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Anyone else have this "problem"?... (watching live music)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Supergroup, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. I am at a stage in my development as a bassist where I am having a hard time just enjoying music like I used to. I am analyzing everything too much, technique, tone, equipment... hell, I am even distracted by the overall sound, lights...etc... everything that goes into a "big act" live show.

    I saw Bela Fleck and the Flecktones (w/ Victor) last night here in KY. I just couldn't get into the music (aside from disliking the sax) like I used to. It isn't just this show, but all of the "big" shows I have seen lately. I just can't be the naive whirling dervish in the kaleidoscopic wonder of music that I used to be.

    I studied architecture in college and the same thing happened to me. I loved the "wonder" of a particular building/form and was quickly dimmed with my obsession to know the techniques that made the "thing of beauty". After I calculated or studied it's structure, it's pure essence (what made me love it to begin with) was lost.

    Does anyone else have this problem? If it even is a problem.
  2. I completely understand where you are coming from. I call it "The deal with the devil".

    It goes like this... You are young, don't yet understand how music is made, you just know you love it and it takes you to magical places in your mind because you don't know 'what's behind the curtain'. It all seems quite magical. Then the devil shows up in the form of a music education opportunity - piano lesson, a guitar, school orchestra...

    He says, "Hey... ya wanna know how all that works?"

    You say, "Oh yeah! Of course I do! I want to do the magic too!"

    With a flourish (more like a bunch of years of music education go by) and there you are, an educated musician who 'knows what is behind the curtain' and you are no longer amazed by something you don't fully understand. Now you get it, and it is not as magical. It may still be very impressive, but the 'magic' is no longer there; It is quite impossible to un-ring that bell - short of a brain injury. The devil is laughing...

    BUT it does not have to be that way. Although, the very band you cited (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) was the band responsible for reacquainting me with the magic! Strange, huh? But once I saw the four of them working their magic - especially Victor, I saw magic again! And it kicked my inspiration right back into high gear. Because I now know that the magic does not go away, it just changes form.

    You need to find your magicians. For me it was the Flecktones/Victor Wooten...

  3. I do know what you mean. However, I find it cuts both ways- if I see a band do something really amazing, I'm more able to go "Wow, did you see what they just did? That was awesome!"
    When I see a really good band though, I get caught up in the music as well as analysing it:)
  4. I couldn't agree more with tZer.

    I usually like to say: "I wish I was ignorantly bliss again."

    I went through a phase when learning music and trying to study Jazz where I became a bit of a snob. My ears opened up and really was not impressed with much of what I listened to. Mostly in the rock and pop music genre. I couldn't understand why some bands or rock musicians were being hailed as "Gods" or whatever.

    Then after some time I came full circle and realized that not everything in music is going to be analytical. You kind of have to take it for what it is, and then you can start enjoying music again.

    It's still "the deal with the devil" though, once you cross that line there is no turning back. I will still pick apart certain music, but will usually give it a second listen now. I still dismiss a lot of music as total crap, but that is just how I feel. The thing is, If I didn't know anything about music, is ignorantly bliss the best place to be? I appreciate music more now and feel I can hear the truly talented, what ever that talent happens to be. (wow, even that sounded snobby! :D )

    I'm actually going through the same thing with photography. it's been an on and off passion of mine, but the more I learn about it, the more the mystique that I once was in awe of is going away as it gets replaced by technique. I know now that it is simply part of the learning process. Hopefully in the long run I will be the better for it.
  5. jazzbo58

    jazzbo58 Bassist for My Man Godbey

    Apr 21, 2001
    New Orleans, LA USA
    I have to agree with the "deal with the Devil". I thought I was the only one that thought that way. Glad to hear I'm not alone!

  6. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    This is an interesting topic. This is the way it's been for me since I became a musician. Whenever I go to concerts, I'm the same way: looking around before the show to check out the stage setup and equipment, then during the show listening and watching very intently. I still feel the magic though.

    Sometimes when I'm listening to music with my wife, I'll say "Did you hear that xxxx?" But she rarely does. I have to play it a few times for her to finally hear it. One day she said to me "You hear music differently than most people do." I guess that I do....
  7. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA
    Same here. For a long time I used to wish I could just enjoy music like someone who isn't a musician.
    The deal with the devil was made a long time ago but I have found that as I get older I can enjoy music on different levels.
  8. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    It happened to me too. It got to the point where I was a bit, well more than a bit, discouraged.

    The deal is, that stuff hasn't changed, you have (as I'm sure you know already!)

    As I've gotten older, I've relaxed some and this has given me perspective that I didn't have before, or at least didn't know about. Rather than analyzing (funny how that word starts with anal...) every bit, I just take it all in more from a birds eye view, y'know the overall effect. I know, I know, short range order is reflected in long range behavior, and if you put on shows you need to be aware of all those things. But in the end, if you're/they're having fun, than, for the most part, so is everyone else. If you get caught up in all those details, especially if you're there just watching the show, you won't enjoy yourself. IMO, enjoy yourself, let it go. There's a time to be critical, and a time to not be, the trick is to know when. And it's probably different for each of us.

    Believe it guys, the best things in life are free, relationships you have with people and with yourself. I'm not much of a religious person, but treating others (and yourself) well is the most fun you can have. It comes back to you tenfold.

