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  #1  
Old 03-19-2019, 04:46 PM
mws71 mws71 is offline
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Default Self-Doubt

My band had a successful show the other night, however, like anyone else, all I could pick up on were the few mistakes I heard myself make.

Tried getting back to practicing and ironing out the basics and felt like I was playing with all thumbs

I am now in a state where I am totally second guessing my set-up, equipment, and in how I should be playing...I don't feel my natural style coming through.

Any advice?
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  #2  
Old 03-19-2019, 04:50 PM
Mustion Mustion is online now
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Did anybody else point out these mistakes?

Unless they were egregious, and I doubt they were, usually it's just other drummers who notice what you may consider mistakes. And guess what--you're on the stage, they aren't.

Don't overthink it...
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:00 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Quote:
Originally Posted by mws71 View Post
My band had a successful show the other night, however, like anyone else, all I could pick up on were the few mistakes I heard myself make.

Tried getting back to practicing and ironing out the basics and felt like I was playing with all thumbs

I am now in a state where I am totally second guessing my set-up, equipment, and in how I should be playing...I don't feel my natural style coming through.

Any advice?
As they say: the tape doesn't lie. It really helps to make a recording of a gig, either video or audio. Your memory of your own performance is certain to be flawed, because you're also in the moment, getting your music on. So don't judge yourself only by your memory. Mistakes you think were significant could be minor. Likewise, things you thought were fine may have some errors.

What, specifically, do you remember doing wrong? Just talking about it is very good medicine when you're feeling down.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:23 PM
mws71 mws71 is offline
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Unfortunately I don't have a tape of the show. I just know on a few fills, they weren't as exact as I had been able play in rehearsal. The people in the audience I spoke to asked me what mistakes was I grousing about and that I was being way too hard on my playing. The other guys in the band said everything sounded great. Perhaps it's a bad habit of mine to be overly critical of my playing. It was a three hour show, and the music we play can be really mentally taxing. I know near the end of the second set my brain felt like oatmeal and couldn't tell my hands and feet what to do.
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Old 03-19-2019, 05:47 PM
brentcn brentcn is offline
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

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Originally Posted by mws71 View Post
Unfortunately I don't have a tape of the show. I just know on a few fills, they weren't as exact as I had been able play in rehearsal. The people in the audience I spoke to asked me what mistakes was I grousing about and that I was being way too hard on my playing. The other guys in the band said everything sounded great. Perhaps it's a bad habit of mine to be overly critical of my playing. It was a three hour show, and the music we play can be really mentally taxing. I know near the end of the second set my brain felt like oatmeal and couldn't tell my hands and feet what to do.
3 hours is indeed a lot of music, so stay hydrated and eat a banana on a break.

Quote:
I just know on a few fills, they weren't as exact as I had been able play in rehearsal.
Man, everyone goes through this! You practice something, but when you get to that moment, it doesn't come out the way you wanted. There are some strategies that can help with this:

1. Record (audio and video if possible) your practice and performances. Watching and listening to yourself do that one fill correctly will add confidence.

2. Practice at a variety of tempos, and not just the song tempo, in order to gain better control over the content. Often, you'll get to the gig and the band wants to juice the tempo 5 bpm.

3. Exhale slowly, and relax as you play a fill.

4. Randomize your practice. Don't practice a fill for 30 minutes straight. Instead, practice it for 5 or 10 min, then practice something else for a while, and then return to that fill. This will help you to recall, and nail, that fill, the very first time, which is exactly what you need to do to pull it off live.

5. Smile while you play and practice. Not only will it help you relax, but you'll enjoy playing more, and people will enjoy watching you play. Show those teeth!

6. Forgive yourself. You're a flawed human being, a work in progress.
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  #6  
Old 03-19-2019, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

I'll think that I make a glaring error, and then when I go back to the playback, 95% of the time it's perfectly fine...even if I'm listening for it.

Don't beat yourself up too badly. It's almost always worse than you think.
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  #7  
Old 03-19-2019, 05:56 PM
Mustion Mustion is online now
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

By the way--I do this myself far too often, so I'm not trying to be hard on ya. If I don't play something perfectly, which happens at least once a gig probably, it sours my perception of how the whole gig went no matter how insignificant the mistake probably was. It's a silly exercise really, that makes it hard to enjoy the well-earned adrenaline rush/high one should get after a good gig. This is definitely something to work on, as much as are paradiddles or whatever.

