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Playing in a band with more skillful musicians..

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by michellebassuk, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. michellebassuk


    Mar 10, 2014
    Hi, I just joined a band and I literally had one of the members tell me that even though I'm not on par with their skill, they do think I have the potential to get really good and want me in the band. To be honest, this did plummet my self esteem just a bit... How do you go about being a less "skillful'' musician in a band without feeling like a nugget. :(
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    By listening and learning from those who know more than you, then applying what they teach you. Can't say you won't get offended along the way, but if you're not at their level yet, it's always best to hear them out. They obviously think you'll work out for the band, and skills can be acquired and likely will be acquired. It'll mean work on your behalf, but if you're into playing in bands, you'll do it. I'd be way more bummed if they told me they didn't have much hope for me.
  3. You probably won't learn much from people less experienced than yourself. Stick it out
  4. You know what? There will always be better musicians out there. I have no qualms about the fact that I play with musicians who are more skilled at their instrument than I am. It doesn't matter. It inspires me to be a better musician, practice more... For sure. What I can tell you is I show up on time, I know my parts inside out, I don't play in between songs and I stay super tight with the drummer. Everyone loves players like that.
  5. ahc


    Jul 31, 2009
    No. Virginia
    One of the best things you can do. You'll learn a lot working with folks who've got a little more "cheese" on 'em. I consider myself fortunate to have been in that situation as I was coming up and learning the ropes.
  6. Thumpinthenight


    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    Consider yourself lucky, to have better musicians to learn from. The fact that they see your potential and would like to work with you to be a better musician and altogether band, is something that few get to experience. I've been there myself and can remember the days of frustration with the constant "comments and suggestions". Overall I've had many people give me nice kudos as a player. Important - as long as the criticism is in a positive direction, and done in a professional manor, not constantly hacking one down, you will become a better musician. Keep your ears open, and your head high. ;)
  7. pasmithy


    Jul 7, 2011
    SE PA
    Work harder and make the best use of your new found resources (bandmates).
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY

    You're looking at this all wrong. If you really like these guys, and you really respect their musicianship, then you should rejoice in your good fortune - for now you have the opportunity to improve your skills dramatically, with a substantial amount of intensive, ongoing playing experience, which probably will include lots of real-time feedback. It's a marvellous learning opportunity, it really is.

    Not only that, but instead of focusing upon the feeling of being inadequate, or even the notion that they've disrespected your existing skills, you should realize that they've actually just paid you a great compliment, by expressing confidence in your potential to grow and to become a great player. Not many pro musicians are willing to invest the time and energy necessary to help develop a less-skilled or less-experienced player - believe me. Instead of putting your pride front and center, you should take some (undoubtedly well-deserved) satisfaction in that knowledge.

    If it turns out that they've somehow underestimated you, that will become obvious to all very shortly. In which case, you will have the opportunity to prove them wrong. And if they're stand-up guys in any sense, you'll earn major points from them for being cool enough to not get offended, and to simply let your playing do the talking for you.

    It's all good. Go forth - and shed. Enjoy!

  9. Congratulations, you're in a good place. This is what happened to me in my first band. It was a great learning opportunity, like getting free music lessons. Leave your ego on the back burner and learn what you can.
  10. One of the most valuable lessons you can learn is to separate criticism of what you're playing from yourself as a player. If they're saying "We're not keen on what you're playing, but we think you have potential", that translates to "We think you're not playing what you're capable of", which should be a huge boost to your self-esteem. Every great musician you've ever heard of has at one time or another played beneath their ability. And they've had a fellow band member, or producer, or song-writing partner, or just a friend prod them into doing a better job. It's because they are great musicians that they don't take the comments to heart, but probably shrug and say, "Yeah, you're right", then go on to blow everyone away.

    And conversely, when you critique the music, criticize the part, not the player.
  11. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Wise words...

  12. A lot of very good advice from some very experienced players here. I've been doing this for a long time, and I still love being in that position with monster players. You can always learn...
  13. Jeff Elkins

    Jeff Elkins Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2007
    East Tennessee
    +1 to all of the above. I empathize with your feelings--no one wants to be told they're "good... enough."
    Three years ago, I had no real chops and sang out of tune, but better players saw potential (I had a positive attitude and a good ear), and it didn't take long before they brought me up many levels. I'd do it all over again. Love playing with musicians better than me WAY more than the alternative, though I find joy in giving back by jamming with less experienced players.
    If everything else feels good, hang in there!
  14. ziggy2010


    Aug 4, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    What a great opportunity! You can only learn from people who are more knowledgeable or skilled than you, no matter what the subject. And they're going to give you this for free.
  15. karl_em_all


    Jul 11, 2013
    Dimension X
    That to me is an ideal situation to motivate you to be a better player.
  16. Jackpot! One of the guys recognized your potential and wants you to work with them! A lot better than nothing being said while you're getting sidewise looks because you're not on the same level. I'm working with a guitarist now who played bass and is a good musician. He'll offer tips now and then that I really work at being open minded to and learning from instead of going into over driven ego default mode. Anytime I can gain humility in or out of music it's a good thing.
  17. I actually find this to be the ideal situation for me. Esp. if the other folks are understanding and helpful about developing your skills. Being pushed a little is the best way to improve IME, which is harder if you're the best player in the group.
  18. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    Like most have said: Playing with others that are better than you helps you to get better faster.
    I've always looked for musicians who I thought were better than me.
    Sounds like a good situation for you.
  19. tbz


    Jun 28, 2013
    In my formative years I almost always played with better musicians, it really helped me get ahead with my chops.

    Main thing to remember is to keep an open mind, and to LISTEN as best as possible. Pay attention to what those guys do, pick up the good habits, ignore the bad ones.

    IMO the best training you can get as a bassist is to play with a drummer that is "better" than you, I know I was lucky enough to play with a few and they all dramatically influenced my playing.
  20. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    +1 to all of the above. It's nearly always better to play with (and learn from) better musicians -- particularly since it sounds like they're interested in helping you improve.