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Asking for additional feedback after an audition

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hernameisrio, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    So, last weekend I had an audition for an 80s cover band. I prepared as best as I could despite fighting off a cold and having other stress going on in my life. If I had to give myself a grade, I'd say a B- to be fair. I didn't totally blow it, I played fairly well, felt relatively comfortable considering the caliber of the band, and had fun. I felt I made a decent impression. I didn't get the gig. I was told what I basically already know- that I'm just not there yet.

    Given this information, I'm curious if there were any specifics which the BL felt disqualified me. Do you think it's worth asking, and more importantly how do I ask without coming off as being insecure or needy or something?
  2. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    I would definitely think it is worth asking. Most people will be glad to give you constructive criticism, you will encounter some folks though who are some embarrassed of telling you no, they won't return your phone calls or e-mails. I times I didn't get the gig I always got a valid reason so I could improve myself. There was nothing worse than losing ones to stuff you couldn't change though, I missed out on some sweet gigs when I was younger because of my age.

    Write out the e-mail, keep writing it until you don't feel it sounds whiny, you don't need to sound like a whiner to get some good advice. Who knows, they could be looking again in a year and call you up before even posting an ad.
  3. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I would just ask What do you feel I need to work on.
  4. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I mean, I have a few hunches, but I figure it's always nice to get an objective viewpoint. I think I was probably too young, (they're in their 40s and 50s and I'm a young 30!) my backing vocals could've been stronger, and I felt I rushed a bit in one of the songs. I wish I could've heard the player who DID get the gig...you know? Then I'd know what to work towards...
  5. Piggy8692


    Oct 2, 2010
    Northern Utah
    The fact that they told you that much is good enough. At least you know it wasnt your gear, face, or where you live. I'd take it and go practice. Asking anything more in my opinion would show that you don't know how good your playing is yourself. Which you are as it seems, but he's not reading this.
  6. DiabolusInMusic

    DiabolusInMusic Functionless Art is Merely Tolerated Vandalism Supporting Member

    Well it could be your face, as you said, they were all much older, 4 similar looking guys do better anywhere, regardless if they are all young, all old, all skinny, or all fat.

    I would also put a lot on vocals, it cost me a gig or two in my day,good backing vocals can get you hired easier than good bass chops in my experience.
  7. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I think you already know why you didn't get the gig. According to your posts, your playing was a B-, your vocals weren't strong enough and you rushed through one of the songs. The fact that they are older than you would not have made a difference if your playing was an A, your vocals were good and you didn't hurry through a song.

    Its possible that they didn't have an issue with anything of the things you mentioned but may have felt that your style wasn't what they wanted. I wouldn't worry about it. Call the BL and thank him for the opportunity. Tell him that you are looking for ways to improve and ask him what he thinks you could have done better.
  8. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    If you know your vocals are not good do not even try out for a band that wants good backing vocals.

    I know my singing is not good. I can help out as a extra voice in some songs but I can never cut it as a main back up vocalist.
    I do not even reply to to ads that ask that.
  9. bassfran


    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
    Don't let it bother you. Trust your instincts and learn from the experience. Work on your vocals and keep playing as much as possible. When the next opportunity comes you'll be that much more ready for it.
  10. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I just checked craigslist to see the band you were talking about, and think I found it if it starts with an "R".

    Here are my thoughts: First, I don't think it would hurt to ask for more information, but be prepared to not get a response. The fact that they told you that you weren't quite there yet is a lot more than most people will offer. Also makes me think though that they might be kind enough to tell a little more. If writing, I would just be sure to make it clear that you were only looking to improve yourself, and NOT fix whatever they found wrong with you in order to get the gig.

    Haha... I just started writing what I would write if I were you, and decided that I take back what I just said. I couldn't construct a letter that I think they'd respond to. If you could and you really feel you need to, then go for it. But upon thinking this for a minute past my last paragrapy I now say this....

    You know you're lacking. It's up to you to figure out where and how. I can tell you this, if you are auditioning for a band like this you have to go in 110% confident, because that's the person who'd going to get the gig. If it's the band I think, they're most likely going to want someone who is going to be able to start gigging with them next friday, and there are plenty of people who would be able to do that. If you've got 5 songs to learn, and you're flubbing one of them, then you're not the guy. I'm gonna guess there are guys coming to audition who can bang out at least 50% of their tunes with no problem.

    How do you get to the point where you can do this? Probably a few different ways, depending upon how motivated you are, but I believe most people get there through time and experience. After rehearsing and gigging with a lot of cover bands it becomes a lot easier to pick up songs, lock in with a band, and walk into an audition full of confidence. The only other alternative I can think of is to woodshed like crazy. Learn as many songs as you possibly can. Practice those songs standing up, laying down, and jumping around your living room.

