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#5050 by musicmaker2b
Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:01 pm
I'm just curious to see how good musicians think they are versus how good they actually are. If you've ever watched any American Idol you'll see a lot of singers that think they are good but aren't even close. Has anyone shown up to audition for a band and been laughed out of the room? Or have you auditioned someone that said they were good and find out they could barely play? Any stories from anyone? I also think it would be interesting if musicians would reply to this and say what instrument they play, what level they think they play at (ex. beginner, intermediate, advanced, virtuoso, etc.) and then briefly give a few examples of what they can do musically, like music theory or anything that would show other musicians what you know.

#5055 by Blind Witchery
Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:58 am
There was this one kid. I was trying him out to see if he was a good enough guitarist for my band a few years back. I was into Black/Death metal, this kid was into Pop/rock stuff. He was horrible. He never had lessons, just picked up a guitar and play. I never had a lesson either, I did the same, but I looked up scales and an ex guitarist taught me some scales when I was with his band (mainly power metal/thrash stuff).

I was looking for someone good, the kid could palm mute real good, that was it. I would do a few simple riffs to for him to try out to see if he can handle it, he couldnt.

He later said that he's been playing guitar for a year.

good setup though, BC Rich Nronze Warlock (crappy tuners but good sound overall), Digitech Metal Master (which a pedal Im not much into, but this kid all ALL THE KNOBS TURNED RIGHT), he did have a small 10watt Fender amp then later upgraded to a Crate 2x12.

I was the same like the kid, I always thought I was good not the best. I only say that becuase I learned by myself and my brother taught me in the very begining. I worked my way up. I know scales and chords, but dont know what the names are.


I think theres a time in peoples lives, when they pick up an instrument, they find out they can play it, but then they think theyre REAL good. They think theyre so good that they try out for bands. Some bands know what theyre doing, playing for years and years, they know what sound theyre after. But when they see the kid who can play but dont know what hes doing, the band dont want him, the kid wants to be in the band, REALlY annoying.

#5065 by AustinTatious
Tue Feb 20, 2007 5:53 pm
Guitar - worse than I think I am
Bass - better than I think I am
drums - ahh hell I know I suck! haha
singing - worse than I think I am

but, who's ever let their self-opinion stop them before? hahaha!
#5079 by Jacquee Rae
Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:09 am
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to try out for any bands, so I can't tell you what they thought about me, but I can tell you that I am my worst critic. That being said, I have always felt that I was a good vocalist, but not a great one. I have been told by Strangers -key word there lol- that I am better than I think I am and "you should try out for American Idol, I would vote for you, the people on there don't have the talent that you have" . These men may have just been trying to get in my pants, some a little older... just keepin it real LOL... but between my other "fans" and my father, they have pushed me enough to give it a go. ONE OF MY BIGGEST FEARS since I love watching American Idol is that I would be one of those poor misguided souls.
I guess time will tell.

#5083 by rdk-keyboardist
Wed Feb 21, 2007 3:44 pm
I think this is a great forum where musicians can openly talk about what they think and bothers them, in many respects.

To add my thoughts to this subject, I am always shocked that a lot of musicians, especially guitarists, don't know anything about the names of the chords they are playing. That's like speaking a language (be it English, German, or Spanish), and not knowing what words you are speaking!!! I'm not saying that it can't be done, because, obviously, many guitarists can play and play very well. Of course, I'm always shocked when a drummer doesn't know if his drums are in tune, or that he can tune them to a certain pitch. I'm also shocked when guitarists don't know anything about chord inversions. Am I making any sense here? Well, if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you might try some theory lessons, as this is BASIC theory that I'm talking about. Know the names of the strings on your guitar or keys on your keyboard, or bass strings, or whatever instrument you play. Now, if you just play by yourself, well, that's up to you, and you can be content in that. But, if you play with other musicians, learn the language of music!

I'm a keyboardist and I would be completely lost if I didn't know what key I was playing in or what chords were the dominant chords in the key of C or F or G. I, too, have played with guitarists who didn't know the names of the chords they were playing, and basically, it was a language barrier that we both had to contend with.

Now, to comment about auditioning guitarists or other musicians who said they were pro or had tons of experience. Yes, I have been in that position where the band I was in was looking for a classic rock guitarist, and bass player, and 5 or 6 guys showed up, claiming they had 25 years of experience, and it looked like they had just picked up their instruments 2 weeks before the audition. It was a total waste of the band's time, and embarassing for them. What was even worse, all the guys who were auditioning, had CDs of the songs our band was doing, so they had time to practice the stuff BEFORE the audition.

I've been playing music as a profession now for several years, and I'm always a little bit apprehensive when playing when new guys. It's only natural. That's why I like to try "open mic" gigs because it's always a good way to break the ice with other musicians.

