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Dealing with rejection/ growing a pair and getting better..

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by albertofrog, Jun 1, 2014.

  1. I need the advice of the assembled wisdom of TB.

    I’ve just been passed over for a gig with a band that I’ve helped out for a few of rehearsals.

    It’s a bit awkward as I was trying to position myself as the first choice stand in on bass, but it now appears (to me at least) that the band leader thinks I’m not good enough for the gigs.

    (To be fair the band are very good, and I am punching above my weight), but, if I’m good enough for the rehearsal, surely I’m good enough for the gigs?

    If not, get the guy who’s doing the gig to do the rehearsals..

    Anyway, the background: This is a big band setup playing 60’s-70’d funk/big band stuff (definitely no Glen Miller type of gig.. [more Gordon Goodwin if you look it up on youtube]) and its all reading dots.. They are REALLY tight as a band, and if I’m being honest, that’s a point I’m a bit weak on. Reading semi-quaver (eighth note) off beats is not my strong point, although I can sight read 90% of the big band/jazz charts I’ve ever seen. (So it’s not like I’m a complete beginner)

    They are semi-pro financially, but fully pro in their attitude.

    However, after playing bass for 20 years plus, I’ve realised that I take these knockbacks really seriously. I was previously kicked out of a function band for not learning the parts and relying of the dots. (Which in hindsight was:

    a] a fair point and I could have learned the parts,


    b] a bit hypocritical as the brass section always had music.

    So, one mistake is acceptable, two means I haven’t leant from the first one.

    Also I seem to take them really personally. It’s easy to say, “let it go man” but I’m still anoyed about getting the boot nearly 10 years ago, even though I’ve done many, many great gigs since.
    Im not that sensitive about my day job, but I take musical rejection much worse.

    So, enough (drunk) ramblings, my question to the great and good of TB:

    A) Do I have a problem with rejection, or do you all remain bitter about your previous failures?

    B) Is that last 10% of sight reading ability important enough to warrant putting the hours in?

    Your thoughts please..

    I think I know the answers (no and yes) but I'd value your thoughts.
  2. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    1st of all I can not sight read, so props to you guys who can. Rejection/failure happens. Try to learn from it but don't let it bother you. Growing up playing baseball taught me a good bit about that. (7 failures per 10 attempts=pretty good) You learn to deal with failure. But it was a douche move to have you practice then pull the plug on the gig unless it was termed a try-out or you were paid for your time. IMO
  3. 4-stringB


    Jun 10, 2010
    Suck it up, Buttercup. It happens to all of us at one time or another. I've had it done to me, and I've had to do it to others. But reading is a real weak point for me too. especially tab, dot and others. I had the elementary and high school band experience, and learned standard notation. Was semi-good at it, but could not sightread worth a darn....OK, so much for the rambling. You seem to give a crap, which is good. It indicates a desire to learn. I had a bandleader ride me like a rented mule, 'til I tightened up, and improved my playing. If putting in the time for your reading to improve seems like a good idea, then it probably is. I had one guy demand I learn slap, which I refused. He declared far and wide that I was a crappy bass player. However, I've been working, while he has yet to get his project off the ground.
    Remyd likes this.
  4. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    It's possible you weren't that good in practice. If you want the gig that badly, you'll do whatever it takes to cut the gig. I'm in a similar situation from time to time, subbing in a large events band with a lot of highly trained readers (including the bass player I sit in for), while I get by on guile and less training. They know I'll be sharp for the show, even if the rehearsal is rough. I'll woodshed the music obsessively, and it sharpens me up for the unexpected twists. When the lights come on, I swing the damn neighborhood. Maybe that's the question: Do they have confidence in your ability to play up? And if not, why not? Every situation is different, but being able to handle a wide range of grooves definitely holds you in good stead with better trained players (unless they are impossibly arrogant). That's something not easily faked even by awesome readers.
  5. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    I think of it in terms of Growth Mindset (vs. Fixed Mindset, as described in the book "Mindset", by Carol Dweck). We can all get better, and we know that practice is what gets us to get better. If we see losing a gig as an indication of how good we are(n't), then it's forgetting that we may just need more practice.

    One trick to turning our negative thoughts from being indictments of us as individuals toward being a motivator is to add the word "yet" to our self dialog. E.g. "Reading semi-quaver (eighth note) off beats is not my strong point, YET".

    If reading gigs are something you want to do, then practice. You'll develop to be able to do what you need to do to get the gig going forward.

    It still stings to lose out, and being positive is easier said than done, of course. Make sure that you focus on the part that you can control (working to get better) than on negative messages.

    Best of luck to you.
  6. A) Don’t hold a grudge. If there sis a valid reason for not getting the gig, address it and get the next gig
    B) See point above. The fact that you’re only 90% there meant you didn’t get the gig. How bad do you want these gigs?

