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How to deal with being an Introvert

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ezmar, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    So I have ambitions of playing a LOT of rock music. I hope to start a band and do originals, tour, the whole shebang. I understand, of course, that I have to start on the bottom and work may way up, network, etc.

    This is a little bit of a problem for me, because I am extremely introverted. And I mean EXTREMELY. It's hard for me to take initiative, and go up to people looking for a group to play with. Hopefully I'll be starting one soon with some guys I know, but the problem is still there. I have a tendency to stick to where I'm not in anybody's way, which isn't a great way to get myself out there.

    Now part of dealing with this is just mind over matter, suck it up and do it, but a large part of it is just who I am as a person. I don't tend to make connections with people very quickly, so even in a band setting, I'd end up being quieter and more reserved. But in this band I'm starting up soon, I also will likely end up taking a Band leader role, depending on the other members I haven't met yet. Anyway, this is just kind of a rambling little post here, so if it's kind of a trivial question, I apologize. Just something I've been thinking of; How can I get involved in a serious band situation if I have an intrinsically non-forceful personality?

    I guess I'll see what plays out with this coming band, but it's just a college thing, and probably isn't liable to go anywhere major.

    Any thoughts, advice, etc. would be appreciated.

  2. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    From what you have told us, to me starting a band does not sound like a good idea.

    Joining a "just for fun" band seems like a better fit.

    Either way good luck.

  3. funkingroovin

    funkingroovin Conquering A-D-D,and all the other notes as well!

    Apr 19, 2009
    Not true,Blue..think of all the successful 'shoe-gazer' bands out there that started out the same way..
  4. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    I have a lot of thoughts on this, will write about a few I feel are most important.

    First, know that being introverted doesn't have to be a negative thing. It can work in one's favor if directed properly. Many introverts woodshed a whole lot more than people people who are busy socializing, so you've got a plus there. The world is full of incredibly successful performing introverts also. The 3 that come first to mind for me are John Deacon (bass for Queen), Sir Lawrence Oliver (one of the world's most respected actors), and Barbara Streisand.

    The thing about being introverted that I think is most beneficial is that if a stage scares the crap out of you, it will give you more to work with than the guy who feels totally comfortable. I learned a whole lot about this in college acting classes. If you make a friend out of your fear, you CAN learn to channel it into what people perceive as "presence" or... dang, can't think of the other word, but that glowing quality that some have and other don't. I've known lots of performers who get lost in a crowd, but then you throw them on a stage and you're astounded by the transformation. It's good stuff. :) But I'm not sure if this is the stuff you're talking about, seems you're more concerned about the leadership skills...

    As far as that goes, I think it comes only with experience and confidence. If you know what you're doing and have the skills, I believe the rest will come, regarding that. If you haven't the knowledge or skills, you might be best off as Blue suggested, getting into something just for fun, or where at least someone else can run the show till you've learned a bit.

    Last 2 important points I want to make are these. DO NOT as I'm certain some will suggest, use alcohol and/or drugs to boost your confidence. It, as far as I'm concerned, will be a guarantee for future problems. Big, bad, prolems. People who lean on mood altering chemicals of any sort to "fix" things wind up in trouble 99.9% of the time. And it seems to work wonderfully... for a while.

    Finally, though not for some, prayer works wonders in my life. And I'm not a holy roller type dude either. Don't believe in any particular religion for that matter, but that's a whole nuther thread worth of stuff.

    Did I mention that your OP reminded me much of myself 30 yrs ago?
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I know introverts who do pretty well in what seems like an extrovert's realm. In addition to musicians, I know pastors, salesmen, fundraisers, and business development folk who are introverted. But somehow, they manage to make it, and thrive in some cases. The one thing they seem to have in common is the love and belief in what they do.

    As far as being a bandleader, you will have some disadvantages being an introvert, especially in the networking department. You will probably have to do some more work, and come up with a "method" or "patter" to give you something when your natural personality doesn't give you something to work with. On the other hand, there are instances when being an introvert can work to your favor. IME, a lot of work done by a bandleader is done alone. Making calls, sending e-mails, developing websites, creating charts, updating social media, organizing rehearsals, touching up photos, mixing down recordings, preparing stageplots, programming lights, programming sequences, researching venues, maintaining equipment, writing up contracts, sending out press releases, designing artwork, etc... are all things you can do alone. If you find the right group of individuals, they may actually see you as an asset since you have the ability to do some of those things.