Also, I don't like to start in new bands that are just getting started, because not only do you have to get through the music, but you have to deal with personality conflicts, which may break the band right off the bat. I like to find well-established bands who have together for some time as they usually have all the personality quirks worked out by the time a new musician joins. However, and what everbody must keep in mind: "It's the music what counts!" Not egos, not flashy solos, not who has the most equipment, or who can get the drunkest on stage. It's always the music the counts most.

But to get back to the theory thing, every musician must know a little theory. It just makes it so much easier to converse and work with another musicians that DO know theory. Also, it makes for easier song writing, too. Why? Because you won't have to experiment of what goes where when you are composing a piece of music, especially instrumental music. You know what chords are allowed in a certain key, and how to change keys without it being so obvious. By all means, learn the names of the chords you are playing. If you don't know what a motif is, or a crescendo, or what rubato means, or what dynamics are, then it might be wise to take a Music Appreciation class and find out what you are missing. It doesn't matter if you know how many sonatas Beethoven wrote, or where Bach was born, but it does matter what key you are playing a piece in, and the structure of the song you want to arrange.

#5084 by rdk-keyboardist
Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:04 pm
I see that "American Idol" has been mentioned several times in posts around here. Let me give you my thoughts on this.

American Idol is one of those "flukes, advertising schemes, TV sensatonalism" that, in my opinion, really gives the wrong impression for musicians all over the USA, or the world, for that matter. It's like everybody's chance at the lottery, and it draws everybody out of the woodwork. I will admit that the people who are chosen, probably deserve all the credit, and have probably worked very hard to get where they were. On the other hand, every musician that does music for a living, knows how hard making/playing music really is. I hate to use her as an example, but look at Britney Spears. True, she may not have ever picked up a piece of gear in her life, or moved a monitor speaker, but she has been performing (crowd exposure) ever since she was very little. That, guys, and gals, is known as EXPERIENCE! Paying your dues, woodshedding, or whatever have you. I have known several people in my lifetime who have "The Gift". That raw ability to get up in front of a crowd or judges, and sing, play, or perform night after night or sing on "American Idol". It's like the Miss America Pagent. Frankly, I would rather be on the Letterman show, and play/talk with Paul Shaffer, but that's just my goal.

But, don't get caught up in the American Idol hype, because that is all it really is. If you really think you are good enough for American Idol, then go for it, but don't be disappointed if it's not what it appears to be!

#5087 by J_J
Wed Feb 21, 2007 5:00 pm
i picked up the guitar when i was 12. i'm now 32. i'm not one of those people that can sit down by myself and practice for 3 or 4 hours at a time. never have been. i am mostly self taught and have been gigging in bands for years. i've seen plenty of other bands in bars and what not, some with really good musicians, some stink up the room. i know some basic theory, but i can't always tell you exactly what i'm doing, although if you tell me what key you're in then i'm good. i know my relative minors and circle of fifths and basic stuff like that. i see a lot of people playing their asses off pouring everything they have in their souls into what they're doing. and then i've seen guys playing really fast, what i call technical players. to me that's something that anyone who practices enough can do, not that i'm knocking it because by all means i cannot play like that. but to really get some feeling into what you're doing and have your emotions interpreted through your music, well that's just special. i'd rather listen to slash than via any day. this, of course, is only my poinion.

so where am i going with this? it's hard to say how "good" someone is. you may have dude no. 1 here that can mimic anything he hears but with no originality. in a cover band he or she would work pretty well but it's always going to be a carbon copy of the cd.

#5094 by Irminsul
Wed Feb 21, 2007 9:24 pm
I suck.

#5095 by Jacquee Rae
Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:22 pm
JJ I agree with you! One's interpretation of the music and one's ability really is subjective. Which is probably why there are so many different genre's of music out there. But the Million dollar question was how do well do YOU think you are. :)

And Irminsul you are so freakin funny!

#5096 by The KIDD
Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:06 am
Hey Gang,

Yeah , as Sassy says verly subjective subject.. :roll: .Geez, I can remember a gig in San Angelo TX, where I got up and played guitar on a few and people were ravin about how much better guitar player I was than Mike ...Mike was a jazz master,theory major,etc..No way in reality could I even carry this guys case :cry: .I was playin easy stuff Id played for years and could put alot of emotion into it...I fooled them , but did I fool myself?Am I really that good and dont know it?...Was Mike not THAT good that night and I just happened to be better?......See what I mean.... :lol: ...We all have different criteria we use to size up each musician with ourselves and the ones we admire...When I was MUCH younger ,I had a very narrow view and used to lump everyone together and judge ....Now looking back over the years,Ive learned I must keep re-inventing myself,change with the times,keep progressing,and refining what I already know...I realize now there are many different categories for judging and most of the time ,no two people agree on all the categories in judging one musician...SO,............Im done :lol:
All I know is ,I wanna be better tomorrow....

John in WV.