    I don’t think I’m in the same league as you (I’m overlooked for pretty much every gig..) but that’s how I approach my playing. I go to local jams and try to sit in, you learn in a hurry what you weak points are and spend the time between jams drilling the weak point. My main problem isn’t with my playing, more my interpersonal skills. I do all right sitting in with most of the bands at the jam nights, but I suck at following up afterwards to make new musical connections.
  7. A quote I like, and I may have heard it here originally.
    "There are 2 things in life that you shouldn’t spend time worrying about: things you can do something to fix, and things you can’t"
    elBandito and natw42 like this.
  8. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It always sucks not getting what you want, but if they had you in for rehearsals, but didn't pick you, they had a reason. If that's the kind of gig you want, the reading is that important. Being able to sight-read a sheet of musiccold (wish I still could) is a great skill. If you are still on good terms with the bl, buy him a cup of coffee and ask what you can do to improve. That will give more feedback, and if he was impressed, he may recommend you for other gigs, or if the other bassist doesn't work out.
  9. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    I'd concentrate on A a little more. I play in a band with horns, and we've decided that it's OK for them to read because they're in the back of the stage, but it's not for us because we're all front people as well as musicians. Is it fair? Of course not. Welcome to the music business. But I'm in total agreement with the policy. We also do gigs where we have to do a lot of sight reading where it is OK, though.

    As GI Joe says, knowing is half the battle.

    I'm only bitter about one rejection, and that's because I came into a rehearsal and nailed everything perfectly but got turned down because I had a 5-string and that didn't establish the "punk cred" they were apparently looking for. Fortunately, they broke up soon after. Tough crap. OTOH, it taught me a great lesson about psychology in getting the gig.

    You wanted the gig, didn't you? ;)
  10. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    It could be that They sensed that your heart wasn't 100% into it. If the Band, Songs, Situation and everything else is EXACTLY what you are looking for, than it's important to figure it out. If not then You should spend all your energy finding "Your" perfect match. I am currently searching for another band to join but it's going to be exactly what I want with very little compromise. I don't know if that will help you but it's my 2 cents. If that band in the OP is everything you want then keep at it and you'll make it happen.
  11. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Keep working on the material. If the other bass player doesn't work out you might get a call back.
  12. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Analyze what your weakness is ,ask the BL if need be and work on that.
    It took me many years to break into good cover bands & function bands.
    Know your parts & be solid as hell.
  13. BrotherMister


    Nov 4, 2013
    PVG Membership
    You got to go along and experience playing with musicians at a higher standard than you? You should focus on the fact you got to experience that and it has allowed you to focus on what areas of your playing you need to work on and strengthen. Rejection is a part of life. It happens in music all the time as well so you just have to accept it occurs, if you wallow in pity you will never improve but what has actually happened is you got to go and play with musicians at a higher standard than you. You discovered somethings you need to work on so that alone is its own reward. Take a moment to write down what you need to work on based on that rehearsal and then write somethings you did well. Use the experience to your advantage even if you didn't get the gig, you probably got so much more out of it then you realise but you are focusing too much on the fact you lost a gig. Everyone loses gigs.

    You have probably spent more hours getting than 90% together than you will getting that 10% together. It is that extra 10% which is going to take your playing up a notch.
  14. adi77

    adi77 Banned

    Mar 15, 2007
    hi, i think you are kind of answering your questions in the post itself..a) rejection is just another part of gigging, b) more practice needed, c) that 10% seems to be the answer (not for sight reading benefits alone, it seems like a mental block may open up there) another point to consider is that musical competence may not be the only factor for musicians being in/out of a band.. best of luck
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    This is why you should learn your craft even though you might not use every bit of knowledge in every situation. When you needed that last 10% it was too late to learn it.

    A) - Who are you mad at? The only person you should be mad at if yourself for not being ready after 20 years of playing when an opportunity presented itself.

    B) - Only you can answer that question.

    Everybody has missed auditions, it's what you do from here that counts. Either take the time to learn what you need in order to play with the bands you want, or accept that you have other priorities for your time.

    Good luck, there really aren't any right or wrong answers.
  16. Zephrant


    Dec 10, 2013
    Spokane, WA
    As hinted once above, sometimes these decisions are based more on feelings than skill. Taking a moment to evaluate the interpersonal side can be worth it.

    I've missed promotions because I didn't brown-nose the right posterior. Sucks, but I won't be changing that aspect of my life.

    Not saying that is the case here, just mentioning another possible cause/effect cycle.
  17. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Rejection stings at first.
    Learn a positive lesson from it and move forward. Do not harbor a grudge. That only hurts you.
    Next time will be better.
    Remyd likes this.
  18. A) If you're bitter about anything in this life, you oughta check yourself. Life's too damn short. Turn rejection into instruction: Ask why you were passed over. Find out what — specifically — you need to improve. A decent person will give you answers you can work with build on. If the person you ask is a jerk about it, then you probably don't want to be involved with that band.

    B) I don't know, sir. Is it? Only you know the answer, but I'll give you a hint: If you want it, then hell yes.
  19. wrench45us


    Aug 26, 2011
    It seems to me your identity is wrapped up in wanting to be the guy who plays in that band and recognized as that guy. Meanwhile you know you're only 90 percent of that guy.
    That gives you someplace to go.
    You know in the real world job market we've all wanted to be the guy who works that job at that employer, but it doesn't always happen and we deal with it. Music identity may be more important to who you want to be. Something to work through.
    Sounds like you're awfully close to who you want to be, so don't let a setback turn your head.
  20. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    You gotta remember in this business, skill is only a small percentage of success. People, especially creative/musical types, by and large make the most illogical decisions based on the silliest of reasoning.

    For all you know, it might have been your shoes that put the BL off. He will probably never tell, and even if he did there would not be any sense in arguing the point.

    You can call it stupidity or you can call it bad luck, but you haven't failed until you quit trying. Hang in there. Opportunity can still knock at any given moment.

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