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Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by bassfacekevin, Apr 18, 2006.

  1. Mods, I'm not exactly sure where this is, or anything, so please move it as needed. Basically, I have been playing bass for about 2-3 years now, and I have absolutely fallen in love. I recently dropped out of a major university and have gone to a community college to study and try and see if I can't get my theory on par with my technical ability.
    Well, I have found that having absolutely no musical background is rather detrimental to my ability to do this, as I didn't know what any keys and scales were, let alone relative minors, chord subs and anything else were. I have been catching up recently, and I feel like I'm making fairly good (albiet very slow progress, as my brain seems to be fighting me on theory every step of the way)
    So, today, my prof. calls me into his office today, and looks me straight in the eyes and tells me that, "I understand that you enjoy music, and that it's something that you really like to do, but you're not at the same level as your peers, and you aren't making very much improvement. (I could study more, but I feel pretty good about my what I know/how long I've been studying ratio) Basically, I don't believe that you're going to make it as a musician. Do you have any other plans?"
    I was really rather shocked by this, and at first I was really bummed, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that that was one man's opinion, and that I'm going to find thousands more who will always tell me that it's never going to work out, and that I'm doomed to failure. In all honesty, I feel just as optimistic as ever (if not more so) because I know deep down that I'm going to be a professional musican. I am just rather appauled that this guy was willing to point blank tell a student that their life dream will never happen. I suppose he's trying to do what he thinks is best, but wow. Sorry that wasn't very funny, but I just wanted to post it in case anyone else (young or old) had someone tell them they're not good enough, because you are as good as you want/need to be.
  2. And forty years after being told the same thing, I am about to retire as a Professional Musician. You really want it, you'll just do it, at your own pace if need be. Go for it!
  3. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Well, I've been a music teacher for over 30 years and a performing musician longer than that. I can offer some different points of view here.

    1.) At the HS level, any student who said they were going to major in music in college was routinely ask about other plans that they might have for their future. If any said they had ANY OTHER PLAN the music teachers would advise them to take that path. Why? Because if they didn't have the internal strength to say "I really love music and I have to make this my life, I don't care what you say" then they probably didn't have the dedication to go through with it.

    A life of music, especially a professional performing musician is not easy and if you lack desire.... you will have an unhappy go of it.

    2.) Your prof may have been trying to light a fire under you to get things together faster. This would be good for you. If you are having trouble keeping your mind on the theory, I would suggest trying to find a practical application for anything that you learn in class. This will help you learn it faster, and you'll be getting from the theory class just what you need.... a way to use this knowledge.

    3.) This is a community college? There is a saying that goes like this, "Those that have abandoned their dreams will discourage yours". If you need more on this point, I shouldn't have said this much.

    4.) The music department at the Unversity of Michigan is respected world-wide. It is in your town. I assume the 'major university' you meantioned is UM. Get yourself out there to the music campus and get in some classes. Probably you won't have to be a music major to take the classes. If things go well, audition for the school and become a music major. If you need to have a tutor, there are lots of graduate students who know exactly what you need to know... and they probably need some money. Get some lessons. (yes, you can take private lessons in music theory).

    Set your goals. And one of them should be going to bed each night knowing that you're better at this stuff than when you got up in that morning.
  4. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    You're right...that is just one man's opinion. You probably don't play in a style he likes, or some stupid thing.

    I'm an auld lady playing rock...I hear "you can't, you won't, you shouldn't" all the time. If I paid any attention to it, I would never have the confidence to walk onto a stage. So...I pretend I am Mad TV's Vancomb Lady...


    Cherie :)
  5. Excellent advice!
  6. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    That sounds like advice from an old broken down musician, who didn't make it either. There's an old saying. Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Which do you suppose this guy is.
  7. ebe9


    Feb 26, 2006
    South Africa
    You can look at this one of two ways.

    You can accept this proffessors, in my view somewhat missguided, attempt to "break it too you gently, that according to him you "are not going to go anywhere in music"


    You can use this as a catalyst to push yourself to do better to feed off the negativism of his view and turn it into a positive force in your playing.

    While this might be the old "go prove them wrong" speech, it is valid in this case, so go do exactly that; Prove Him Wrong!
  8. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    If what comes from your fingers sounds like a dying cat in heat, take his advice. But if it doesn't, forget what he said (I assume that you're not a dead-cat kind of guy). My mother used to pull that same crap with me as a kid, and unfortunately, back then I believed it. Don't let ANYONE stand in the way of your dreams!

    What might be more practical advice is to also learn another trade or profession that ties into the music industry. That way, if you do ever need to "fall back" onto something else, you will still be involved with music.
  9. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    The way I take it is that if I really want something, stuff like what your professor told you just fuels me more.

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