    Find a place to channel YOUR energy and YOUR personality, and it can work for you.
  6. MikeyB


    Aug 16, 2006
    Sykesville, MD
    +1 to Joe Nerve's response.

    Everything I was gonna say (right down to the 'hey, that's me 30 years ago!) but stated better. :)
  7. Levin S

    Levin S Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2007
    Charlotte N.C.
    I was once the very same way. I thought I would struggle with other musicians, yet I met MANY who were introverts as well. Music and playing in bands was huge for me socially, and there are very few people nowadays, that believe I was ever 'the quiet one' of the group. Most tell me I have a salesperson personality! Hahaha I'm sure most of coming into my own was just me growing up and maturing, but getting out into the music scene really helped my confidence.

    Being an introvert is NOT a bad thing at all. Personally, I really only needed an ice breaker with other musicians, and called on my many many hours of reading music gear magazines as a way to approach and start conversations.

    And as far as you believing you lack ambition, well, making a thread seeking help and advice is more ambitious and gutsy than a lot of people are :)

    Good luck friend!
  8. bmb73

    bmb73 Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2010
    San Diego

    Thanks for that.

    I'm 39 and have come to the realization within the past couple years that being introverted is not necessarily a bad thing. What you said really helped to drive that point forward.

    Sorry for the thread derail by the way....
  9. RonTheRon


    Dec 6, 2012
    I don't subscribe to threads usually. This one I am. Another introvert here in the same boat as the op, at least personality wise.
  10. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    I used to be extremely introverted. I am now at the point that I can walk up to anyone and start a conversation. It takes time, practice and maturity. However, even I have my limits. After 35 years of playing, I am still very nervous about singing and avoid it at all costs, even though people have told me that I do a good job with harmonies on lead when I have attempted it. I also prefer to play on a large stage in front of a lot of people where there is some distance between the stage and the audience rather than in a small club where the audience is only a couple of feet away. I get very uncomfortable when I feel that people are staring at me. My demeanor on stage is more similar to John Entwistle or John Deacon. I don't move around much.

    Funny thing though, I used to play a lot of ice hockey and competed in Pro-Am leagues and tournaments in the US in Canada. When I was playing, I was very vocal, outgoing and aggressive. Once I got off the ice, I was very quiet again.
  11. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Make sure your playing kills. Let it do the talking. Other than that, as long as you're a decent person, not weird or creepy or offensive (or a doormat), it shouldn't be a problem.
  12. Joebarnes


    Oct 4, 2011
    Surrey, BC
    I'm going to suggest joining your local Toastmaster's. They will help you improve your communication, public speaking and leadership. Its a great way to help learn skills to overcome introvertedness.

    Or, just get into sales. I was majorly introverted before I got into sales, now... much less so.
  13. I'm pretty introverted myself, I think in a very different way than most people, and sometimes have a hard time communicating/socializing with strangers, but let me say you this:

    Being on stage with people you know, is way better than standing in a crowd with mostly complete strangers doing strange stuff and I-don't-know-what. You just have to get a little used to it.

    That said, you're the bass player. You can hide a little bit behind the guitarists and the singer(s), maybe a bit behind the drum kit if you like. And, truth be told, I'm going to get raged because of this, you're the bass player, so not many people will really notice you. ;)

    I 'quit' guitar last year and started taking bass lessons because of my introvercy (that and because I like bass just a little bit more ;P). Not that I don't play guitar anymore, but I just want more stage experience before I start gigging with it again. I felt depressed after EVERY single gig we did. Now, not being the frontman anymore, I have no more issues with that. ;)

    Maybe in the near future, after gaining more confidence on stage, I might just start another band with me playing the guitar, with someone I know/trust.

    That's deal with joining/starting a first band, do it with someone you know pretty well. THEN let the strangers come into play.

    Take it easy, and go with your own tempo. But try and take a leap in the deep sometimes, too. You never know what you might find down there...

    Just some of my introverted cents. I hope I could help you with this little piece of my experience.

    If I funked up some of my English, please forgive this puny Dutch guy.
  14. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I used to be a total introvert until (this was in the '70s) our manager told me, "You have to get out there along with the other guys during breaks and stop by the tables and talk to the people who came to see you." I started by making the rounds with another band member. That's what eventually cracked the problem.

    I was talking to a lead singer a few weeks ago. She told me she was a huge introvert at one time. She said she got over it by doing karaoke -- not solo, but with a partner.

