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The problem with music lessons and music knowledge

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Mike Money, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    For me, it has become a curse. Knowing what the hell I am talking about in terms of music has been a gigantic pain in the ass.

    It has allowed me to do most of my performing in jazz and concert bands at school... So I'm used to a certain level of musicianship.

    I responded to a bass player wanted ad for a metal band. The guy sounded a bit older than me on the phone, maybe 19, so I assumed there would be a level of reliability with these dudes... I go to the guys house yesterday, and for some odd reason, he has a basement. This is California. We dont have basements... so I get to drag 2 barse and my 94lb TNT down there... 5 minutes later, they tell me the drummer can't show...

    Great. Not only are they completely under equipped (One guy was playing through a ibanez amp, maybe 10 watts, and the other was playing through a fender equivalent.) , they are unreliable.

    I'm used to guitarists laughing at my amp and drowning me out.... but these 2 were standing there in awe...

    I give them the benefit of the doubt, and hang around for about an hour. They can definitely play... to the extent they can mimic metallical and randy rhoades. As for stuff they came up with on their own, lame. It was a lot of "Ok, it starts uh... 1-2-3-4-5-6 on the 7th fret of this string and then it...."

    The house is really cool with the basement and all. It has a bar, a pool table, a tv, a ps2, and a crapper down there... so that was all good.

    Am I expecting too much out of people? Am I not going to find a band of people my age that know what the hell is going on, and can look me straight in the face and tell me the chord progressions? I'm not even binding myself to a particular style of music in looking for a band. I've reached a desperate stage... all I want is to play music... metal, country, hip-hop, whatever, I'll play it.

    I think if I was one of those "ok, 8th fret on the top string" kinda guys, i'd be fine and would maybe even be out playing shows with friends. But here I am, playing bass for 5 years, and I havent performed outside of a school setting because I get frustrated with people who lack the musicianship to tell me what they are doing.

    /end rant
  2. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    you must un-learn, what you have learned.


    do or do not, there is no try

    and because I'm feeling fine

    you should double your efforts
  3. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS

    I wouldn't waste my time with those guys. No gear, no relative knowledge of their instrument, no thanks.

    I put up a flier a while ago and this guy calls me back and decide to get together and jam. Despite the fact that the dude was a good guy, he was an absolutely horrible guitar player with crappy gear (i.e not gig worthy). All he knew was drop D power chords (the shape, not the name of the chords he was playing) that he would pound out with no finesse. I never called him back.
  4. BruceWane


    Oct 31, 2002
    Houston, TX
    Especially in popular music (aka rock, country, dance, etc.) a lot of people play by ear and never learn to read music. I'd never dismiss someones musicianship based on how well they can verbally communicate their musical ideas. It can be a problem if you've learned to play by sheet music and haven't done much playing by ear. I know for me, playing by ear and playing by charts of any form are totally different. A lot of classical players cannot play by ear or improvise at all - they have to have sheet music.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that the vast majority of players you're going to meet outside of an orchestra pit are not going to be able to tell you much more than "this one starts in A, the chorus goes to D then E". A lot of people will just play it for you and you're expected to pick it up by ear. Nothing wrong with that. It's all music. Just different methods. While it is useful to be able to communicate musical ideas verbally, even for people who are musically educated it is often easier and more effective to just play it. I wouldn't be too much of a snob about formal music education - you could miss out on playing with some amazing musicians.
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Geez, must be nice.
    Reliability in a 19-year old? Outta the mouth of babes!
    FME, reliability is either there or it's not. Wait 'til you're up around my age...20s, 30s, & now 40s. People are generally unreliable & will disappoint you! ;)

    Nice story, it made me chuckle; glad I'm not the only one.
    How's this-
    One time, some 'reliable' guy sets up a jam/audition for me.
    I show up, ON TIME...& no one shows! Like a dumb ass, I sat around in my car for about an hour. I make calls, nuthin!

    Another time(& I still, to this day, have not figured this one out)-
    A friend I played with in high school wants to start an '80s modern Rock band; in our high school garage band, I replaced him & he went to guitar. No problem, he was actually a guitarist first.
    Anyway, we have a couple of rehearsals...IMO, we're om our way.
    Then, one Sunday, I show up at the Storage facility for practice...no one shows. I make numerous calls & wait & wait. Nuthin, I get home & call. Nuthin.
    I never hear from the guy. No **** you...nuthin!