Basically, if the gig went well and there were no complaints from the audience or band members, don't let it linger. They aren't doubting you, so why should you doubt yourself?
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  #8  
Old 03-19-2019, 05:57 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Yep the video doesn't lie is so true. Makes me believe all drummers should learn wearing headphones with a detection device some distance away-so you only hear what the audience hears. Listening and drumming behind the kit is very deceptive. I've discovered what I thought sounded good behind the kit often sounds terrible and the simple things I don't think sound to hot actually carry the song. The good news is you've discovered any issues and can fix them. I generally turn on and record as habit now-and it is still terrifying. I keep trying to delete the bad stuff-like I can be drag crazy-which is sort of "a drag" lol. But in general some self-doubt is healthier than the other extreme.
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  #9  
Old 03-19-2019, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Self doubt is a hallmark of being in one's head too much.

If all one is listening to is drums...the job doesn't get done by focusing on just the drum part. It's not about you as a drummer, at all, get that out your head. It's how good you can make the band sound.

By focusing on the others, what you were seeking before (to be an awesome drummer) comes about almost automatically. Whereas if you obsess over every note you play....the rest of the band doesn't really benefit from that, and you won't be their favorite drummer.

You are the glue that holds everything together, not a star attraction. Huge difference there. A guy who plays simply with confidence, comes off way better than the same guy playing busy with confidence, and worlds better than the guy who is self doubting. Doubt....there's no room on the stage for it.

I like to think of the drums as the frame of the car. Absolutely essential, but not something that gets highlighted. You don't want to see the frame of the car from outward looks.

Get out of your own head. Enlarge your listening focus to include every person onstage, and play to/with them. Your precious fills are probably doing more harm than good.
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  #10  
Old 03-19-2019, 06:31 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

For every part you are critical of, find another part you did well and feel good about. Nothing wrong with being self critical as long as you give yourself credit too. Surely there are things you do well that you can be proud of. Focus on those for a while. Too much negative thinking can put you back to square one fast. We aren't perfect, we are just people doing what we do. So you flubbed a fill, big deal. You could be doing something much less pleasant, something with no fills to flub.
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  #11  
Old 03-19-2019, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Put the sticks down and go for a walk...read a book...listen to something totally unrelated to what you normally play...lay back on a hill and watch the clouds go by for an hour or two...take a non-musican friend out for coffee or dinner...take a breath or two...and...wait for it.

You'll be fine.

Like Larry said above-you need to get out of your own head man.
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  #12  
Old 03-19-2019, 08:27 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Quote:
Originally Posted by mws71 View Post
My band had a successful show the other night, however, like anyone else, all I could pick up on were the few mistakes I heard myself make.

Tried getting back to practicing and ironing out the basics and felt like I was playing with all thumbs

I am now in a state where I am totally second guessing my set-up, equipment, and in how I should be playing...I don't feel my natural style coming through.

Any advice?
Been playing drums since the mid-sixties, and have experienced what you're going thru time and time again. The anxiety inevitably comes from a lack of confidence in my playing, or a comment made by somebody else in the band. Then, I will obsess about the "problem" until I always circle back around to just being the drummer I am - tempered by whatever issues I've hand to confront. Sometimes the issues are self-inflicted, sometimes the issues are real and need to be corrected.

I've worked through over-playing, speeding up during fills, just speeding up in general, playing too loud, and even slowing down when trying to obsess thru speed issues! It's just part of our development as musicians.

Just keep in mind, it's all part of the game, it won't be permanent, and you'll be a better drummer afterward. Doesn't make the situation any less uncomfortable, but you'll be just fine. Guaranteed.

GeeDeeEmm
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  #13  
Old 03-19-2019, 09:43 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

It happens. However, I have learned to not worry about it and just keep on truckin. I try to fix and minimize any kind of mistakes that other people would notice and not worry about mistakes only I will notice.

The main thing you can't do is let any mistake hinder the rest of the gig. Just get past it, and if you can just use it as part of your performance at the time.

Same thing after the gig. Don't dwell on it, and just keep playing... and don't go on YouTube.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:52 PM
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trickg trickg is offline
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

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Originally Posted by mws71 View Post
Unfortunately I don't have a tape of the show. I just know on a few fills, they weren't as exact as I had been able play in rehearsal. The people in the audience I spoke to asked me what mistakes was I grousing about and that I was being way too hard on my playing. The other guys in the band said everything sounded great. Perhaps it's a bad habit of mine to be overly critical of my playing. It was a three hour show, and the music we play can be really mentally taxing. I know near the end of the second set my brain felt like oatmeal and couldn't tell my hands and feet what to do.
We are always going to be our own worst critics - that's just the way it goes.

