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playing with a band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by peaveyuser, Nov 28, 2006.

  1. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    I ended up joining my first band two months ago with an extremely good guitarist and a great drummer. These guys are for sure at a better level than me when playing their instruments they've been in bands before. They are also in a jazz band together where there's a trumpet player and the guitarist plays piano. So far we've only been able to get about 4 practices in because the guitarist is so busy with personal things. When we do have practice though i'm kind of lost since i never played in a band before although i want to get better. Usually at the end of a practice they decide on songs to do and tell me to learn. So i end up spending time learning the song at home. Now when i come to practice they decide to play a bunch of different songs that i don't know (they listen to different music then me) and say that i should know all this music because that's what they want to do even when i learned the song that they told me to do the practice before and when they finally do play the song that i practiced the guitarist isn't satisfied the way i play it even though it's the way the actual band plays it and that i spent time trying to learn it. I don't like the music that they play much but i still play it because this is my first band and there is really no other option so i stick with it. Now when they try to make their own instrumental song i'm kind of lost on what to do because of course i haven't played together with people yet and i can't come up with a riff right on the spot.

    Now here's where i started getting pissed i was with the drummer and guitarist one day and the drummer started going on about what we're going to do on stage, so then i said "what stage we never get any practices in we need to practice". So now the guitarist starts acting like a total dick and says how i have to practice and get better and how they know they're instruments and know how to play and if i'm not enthusiastic about the band and how maybe they should get another more experienced bassist they know. Then i come up with saying that i've never been in a band before and that i need to practice with band to get better at playing in a band, so now he comes up with the excuse that the trumpet player in their jazz band was never in a band and she went naturally with them even though she wasn't self taught on trumpet and she also plays violin in a orchestra.

    So what should i do? Should i quit and struggle to try to find a new less experienced band that i'm in the same level with or should i stick with this band?
    And if i do stick with this band is there anything that can help me get better playing in a band that i can do by myself so when i do practice with them i'm in a better position for playing with them?
  2. To me, it sounds like these guys are not willing to work with you. Also, it sounds kinda fishy when they tell you to work on certain songs in between practices and won't play them at the next practice. I'm not one to give advice but I think you would be better off in a band closer to your caliber of playing. I think you would learn more at an even pace with the others and have alot more fun while improving at the same time. Good luck :bassist:
  3. buliwyfff


    Oct 13, 2006
    sound like jerks, I'd start looking for another band but stay with them until you've found one you're happy with.
  4. Your in the best situation you can be. you are being challenged. Don't quit the band. Don't sweat the small stuff. Play the root notes and outline the chords. Nothing fancy. You will do fine. If they want something else they will let you know.
  5. Jeb


    Jul 22, 2001
    I'm with steve66 on this one. To be in a band with people who are better than you is a great opportunity to improve your ability. Brush aside the frustration and meet the challenge. Contribute what you can and learn everything you can from these guys. Musicians can be a strange bunch, no one is just like you and though you seem a little flustered with it all, the weakest link in a band is a great place to see improvement in your playing if you push yourself to meet their expectations.

    But you have to want to do that. Me? I love being in that position.
  6. Tell them you want to play the songs how they were recorded. Is they don't want to, I would get a different band that plays music you enjoy more
  7. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    well after only hearing your side of the story they do sound a little jerky.

    but as a few mentioned above this is a great learning situation for you. it will be challenging and will make you a better player in the end. it will also give you experience jumping in with a band and preforming.

    i just got thrown into a situation with a reggae dub band where they lost their bassist a few weeks ago and they have 6 big gigs next month. i love reggae but have about zero experience playing it. yeah it's going to be hairly learning all the new material but it'g going to be great experience and it will get me hip to some reggae chops.
  8. Scottgun


    Jan 24, 2004
    South Carolina
    As Roger said, something is fishy. Sounds like your typical corporate cowardice--no one has the stones to actually fire you, but rather make it misreable enough that you get frustrated and quit.

    As alternative to either firing/quiting, is there anyone in the band friendly or at least sympathetic to you? Is it possible it is only one or two memeber's that have a problem with you? Can you get someone on your side?
  9. SnoMan

    SnoMan Words Words Words

    Jan 27, 2001
    Charleston, WV
    That sucks, I'd be pissed.

    However, as some of the guys here have said, it actually may do you a lot of good to just look on the bright side.

    Think of all the songs and styles you're becoming familiar with that you otherwise may not.

    It sounds like these guys may be complete jerks and not be worth your time, but it may end up being worth your time even if they are jerks. You'll have to come to your conclusion using your knowledge of the situation and how you prefer to handle things.

    Good luck and no matter what don't let them discourage you from playing.
  10. Dkerwood


    Aug 5, 2005
    Play on, brother! Learn, learn, learn. Coming from a guy who's been consistently the best player in the band for a while, I miss the days when I got to be the "new guy" who got to learn more in one rehearsal than I could in a week of self practice. I was in a jazz combo for a while with some MONSTER players... that was an excellent opportunity for me to grow. Now I tend to help less experienced players by playing with them and giving advice.

    That having been said, if you're miserable, get out. I've seen too many people quit music altogether because they've been pushed beyond what they're willing to do. It's not worth working your butt off if it will just push you to hate playing.