    OK, I'm off the podium now...
  9. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    for me this also handles why after listening to really talented people play their instruments that my friends look at me funny because i dont idolize the same drivel that pours out of radio stations.

    ignorance is bliss = catch 22
  10. I don't think "knowing music" has destroyed the beauty of music for me.

    If you want to be on a horse so high that only technical flamboyance excites you- that's your fault.

    I guess you can look at it like a magician watching another magician's act. You can know how they pull off the trick, and still enjoy the show of pulling off the trick.
  11. Skeletomania


    Oct 25, 2005
    hong kong
    Mark Twain wrote something to the line of what you're experiencing when he became a steamboat pilot. It is a raw deal that every one have to go through. Like every one else said you have to let loose and have and fun.
  12. It's not just knowing music... It's the entire "distraction" of trying to learn from other musicians (like Wooten last night... he was doing stuff I could only dream of doing) and the whole technical aspect of the live show. This compiled with the desire to want to understand it all. What is so "high horse" about that. I, recently, have reached a point to were it is taking away from what I loved about music in the beginning. I know it will not always be like this... thanks to the response of some of you who have gone full circle with this experience.
  13. If you want to be on a horse so high that only technical flamboyance excites you- that's your fault.

    This is the thing also, technical flambouance isn't as exciting as it used to be... and that has a little bit to do with knowing the technique. Know what I am saying?
  14. Me again - and boy I just love it when I come back to a thread and find out I am not alone OR having my comment disected and handed back to me in bitter chunks! I like you guys! LOL

    Another thought occured to me... I didn't realize this but there is a sort of antidote to the 'deal with the devil' and it requires a paradigm shift.

    After I started have music demystified, I went through a phase of snobbery where no form of 'pop' music could measure up. I felt cheated! Now that I get it, I don't get to like it? What is up with that?!

    After I got over myself, I began to get reacquainted with my 'musical inner child'. That little voice/feeling you got when music was new - I started to be able to hear music more 'for what it is worth' rather then 'what I expected it to be'.

    What I mean is this... If I go to see a 'Punk' band I don't break out my "Rush slide rule" to measure them by... Rather, I break out the same 'slide rule' I would use to measure say, watching mud wrestling. Was it high in energy? Check... Was there a strong and believeable commitment to attitidude? Check... Was it loud, abrasive and unashamedly obnoxious? Check... Cool! I just saw a really good Punk show! And even though I don't particularly "like" punk (which is not true... I do) but I am able to appreciate that what I just witnessed was a really fine execution of Punk - and I like watching things that are really well executed - therefore I enjoyed it. And don't think I require an hour after the show of critical analysis to figure out whether or not I liked it... I go in with my expectations properly calibrated - doesn't mean I automatically like everything now, but it takes the edge off of not liking anything and gives me another point of view to see it by.

    See what I mean? You have to look deep into you soul and find that part of you that is still tapping it's foot for some unknown reason and start to hang out with it again. I now find myself liking a lot of music I would have been very dismissive of in the past.

  15. "When I heard the learned astronomer,
    When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
    When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,
    When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
    How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
    Till rising and gliding out I wandered off by myself,
    In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
    Looked up in perfect silence at the stars."

    ~Walt Whitman

  16. +1 on the last two posts. In music school I became a bit of a snob about music, but now that I'm more comfortable with my own style and voice I can step away from the analytic stuff and just allow myself to connect with music emotionally, or not. It could be a purely aggressive punk tune or an amazingly beautiful jazz tune, if I connect with it then I like it. That's how I define good music these days, and I find music much more fulfilling then it was a couple years ago.
  17. I think I understand you. I'm sorry if my initial post was harsh- I was coming at it from a "I'm too good for 99% of the music" angle- again, I'm sorry.

    If you're talking about "big" bands and concerts- I guess I just turn off and enjoy the performance, enjoy them performing the songs that made me want to go in the first place. I've never been a big fan of light shows and pyro and whatnot- just if the sound is good and the band puts on a good performance.

    Maybe you need to remember why you're doing this in the first place? I'm not trying to be snotty, but what attracted you to playing? What do you want to accomplish? Unless your answer is "to be Victor Wooten" why go out of your mind trying to comprehend it all? Take what you like that someone does, put it into what you do- after all, you'll never be someone else.

    From the architecture standpoint, I don't think knowing all the math and theory behind Frank Lloyd Wright's work would ever make me dislike the beauty of his arts and crafts designs.
  18. BSR6P-Bob


    Apr 5, 2005
    "The professional musician often has to fight to preserve the naiviety that the layman already possesses."

    - Bill Evans (from The Universal Mind of Bill Evans)

    Welcome to the club.
  19. AxtoOx


    Nov 12, 2005
    Duncan, Okla.
    I've had it so long I've learned to deal with it. I'm not so bad at concerts but clubs?
    It happens with other things. Some know I instruct martial arts. I can't watch a fight scene in a movie anymore without getting frustrated. Duck, Block, Move, Get out of the way.......

    I'm sure it happens with athletes also.
  20. Caeros


    Jul 24, 2002
    Branford, CT
    I dunno, as a musician learning about the intricacies of music, I can still sit and watch a punk or metal band playing relatively simple music and have them blow my mind, and then put on a Jaco Pastorius record and have my mind equally blown for different reasons.

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