Here's a question that you pros won't be able to identify with at all, but this rank amateur had a recent bad problem with this: Our four-piece basically-bluegrass hobby band was gigging outdoors with a guest dobro player sitting in with our own dobro player. (Yes, that's right. Two dobros.) No rehearsals with the sit-in player. So we're four bars into the first tune and, WHAM, both dobros came in playing different lines and they're each jacked up to twice or three times any reasonable volume. (We're all amateurs, remember, so we're amateurs at managing sound systems, too.) The sudden swale of sound jarred me right off the beat and the dobros kept right on. Now I can't hear the vocalist and rhythm guitar at all, and it pretty much stayed that way, off and on, for the rest of the tune. [EDIT: There is no drummer.] Took me a couple more bars to figure out where the soloist was and by that time the dobro boys did it again. The rhythmic quality of that tune was non-existent. Well, thinking about it afterward, I reasoned that this was my failing--that I need to be able to keep a rock solid beat through an earthquake, bomb explosion, whatever. So, I decided three things: 1. I want always to be positioned where I can hear the rest of the rhythm section and the vocalist, i.e., on the opposite side of them from the dobro(s). 2. I need a lot more work with a metronome. 3. (And this is the one I want to ask about) I made what I'm calling a "distraction track" to play behind a play-along tune when I'm practicing alone. It's a track with nothing but loud swales of a-rhythmic music for several bars. These irregular bursts of sound come on randomly about a minute or more apart. I don't know when they're coming or for how long they're going to last, and the idea is for me to maintain a steady beat through it all and still be right on beat when the blast of sound is over. I know this sounds ridiculous to you pros, but I'm just a rank amateur who doesn't practice four hours a day. I'm looking for any way to get over this distraction problem which, with my hobby band, I'm pretty sure is going to happen again and again. I'm noticing considerable improvement in handling the distraction track already, and I've only used it twice. So what do you think of this idea, andmore importantlydo you have any better ideas for dealing with this distraction problem at my level?