, don't you go there. Make them come back to you."
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Hey there, I teach at a rock school type of place, where adult amateurs/beginners are assembled into bands and learn to play songs together. Here’s a few pointers and observations.

You will NEVER feel ready! It’s always strange at first, but after a few weeks your private lesson experience and training kick in, and you’ll feel more comfortable.

Join a group that chooses songs in advance, and can follow through on what the group chooses. That way, you’ll have a week or so to prepare them before rehearsal. Do your homework. Work on these songs with your teacher. A group that is choosing songs on the fly might be too much at first.

If a song seems too difficult, know that beats and fills can always be simplified until you can play all the way through a song. Add complexity as you go, but get a working version together first. Don’t stress about all the details at once. Do not wait to learn the chorus, bridge, or the ending, until after you’ve learned the intro and verse. Learn all the parts at once, simplifying what you need to.

A typical rock band playing covers will be limited mostly by what the singer can do. So be conscious of that when you’re selecting songs.
 

JDFaulky

Well-known member
Hey there, I teach at a rock school type of place, where adult amateurs/beginners are assembled into bands and learn to play songs together. Here’s a few pointers and observations.

You will NEVER feel ready! It’s always strange at first, but after a few weeks your private lesson experience and training kick in, and you’ll feel more comfortable.

Join a group that chooses songs in advance, and can follow through on what the group chooses. That way, you’ll have a week or so to prepare them before rehearsal. Do your homework. Work on these songs with your teacher. A group that is choosing songs on the fly might be too much at first.

If a song seems too difficult, know that beats and fills can always be simplified until you can play all the way through a song. Add complexity as you go, but get a working version together first. Don’t stress about all the details at once. Do not wait to learn the chorus, bridge, or the ending, until after you’ve learned the intro and verse. Learn all the parts at once, simplifying what you need to.

A typical rock band playing covers will be limited mostly by what the singer can do. So be conscious of that when you’re selecting songs.

That's actually extremely cool that you group students up together to play. I place I take lessons also teaches piano, guitar, bass, vocals, saxophone, clarinet, etc. It would be awesome if they picked students from various instruments and grouped them together if they opted in for it. They even have a rehearsal space where they could easily make that happen.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
That's actually extremely cool that you group students up together to play. I place I take lessons also teaches piano, guitar, bass, vocals, saxophone, clarinet, etc. It would be awesome if they picked students from various instruments and grouped them together if they opted in for it. They even have a rehearsal space where they could easily make that happen.

Thanks! It really, really is very cool. It sets us apart from literally every music lesson place that isn’t a college or university in the region (who, for a variety of reasons, aren’t interested in education for older adults). And it’s really gratifying to take a bunch of adults who thought they’d never be able to play in front of people, and turn them into a band.

One of the biggest constraints is the availability of rehearsal space. But even if you already have that, there’s still a lot of work. You need a rehearsal leader with experience on multiple instruments (something I developed over time), and a lot of patience and interpersonal skills. The wrong personality or expectations from a rehearsal leader or a band mate can make things go sideways in a hurry. So it’s important to vet everybody ahead of time, and lay down the ground rules.

You also need gigs. A band isn’t going to just practice forever. You need some kind of public performance every few months. Getting a spot on local festival stages, or booking a recital on an off-night at a local restaurant/bar/cafe, seems simple enough, but takes a lot of phone calls, meetings, and a persuasive personality.
 

Sebenza

Member
Jump in. I joined a band a week after I bought my first kit when I was 12 :)
Same here. Bought a set with the help of my older sister and set it up at a friends basement (my parents wouldn't allow me drums...too noisy) and since he played bass, we started jamming right away. I was 15 at the time and maybe 2 or 3 months later I was filling in and playing live gigs in a blues band where everyone was at least double my age. It was just soo much fun, it's ridiculous!

As a side note, I'd been "building" my own sets with cardboard boxes and cookie jars since I was 10 or so, so even though I never even sat down at a real drumset, I could play them from the get-go.

But the point remains, get in there as soon as you can. I see all kinds of reasons given for not to play with people on this forum...from social anxiety to not being good enough to 'as soon as I get my singles up to x tempo'. Everyone can make up his own mind about it, but when the question is asked, the response will always be the same from me. I started from scratch in a music school this year to get my solfége up to par, and during the beginner ensemble classes everyone just ends up with smiles on their faces, even though most of them don't even know what 4/4 or a D major chord is...
 

JDFaulky

Well-known member
As a side note, I'd been "building" my own sets with cardboard boxes and cookie jars since I was 10 or so, so even though I never even sat down at a real drumset, I could play them from the get-go.

Funny you say that. I couldn’t get a kit as a kid cause my parents couldn’t afford it. I ended up spending my entire 20’s putting hundreds of hours into the video game Rock Band on drums alone beating all of those games on the hardest difficulties. Then I would get cheap e-kits and hook them up to my PC and make my own drum beats.

When I turned 35 I got my first real acoustic kit and thanks to all of that crap I did in my 20’s I picked it up really quickly.
 

JDFaulky

Well-known member
I just got back from the jam session. Everything went really well. They want me to come back next weekend and they seemed impressed with my playing so that's a relief. The only problem is that they play original songs and I'm not super passionate about the music they play. However, I figured it's great experience regardless so I agreed to continue playing with them. We'll see how it goes.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
I get a faint pang of dread before every song I jam along too - the second it starts I'm in a state of bliss as good as good as almost anything I've ever done.
So man up and do it 😜

Edit: You already have? See, told you!
 

BruceW

Senior Member
Yesterday.

As soon as possible.

Play. Playing with people makes all of you better.

Good luck, and enjoy!
 

JDFaulky

Well-known member
I ended up passing on being their drummer. While it was extremely cool to jam out with them, I just don't feel like I'm a super good fit for them since the music I want to play isn't quite in sync with what they play. It just didn't feel right even though they were 100% on board to me being their drummer. I'm going to continue to keep myself open and try to find a band with a better fit for me. Apparently drummers in my area are pretty hard to come by so I shouldn't have to look too hard.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
If you fall down, get up. Take a few more lumps, get knocked down, get up again .
 
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