    The only thing I can figure was this-
    I unknowlingly replaced him as the bassist in an early '80s Top-40 dance.
    He looked totally different & everybody called him "Duke"(that was not a name I knew him by). After I'm entrenched in that band, another friend told me, "Man, you stole Mark's gig".
    "I did"?

    Maybe it was payback? Maybe he'll show up at our HS 30-year reunion...I'm dying to ask!
  6. Yeah dude I agree you must adapt to whatever situation that comes to you ( read , ear whatever ) even if you say by them not knowing the music lingo it will be good to use your ears and just follow by listening to what they play .
    Remember many people hate attidudes or ego's ( not saying you have ) but if you do just keep it to yourself and do what's required then you should have no problems.
    I mean I've been in bands that know jack about the music lingo although I wanted to tell them all I know about the right names of notes on what they're trying to teach me I realised that if I was in their shoes they will probably think I am a know-it-all and come across them as a prick.
    If you let the music do the talking then you will have no hassles.
  7. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan

    I spent the first 3 years doing the fret counting and telling people the root notes... I can do it, but I think I've been spoiled by being able to shout out "Alright, Bb 12 bar blues..." "alrighty, how long for each solo?" "meh... 24." "k"

    Then we play.
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Mike, I know your frustration of going to an audition or jam and the musicians there have "toy" amps and gear. That happened to me so much in the past when I was just starting out.

    But I will say this. One of the best guitarists I ever worked with could not name the note on any fret of his guitar. He knew nothing of keys or chords other than how to form them with his fingers. He knew nothing about standard chord progressions or twelve bar blues or any other useful information that made communication possible. He certainly didn't read music or chord charts.

    But he wrote fabulous heavy metal music, was bound and determined to succeed, ruled with a heavy fist the band that played his original music and had a definite, clear vision of where he wanted to go and achieve. I never knew a better guitarist personally or a more gifted song writer for that style.

    My point is, don't give up immediately just because a musician may not speak the language of music with the fluency you do.

    I do think, though, from my own experience, if the group has not invested in "serious" instruments and stage gear, they are not prepared to play gigs and have not made a serious comittment to their craft. Such musicians may not be ready for you to commit your time and effort to them.
  9. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    ill add my input.

    you still have much to learn of the living force. concentrate on the here and now, but not at the expense of the moment.

    ...or so says qui-gon jinn
  10. buddahbass


    Dec 22, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    relax, your young, things will come, just go with whatever feels right.
  11. reminds me of a dude i was hanging out with just an hour or so ago. this guy basically knows how to play his instrument, needs a little help with finding notes at times, and is somewhat dumb; a typical idiot. but tonight i've been intrigued, because after a couple hours of just being ourselves and being dumb, we were practically on the same page to the point where i was hearing "i think i should take lessons" and "what's that thing called? i should get one, it's really helping me stay on top" (my response, "its a metronome, put in the beats per minute also known as the tempo, and work with it. it makes you solid in your playing")
    and it was the best experience i've had of just playing with another good like minded artist in about 2 years (perhaps cuz my town has almost no good ones?). the kid knew how to play, what to play, and i could almost didn't have to dictate what to play till we found the lines of what we were both interested in, but overall: this is the same kid that kicked me out of my older band (when i was an @$$hole that recovered) that i still have a connection with.
    anyways, i say if these guys are willing to work and build up chops and sound pretty good playing together, then put up with it, loan em some money for ebay if they get better, and things will be good.
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Hmmm...we're talking about Mike Money here......

    Nah, I just can't get my head round this concept!! :meh:
  13. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    Also look up recording studios. While you're being frustrated, you might as well make a few bucks doing bass tracks.

    Also, you might consider joining the Union; might be some studio gigs you could sink your teeth into.

    There might be a problem if you play with non Union guys like for a metal band or something, so think that one out. On the other hand, if you're good (which you seem to be) you might get more gigs than you can handle.

    Just a thought.
  14. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    Stick with your 1st impression. I've found that they are usually correct.
  15. Ding!

    Bail on those guys. Keep looking. It will take a while and be frustrating, but you'll eventually find others at your level. The drummer and the singer are the hardest IMO.