    If you want more of a shot the next time auditioning for a band like this, I'd suggest putting more time into learning the material. Double what you put in this time. If you want it badly enough, you'll find the time. I borrowed gear clear across the country once when I had the opportunity to play in a band I really wanted, but had a vacation planned in LA the week before the audition. I spent hours on my vacation learning songs, and I got the gig. Know the material upside down and inside out so there's no possibilty of you screwing up. I find when I know the songs like this, and I step into the audition, I have a completely different vibe than if I'm going in "hoping" I don't screw up. The audition becomes fun and I wind up putting out a completely different energy. I believe this is what sets me aside from a lot of others when I audition. I just about always land the gig, and I don't believe it's because I'm blowing all the other bass players away. I believe it's because I commit to what I'm doing, 110%.

    If you decide to write, you might want to run it by your talkbassers first. :) Good luck.
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Just checked out the band a little more thoroughly. Again, assuming this is the band you're talking about. Don't sweat not getting the gig. I'm quite sure they're not nearly as happening a band as they make themselves out to be. Their only video is a studio recording dubbed with video that looks like it was also done in a studio. Or at 1 gig. There've got no gigs booked, and a thursday night residency at Kenny's is nothing to be proud about.

    Consider this a great experience that will give you the drive to work harder for the next much better gig that you will nail.
  12. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    Got no backing vocals myself, but this is great because it allows my playing to stay at a consistent A Level on 95% of the songs my band plays.
    because I am not trying to sing away like Brian Wilson or something. All I am doing is laying down ROCK solid bass. Makes life simple.
  13. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    So he was auditioning for a band that had nothing happening.

    Interesting Joe, one of the things I'm seeing from my thread " Why Do We Join The Wrong Bands" is, crazy as it seems some guys want to join bands with nothing happening.


    Thanksgiving Eve 2012 Pic

    View attachment 301500
  14. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Not sure if the OP and I are talking about the same band. And if we are, at first glance it looks as though they've got something good going on. A good look and listen to the video told me they themselves have a ways to go. At least IMO. :)
  15. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Joe, it is the band you're talking about. Small world! Anyway, I'm not upset....it was still fun to learn and play those songs, to have an opportunity to meet musicians, and to have an incentive to push myself. So I'm not sweating it. I figure it can't hurt to just start figuring out popular cover songs, and to use auditions as a means for self-improvement. I already play along to songs when I practice, so all the better if I can use this as market research and give myself homework. I'm really looking for any opportunity to just get out and play with others, even when I'm between bands...it helps me get perspective on where I am and where I want to go. For that matter, a year ago I would've been WAY over my head...so I'm already moving forward! :D
  16. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest
    I wouldn't ask because you said you gave a B- performance you allowed your cold and other stress in your life to get in the way of the audition I sympathize with you but it's a job interview and your future employers don't want to hear it the performance wasn't your best you already know that so asking BL's opinion is not needed.
  17. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Hey, I'm just being honest with myself. I'm not making excuses...I'm simply saying that by my OWN standards, I unfortunately fell slightly short of the mark...which is what made me curious about somebody else's standards.

    So anyway, I disagree. I think when you're an artist or performer, it DOES matter what other people think. It ALWAYS matters. If you go only by your own judgement, you'll always be a little bit off. My point in mentioning my stress and my cold was just that...not so much that it was a handicap or a reason to not get the gig (it wasn't either of those things, or maybe it was- it doesn't matter!), but just that it created additional variables which affected not only my playing, but my perception- and possibly others' perception- of my playing.

    As empty or pointless as it might seem to compare yourself to others, you gotta have a reference point somewhere/somehow, or I don't think you'll ever grow as a musician...that's all I'm trying to do here. Am I overthinking it? Yeah, so? Better than just brushing it off!
  18. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Might I add that it's very unusual for me to admit anything that might affect my performance. If I'm tired, sick, angry, hungry, broke, hungover, anemic, asthmatic, allergic, contagious, sad, PMSing, whatever...I play anyway because boy do I love playing bass.

    Do these things affect my playing? Unfortunately, yeah, they might/they have/they will/I just have to deal with it as best as I can. But I don't use these factors as excuses or crutches...it's for me to know, no one else. The *only* context in which I'd mention them would be in pointing out realistic reasons as to why I might have not been up to par, like in this example.

    I worked in the film industry for four years in the camera department. I was always amazed to see the crew fall apart after a 14-hour "day" during a night shoot, a complete flip of one's internal clock...people would get tired, then when catering was late, they'd get hungry, then they'd get mad, and yes, the quality of the work would suffer. A lot.

    There is a fine line between an excuse...and a legitimate reason. ;)
  19. Fiset

    Fiset I do a good impression of myself Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    New York
    I don't think you really need to go back to those guys to ask because I think you already know. Besides, them telling you "you're not there yet" is revealing enough on its face.

    Follow Joe's advice in terms of your preparation for your next audition. No excuses, brotha, don't go into an audition with ready-made excuses to fail at your disposal (i.e. I had a cold while preparing, etc.) I think sometimes we can sabotage ourselves before we even set foot in the studio for an audition. Body language and overall confidence is a big part of landing gigs. If you have it in your head that you didn't prepare enough, I guarantee that will come across to the other guys in how you carry yourself during the audition.

    Practice your tail off and good luck with the next audition.
  20. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Thanks Andrew! And you're right, I think in my attempt to be more critical of myself, I probably broadcast that more than I know...here's hoping my immune system holds up better! :D