Regarding getting back to basics, there are a couple of things you could do. One would be to get some kind of a field recorder to set up somewhere to record the gig. In the case of the wedding band, our band leader used to port everything out to a CD burner so that he could go through to try to hear some areas of improvement. Like everyone else says, the recordings don't lie, and I do a fair amount of recording self-critique. This is good because not only will it highlight the things you could maybe tighten up, but you can also listen for the things you do really well so that you can reinforce that.

Regarding practice itself, I think that a key component to being a good musician is to relax - the more relaxed you are while playing, the smoother and tighter everything sounds, and the easier ideas flow. In order to do that, take things back to basics and work on some songs that either are a slower tempo, have simpler grooves - that kind of thing. Work on playing lighter, and maybe just do some basic practice pad work too.

Last thing, everyone who gigs with any kind of regularity has an off gig here or there. Accept this one for what it is, and just kind of let it go - no good ever comes from perseverating on those kinds of things. Be happy about the things that went well, keep in mind the things that didn't, and just try to be better next time. That's really all we can do.
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  #15  
Old 03-19-2019, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

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Originally Posted by trickg View Post
Regarding practice itself, I think that a key component to being a good musician is to relax - the more relaxed you are while playing, the smoother and tighter everything sounds, and the easier ideas flow. .
Ain't that the truth. I spent many years thinking I had to work just as hard as I could.

Then I found out that the opposite works WAY better. I was trying to run when all I needed to do was walk.
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  #16  
Old 03-19-2019, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongrel View Post
...lay back on a hill and watch the clouds go by for an hour or two...
This really is one of the most relaxing activities one can do. A nice bird/bug tune going on in the background, best way to waste some time ever.
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  #17  
Old 03-19-2019, 11:45 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

One thing that helped me when I'm too self-critical is I think about when other members of the group flub up, I really don't care. I might hear a wrong chord here and there or the vocalist might forget the words or something like that. And I think nothing of their mistakes, because it is normal to not be perfect all the time. So if it doesn't really bother me of others mistakes or flaws, why should my own occasional miscue make me miserable. It happens to all of us.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Self-doubt can be neurotically crippling if you let it get to you without using it productively; if you use it as a way to assess your weaknesses and improve upon them, it can be productive. So, don't think of it as an end, but as a means to an end (ie. you let it cripple you or you don't).

Put on one of your favourite albums and listen, I mean really listen, closely to each part. I'm willing to bet you dollars to donuts that under intense scrutiny, each and every musician on that album made at least one "mistake" - at least according to them. Now listen to that album as a fan of the music without the same scrutiny. Do you hear those "mistakes"? Probably not, because in a larger context they are either insignificant or are overwhelmed by the music as a whole.

It's like looking at a supermodel with a pimple on her face; if all you see is the pimple, and you're judging her on that, you're going to miss out on a whole lot of beauty.
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Old 03-19-2019, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

This stopped happening to me when I resolved to not play on the edge of my ability at a live show. I found that when I was playing at "100%" the propensity for things I would call "mistakes" was amplified.

So against logic dictating that I always give my shows "100%", I dialed it back. I play performances at probably 80% of my top range "ability" and don't write parts into my original songs that I find "difficult" to pull off with total consistency. I know it sounds strange, but what it equates to is confidence on stage. I don't have any parts coming up that worry me. I don't have any sense of dread or anything to think back about when I'm supposed to be getting on with the song.

That said, mistakes still happen, but this concept I'm talking about really helps me to quickly get them out of my head, because hey, I didn't make a mistake because I wasn't up to the part or it was complicated or I was trying to do difficult things; I just made a small fumble and I'm not worried about the rest of the piece at all. I just let go because I know I couldn't have done it differently in the moment.

When you're relaxed and confident in what you're playing you make far fewer mistakes anyway.

Lastly, nobody cares. Not even other drummers as that little voice might tell you. Yea, if you fumble enough, they'll notice, but then it's over and they'll forget. Everyone else is too busy shaking their own butts to give any rats butts.
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Old 03-20-2019, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
This stopped happening to me when I resolved to not play on the edge of my ability at a live show. I found that when I was playing at "100%" the propensity for things I would call "mistakes" was amplified.

So against logic dictating that I always give my shows "100%", I dialed it back. I play performances at probably 80% of my top range "ability" and don't write parts into my original songs that I find "difficult" to pull off with total consistency. I know it sounds strange, but what it equates to is confidence on stage. I don't have any parts coming up that worry me. I don't have any sense of dread or anything to think back about when I'm supposed to be getting on with the song.

