Can Angst be Taught?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by miko, Oct 31, 2003.

  1. do you think it's possible to teach a musician how to play with conviction and passion, or is this something that is inherently found or not found in a person?

    i know a few musicians who have the technical and academic knowledge required to play an instrument, but they do not play with fire. i don't mean speed-fire, i mean passion. conviction. love.

    i think particularly in the case of bassists and drummers, this is crucial, though it's important for all players. you have to play with real feeling.

    my mom would call this syndrome being "seco" [dry] or playing "sin animo" [guess that loosely translates to 'without feeling']

    i am working on being a more "chops"-heavy drummer; meaning fancier fill ideas, faster hands, etc., but i do think i play with conviction and presence, even without all the extras. people enjoy playing with me because even though i'm not fancy, i have a really good pocket and play for the music. also have good dynamics, let my hair fly and am not afraid to work up a sweat.

    so what's your take? can you teach someone how to play with more zest? if so, how do you do it?

    'where there's smoke, there's fire...'
  2. Exedore


    Nov 15, 2002
    Pasadena, Ca, USA
    The only thing I can think of is to lead by example. Especially for some people who are just shy - they'll feel much less inhibited in expressing their conviction or passion if those around them aren't.
    But really, I don't think you can teach a person conviction or angst or whatever. A person who plays like a robot because they feel inhibited from showing their passion for the music can be taught how to get around those inhibitions. But if they don't already feel any kind of passion for the music then I don't think they can be taught to.

    But anyway, beyond just showing your own "zest" or whatever when you play with them, the only thing I can think of is to find them a good therapist.
  3. ClarkW


    Aug 1, 2003
    Provo, UT. USA
    "so what's your take? can you teach someone how to play with more zest? if so, how do you do it?"

    I was thinking about this last night as I rehearsed with my band. Sometimes, in rehearsal, we are almost statuesque, barely moving more than is required to play the notes. Sometimes, we get our groove on and end up dancing all over the small storage garage in which we rehearse. The notes might be exactly the same in both renditions, and both renditions are important to learning the song (remembering the changes, getting the solos right, or feeling the flow, etc).

    But I guarantee you that when we get up on stage, the instinct each of us has as a performer will light up and we will turn into a seething hot cauldron of rock and roll. For some people, it's playing in front of an audience that gets them going. For some, it's the spark of a particularly animated band member. For others, it just takes time for them to become comfortable with the band and the songs.

    You may just have to find out by trial and error what it takes to get each of your bandmates excited.
  4. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    How is your personality offstage? Is it similar to onstage? I think what people do onstage is a reflection of themselves and is a way to show people with actions and felling in the music. My answer is no, they my bang thier head or dance if you ask them to egt into it more, but if you don't feel it, you just don't.
  5. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Angst peaks at the age of seventeen, then decreases from then on.
  6. I'd suggest handcuffing the person to a chair and forcing them to suffer through:

    1. 48 hours of continuous uninterrupted Country & Western music.
    2. A continuous replaying loop of all 9 US Democratic candidates for the 2004 Presidental Election for no less than 12 hours.

    After that you'll have all the angst you could possibly want.

  7. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It has been my experience that some folks are basically passionless or unable to express emotion. Either they have had the fire beaten or abused out of them or they never have really felt it at any time in their lives. Perhaps they are just genetically reserved or emotionally repressed...whatever the cause, I don't think even leading by example will change them.

    Passion is a character trait, a trait some people lack. It is also a trait some people have at one time in their lives, but lose. Passion takes lots of energy and commitment. It also takes a willingness and capacity to "get out of" oneself and become less self conscious in order to demonstrate the "fire" you are seeking.

    Your mother uses the Spanish term "seco". I like that. I also often used the word "flat" to describe such people. Whatever we call them, I think we will have an uphill battle trying to encourage such people to "lighten up" or to be more emotive. It just isn't in their nature.
  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    "Can angst be taught?"

    Well, no, but it can be learned.

    And it can also be induced.

    Have you seen the movie "Rock School"? If not, it's well worth the price of admission.
  9. I'm not sure. I'd think that if a person never played with passion he wouldn't ever notice that it was missing and would never go out of his way to try to play passionetly.

    But I think that passion is much more important than technical ability. All of my favorite musicians have one thing in common, I can really feel the emotion they put into their playing. I can't like music that doesn't have passion, but that also goes for music that no doubt has a lot of passion but I just can't hear it. Which means I cross out 80's hair metal and most jazz with the same pen. No doubt the feeling's there, but all I hear is wanking off in a few more scales than in hair metal.
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    You've obviously been listening to the wrong kind of Jazz!! ;)

    So - of course there have been 'cool' schools of Jazz - but a lot of Jazz bands I have seen have played with incredible passion and have been hugely more thrilling than a lot of rock groups I've seen - who are just regurgitating their albums note for note!! :meh:

    There's nothing like a really swinging Jazz group playing incredibly high tempos with dynamic drumming and a tenor sax or trumpet player giving their all, over the top - especially when you get to see and hear them at close quarters in a small club!!

    In a lot of Free Jazz performances - all you have to hang onto is the passion!!
  11. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I agree - this thread is severely mis-titled!! :meh:

    It would make much more sense as something like "Can Passion be taught?"
  12. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Definition from A feeling of anxiety or apprehension often accompanied by depression.

    Why would you want to be taught that?! Sounds like a fairly destructive emoption to me?

    Anyway, no, you cant teach an emotion. Period.

    Agreed. When I saw Mingus big Band at Ronnie Scott's earlier this year I left the club feeling like I'd never see a live music as powerful again.
    I can honestly say, with 100% conviction, that I KNOW no rock band will ever meet the standard of that performance... and I would go as far as to say that anyone who experienced the same gig would feel the same.
  13. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    If you want to be in a band like Joy Division, Coldplay, Starsailor etc. etc. ;)
  14. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Angst means fear or anxiety, and is always a bad motivation for doing or not doing something.
  15. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    Wash your mouth out!
  16. Bryan_G


    Apr 28, 2000
    Austin, Texas
    I don't think angst is the word, but I know what you are talking about.

    The other day I played with a guy who went ALL OUT. We were all just jamming in a garage but this guy was acting like we were performing for a filled stadium. He played drums, guitar, and sang. He did it all the same way. It was awesome. The high level of energy coming from this guy created a great playing environment and all his parts really captured the emotion of the moment. We were mainly playing jam band type stuff and just having a good time, but this guy made it real. When he sang blues you felt it. I'm sure that if the guy had no actual talent his energy wouldn't make a difference, but as it was he made a good jam GREAT.
    I think it can't be taught, but it can be learned. I mean you can't tell me how to get into something, but I can learn how. It has to be something you figure out on your own to be real. And I think that is what it is, just being real. Music is so emotional that when you play it just for the sake of playing it, it seems fake. It is fake.

  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Sounds like drugs to me!! :meh:
  18. frankencow150

    frankencow150 Guest

    Oct 17, 2001
    No, angst cannot be taught. I mean, angst can always get into someone (i.e.-something BAD happens to them) but you can't really teach a boring musician to play with more emphasis. You can tell them to, but it'll probably wear off. Maybe I'm wrong, but in my experiences this is what I've come across...
  19. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    Speaking from the experience of having a drummer with no passion, the answer is no. No matter how much we tried to get him to show some passion when he played, it never happened. We were a metal band, and we would call him Max Weinberg, because he never really moved. He had that same, stiff, robotic look that Max has. Now, Max is a good drummer and all, but for metal, it just doesnt work.
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