    Being scared WITH someone is the trick.

    Heh... Just remembered my old Yankee grandmother. Whenever I'd ask her for advice about doing something I was scared about, she'd say, "It won't kill you." Lots of wisdom in that statement.

    It eventually does go away. Today I'm just the opposite. I know almost half the employees at the big grocery store by name. It's gotten bad. I'll strike up conversations with people I've never met. It just "happens."

    Not sure if any of this is helpful in your situation.........
  15. JakeF


    Apr 3, 2012
    Your post really hits home for me.

    Putting together a new band right now(covers) and am about to become front person/singer for the first time at 33. Well, I was a natural introvert for a long time (no longer, I will explain further if necessary, it really is complicated.)

    Something to chew on though.

    As I have seen a great number of people change in my life I realize we all define things very differently. "Introvert" is a VERY loaded term, it has very different meanings to different people. So I ask you a question to help us, hopefully help you.

    OP : What does being an "introvert" mean to YOU?

    Follow-up : How does being an "introvert" make your musical goals difficult?

    This is definitely a big can-o-worms.
  16. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    I was going to multiquote when I got back to my computer, but there's way too much to quote now. I'll try to condense.

    Mainly, my apprehension is that I won't be bold enough to take opportunities or create them. I guess time will tell on that one, though.

    People have said a lot about being on stage; that's 100% no problem. On stage is where I belong, I've been told I have magical stage presence. I get literally no stage fright. So even though I'd also be the singer, that's not a problem. I'm more concerned with relationships within the band. I guess it's another "wait and see" sort of thing, but I can't help but wonder if I'll never be able to find a steady band, due to not "clicking" with the other people. But I suppose if I'm in a band with people I really get along with, I'll know.

    I do have a lot of chops, and I like to think I'm a very good player. But I also know that that alone won't be enough to make it. I do write music a lot, and I like to think I'm pretty good at that, too. It's just connecting with other musicians that's the trouble. It doesn't help that the area I live isn't exactly a rock music hotspot. I'm thinking of moving to CA or somewhere after college, since I honestly don't think the chances of exploding out of here are too good.

    Most of this is just my response to knowing that no matter how well I play, or how much I want it, it's not going to fall into my lap. I know there's stuff I'll have to do, and some of that is stuff I'm not good at. So... yeah.

    Thanks for the advice, it's greatly appreciated! Once this next band gets going I'll try to post some footage.
  17. iiipopes


    May 4, 2009
    I am probably the ultimate introvert. My Myers-Briggs classification is INTJ, and not only that, but on each of the batteries of ten questions that determine personality traits, I scored 9-1 or 10-0 in each category (I or E, N or S, T or F, J or P). So I am an introvert among introverts.

    Playing bass in a band is the best thing you can do. It gets you out in front of people. You learn to express yourself. You learn proper social interaction. You learn better how to get along: with the rest of the folks in the band, with the crowd in the bar, with people in general. But it's all in a relatively buffered position (one step back with the drummer) compared to a lead singer or lead guitar player. Plus there is the confidence that if you and the drummer lock well, you two make the rest of the band sound the best it can. That is satisfaction at its best.

    Introversion is a gift that can take everything in and process it to the good and measured interaction, rather than being off-the-cuff. The one down side is that those who do not know you can think you are aloof or conceited. That's what making friends with the drummer (or another close band member who is better at reading social cues) can do: help you express yourself socially so that does not become an issue.

    GO FOR IT!!! It is the best thing you can do. Make really good friends with the drummer (or one other band member who "gets it"), gain confidential trust, and if you're not sure of something, at break you two can talk about it.
  18. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I love it when people are staring at me.

  19. godofthunder59

    godofthunder59 God of Thunder and Rock and Roll Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2006
    Rochester NY USA
    Endorsing Cataldo Basses, Whirlwind products, Thunderbucker pickups
    When I was young I was very shy and introverted, I had to work to overcome it. By the time I was in my late teens I had pretty much determined that I didn't care what people thought of me and that gave me the confidence to be myself. This did not happen over night. These days I am very at home onstage be it in front of 100 or 4,000. I still can't public speak to save my life but strap a bass on me and and I am the king of the world. Become proficient at your instrument and the confidence will follow.
  20. Ezmar


    Jul 8, 2010
    Like I mentioned above, it's not a confidence thing, it's more a networking thing. It doesn't matter how good I am onstage if I can't get a band and an audience.