That said, mistakes still happen, but this concept I'm talking about really helps me to quickly get them out of my head, because hey, I didn't make a mistake because I wasn't up to the part or it was complicated or I was trying to do difficult things; I just made a small fumble and I'm not worried about the rest of the piece at all. I just let go because I know I couldn't have done it differently in the moment.

When you're relaxed and confident in what you're playing you make far fewer mistakes anyway.

Lastly, nobody cares. Not even other drummers as that little voice might tell you. Yea, if you fumble enough, they'll notice, but then it's over and they'll forget. Everyone else is too busy shaking their own butts to give any rats butts.
This is top notch advice. Some of the best stuff I have read here and this place is a gold mine of information.

Best of all, it demands less of the player, not more. Perfect!
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  #21  
Old 03-20-2019, 10:25 AM
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Davo-London Davo-London is offline
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Actually, the odd mistake or two is quickly forgotten. Far worse is to be considered to be dragging, speeding up or generally not playing the song.

Peace
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  #22  
Old 03-20-2019, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

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Originally Posted by Ruok View Post
One thing that helped me when I'm too self-critical is I think about when other members of the group flub up, I really don't care...
Following on from that, foster a culture where a noticed mistake is cause for a smile between players, not a death stare.

I've learnt that rehearsing and learning songs really well isn't so that nobody makes mistakes - people will always make mistakes - it's so that when a mistake does happen, the band can paper over the crack quickly and effortlessly.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:17 AM
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  #23  
Old 03-20-2019, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

I think all musicians suffer from this to some extent..I know I did as a bass player. Thing is few people if any will notice even the biggest howler...unless that is you come in a clean half beat behind or in front of the band, that type of thing.
Taking a vid is usually a good idea..gives you some sense of how ur doing.
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  #24  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:23 PM
Mustion Mustion is online now
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Quote:
Originally Posted by beatdat View Post
Put on one of your favourite albums and listen, I mean really listen, closely to each part. I'm willing to bet you dollars to donuts that under intense scrutiny, each and every musician on that album made at least one "mistake" - at least according to them.
When people started posting those isolated drum/bass/guitar tracks on YT of legendary songs, I sure noticed some blemishes that I didn't before.

Don't forget that being in an ensemble, you're part of a mix...
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  #25  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:38 PM
Lennytoons Lennytoons is offline
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Go listen to some early Rolling Stones recordings. Charlie Watts made mistakes that have been recorded for posterity. Still, he's a great drummer and unless you know where the mistakes are you'd never know the difference.
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  #26  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:44 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Self criticism is great, until it's not. Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. If it's starting to hinder, rather than help, dial it down a bit.

Would you judge another drummer as harshly? Then why judge yourself so harshly? To quote Stanley Bing, "You're as special as the next guy."
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  #27  
Old 03-20-2019, 04:54 PM
Mustion Mustion is online now
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

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Originally Posted by Lennytoons View Post
Go listen to some early Rolling Stones recordings. Charlie Watts made mistakes that have been recorded for posterity. Still, he's a great drummer and unless you know where the mistakes are you'd never know the difference.
Start Me Up...

Yeesh, even Tony Williams made an obvious (to a drummer) flub on one Stanley Clarke album I have. Part of being a human, not all quantized and protoolsed to irigidity...
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:00 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Just when you think it's safe to go back into the water...You can be playing and on top of the world, then you drop a stick, or, catch the underside of the hats, or a guitarist misses chord and it throws your timing off slightly. As long as you recover quickly, most people will never notice. A recording will catch it, but as long as it's not a frequent occurrence, nobody will care.
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  #29  
Old 03-20-2019, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Self-Doubt

Since I started playing around 1978, I’m guessing I’ve played 2200-2500 shows, mostly 3 or 4 sets (45 minutes or 1 hour) each. Probably 85% of those were on bass, but the point is the same.

I always try to play my best, but if I or someone in the band screws up I take it in stride, and don’t glare or point fingers. And honestly, I’ve probably made at least small mistakes at every show I’ve played.

No one is perfect, and the fate of the world doesn’t hang in the balance if there’s a mistake whether is the drummer, bassist, or anyone else.

A lot bigger threat to you being an effective entertainer is preventing yourself from becoming bored or burnt out so you just don’t care.

That’s where I was with playing bass and singing, so after much though, I quit the band, and took up drums again. I’m much happier musically now. If I sit in with someone occasionally I’m not in the least worried by minor mistakes, I enjoy the moment.

If I agonized over the possibility of not being perfect I’d have quit playing long ago! Loosen up and have fun!

Last edited by Jbravo; 03-20-2019 at 06:56 PM. Reason: Math redo ��
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