    Good luck.
  11. Bassman7PM


    Mar 13, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Your situation reminds me of a time when I was called to play for a band where both the keyboardist and Lead vocalist both had Masters degrees in Music theory and composition. They were cool but to me quite intimidating. The charts they wrote were original and looked like Egyptian hieroglyphic. Needless to say, my reading was nowhere on par with them at all. But I struggled through it and became their 1st call bassist for both live gigs and studio. Point being, stay there, learn all you can from your current bandmates, continue working on the songs they give you because it will help you build your own repertoire for future use.

    Whatever doesn't kill you will only strenghten you.
  12. I personally think that the fact that they're having you learn songs and then not following through with them is inexcusable. Give them one more chance...sit down with them, and talk frankly about your situation. Tell them that you're frustrated, and why. Tell them that if they tell you to learn a song, and you do, you expect that you'll all be working at it at the next practice. If they can't even agree to that, take your bass and join a group of musicians that will actually show you some respect.
  13. peaveyuser

    peaveyuser Banned

    Oct 18, 2006
    the thing is that it's only me the guitarist and drummer, and the drummer might be a bit more sympathetic, he's at least willing to practice once a week. This was the first time i actually saw the guitarist act like a bit of a dick though, i knew him before and he was the one who introduced me to the drummer. What i think i'm going to though is try to find another band without quiting this one and also have a talk to the drummer about the band.
  14. BassChuck

    BassChuck Supporting Member

    Nov 15, 2005
    Being a trumpet player in a band is different than being a bass player in a band, (I've done both) so the fact that the girl in the other group can handle something is apples and oranges.

    If they are interested in keeping you in the band they should work with you and probably they don't need to do more than just rehearse the songs they asked you to learn.
  15. Try and push yourself as hard as you can without burning out / gettting frustrated to the point of giving up. If their both unable to try to be more accomadating after you've talked to them about it, it probably will be worth finding a new band.

    Otherwise, i agree with what looks like most people that playing with anyone better than you will help you improve a great deal.

    I'm sure your doing this already but spend time learning songs (you enjoy + in different styles) purely by ear, learn each of the 7 modes, till there all second nature and do the same with the chromatic scale, a good ear for the overall structure of a song is invaluable. Also, if you can get your ear strong enough, you could even jam along with the songs you don't know.

    Even if the band doesn't work out you'll be a lot better than you were before you joined
    Good luck :)
  16. I was in the exact same situation regarding learning songs and having the band suddenly play other songs I did not know I needed to know... My problem was that this band never rehearsed together. The only time we played together was live, on stage at a gig. If I didn't know a song, I hung on for dear life, made a note of the song and made sure I knew it next show.

    But I also demanded that they give me a complete list of the songs they do or might do. Then I got recordings of all of these songs and began learning them all. I went through every one and "charted it out" (made "cheat sheets" I could use at gigs) - The first few months of gigs were hairy - but pretty soon, I was the one who knew all the songs and I knew them better then the rest of the band. Pretty soon it was me laughing at the founders for blowing the chorus or missing that last bridge. The I even demanded we freshen the list with some new material and the tables were suddenly turned. Our illustrious leader, who was so quick to climb my case when I blew a part of a song was now reminded what it was like to be the one guy who didn't learn his part or forgot it because the song was not one he has been playing since Hector was a pup. Vindication was mine - and can be yours - but you gotta work for it.

    Fair is fair. They should be able to give you a list of the songs they play or plan to play. You should be able to learn them. If the chemistry is bad - find a new gig. If you aren't getting what you need from this you can find a new gig. If they are just keeping you around to make themselves feel superior then that is tacky, but it is still up to you to make your choice.
  17. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI

    As always tZer, very well put.

    By all means demand a list of the song in their current set list, as well as potential throw ins. Then sit down and learn them all and take notes. I live on my notes because of so much material to know with three bands.

    Even if they don't rehearse, if you learn them all on your own, when it comes time to play them, you may very well be ahead of them.

    I find that most musicians that behave like they seem to be behaving tend to rest on their laurels and don't practice the "same old" material on their own much. If you do, you could surpass them.

    I know that even in my own band where I had to learn 60 songs in a short period of time, while at first I was just keeping up, eventually I was the one pointing out how they were playing parts wrong and we actually improved as a band becuase I was the one providing the corrections.

    Just go with it and work your butt off. If nothing else, you will at least become a better musician for it.
  18. TY, Sundogue:

    Another exercise in "ZEN and your part in the band" is to detatch emotionally from what others say. If you do not allow their comments or attitudes to bring you down then you will be that much more ahead of the game. Arguing is useless and anger is a sign of weakness.

    If they are simply stating that you missed a part or made a mistake and you did, agree and move on and plan not to make that mistake again.

    If they are trying to piss you off, don't let em. Pretty soon they will tire of when they realize you don't react to them.

    You can't control them or how they deliver criticism. You CAN control how you react to it. Make it your default reaction to smile, say, "That is a good point, I will try to remember that." and quietly prepare to keep moving. If you need to let off steam, do it by NAILING YOUR PARTS TO THE WALL and leaving them with nothing to say but, "Dude, good show!".

    And if they still don't let up on you, smile politely, turn your back to them, shoot 'em a nice moon and move on to the next band. By that time you will be a valuable commodity to any band and any band worth playing for would be glad to have you.
  19. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    That...is invaluable wisdom for life in general.
  20. Spoiled Grape

    Spoiled Grape I <3 Darkstar

    May 29, 2003
    Riverside, CA
    Practice, practice, practice. You will only come out of this a better player and more experienced person.

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