#5118 by BassPlay3r
Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:52 pm
rdk-keyboardist wrote:I
I'm a keyboardist and I would be completely lost if I didn't know what key I was playing in or what chords were the dominant chords in the key of C or F or G. I, too, have played with guitarists who didn't know the names of the chords they were playing, and basically, it was a language barrier that we both had to contend with.


I think the string instrument people are reluctant to learn theory and reading because it's such a daunting task. From what little I know most instruments have a 1:1 mapping of notes which makes things a bit more easier. But I can play the same note on several of my six strings, so theres always the question of if I start out in one position/area will I read my self into a corner. Yes I know the answer to that is it takes practice but couple that with the lack of reading and theory requirements in playing todays popular music and most people will choose to get by on their ears. It might be wrong but thats the reality of it.

As to if I think I'm better than I am. I'm only as good as my last perforamce/recording. If I nailed the part then I'm great :D otherwise I suck. And if it's a recording I get to be crappy or great forever...joy =/

#5135 by musicmaker2b
Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:47 pm
Hey BassPlay3r, I liked your audio clips. Too bad you're not close; you sound like you'd be fun to jam with. When I posted this question I was hoping it would help others (and me) guage their own talent. But I think it really all comes down to how someone sounds. I personally know a good deal of theory but my playing ability isn't quite to the same level as my musical knowledge. For 10 years I mainly played by ear, but with the songs I was playing you could basically just get the key of the song and jam on the blues scale. When I decided to learn jazz several years ago I started down a looooooong and endless road. I personally get a lot more enjoyment out of the guitar now than I used to.

#5136 by BassPlay3r
Thu Feb 22, 2007 10:14 pm
MM thats exactly what I'm talking about. The entire extent of my theory knowledge is the modal patterns and where the blues scales overlay to them.

Oh and the best piece of wisdom a guitarist gave me a long time ago. When in doubt whole step whole step 1/2 step. :D

My last guitarist was a music major at San Jose State and often would launch in to the lecture of what can be played over what with all the different options. It would make my eyes glaze over and realize what my wife feels like when I talk about computers to her. To his credit though there was a lot of times where he would suggest a one note change in my line and it would really make things gel.

I'm glad you liked my stuff. I wish I could hear some of yours.

#5206 by keytarman
Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:32 pm
Someimes I surprise myself and other times I disappoint myself. Music life is something to always learn from. Once you stop learning ya' might as well lay yourself down.

#5213 by Vocals & Bass
Sat Feb 24, 2007 11:48 pm
rdk-keyboardist wrote:I think this is a great forum where musicians can openly talk about what they think and bothers them, in many respects.

To add my thoughts to this subject, I am always shocked that a lot of musicians, especially guitarists, don't know anything about the names of the chords they are playing. That's like speaking a language (be it English, German, or Spanish), and not knowing what words you are speaking!!! I'm not saying that it can't be done, because, obviously, many guitarists can play and play very well. Of course, I'm always shocked when a drummer doesn't know if his drums are in tune, or that he can tune them to a certain pitch. I'm also shocked when guitarists don't know anything about chord inversions. Am I making any sense here? Well, if you don't know what I'm talking about, then you might try some theory lessons, as this is BASIC theory that I'm talking about. Know the names of the strings on your guitar or keys on your keyboard, or bass strings, or whatever instrument you play. Now, if you just play by yourself, well, that's up to you, and you can be content in that. But, if you play with other musicians, learn the language of music!

I'm a keyboardist and I would be completely lost if I didn't know what key I was playing in or what chords were the dominant chords in the key of C or F or G. I, too, have played with guitarists who didn't know the names of the chords they were playing, and basically, it was a language barrier that we both had to contend with.

Now, to comment about auditioning guitarists or other musicians who said they were pro or had tons of experience. Yes, I have been in that position where the band I was in was looking for a classic rock guitarist, and bass player, and 5 or 6 guys showed up, claiming they had 25 years of experience, and it looked like they had just picked up their instruments 2 weeks before the audition. It was a total waste of the band's time, and embarassing for them. What was even worse, all the guys who were auditioning, had CDs of the songs our band was doing, so they had time to practice the stuff BEFORE the audition.

I've been playing music as a profession now for several years, and I'm always a little bit apprehensive when playing when new guys. It's only natural. That's why I like to try "open mic" gigs because it's always a good way to break the ice with other musicians.

Also, I don't like to start in new bands that are just getting started, because not only do you have to get through the music, but you have to deal with personality conflicts, which may break the band right off the bat. I like to find well-established bands who have together for some time as they usually have all the personality quirks worked out by the time a new musician joins. However, and what everbody must keep in mind: "It's the music what counts!" Not egos, not flashy solos, not who has the most equipment, or who can get the drunkest on stage. It's always the music the counts most.

But to get back to the theory thing, every musician must know a little theory. It just makes it so much easier to converse and work with another musicians that DO know theory. Also, it makes for easier song writing, too. Why? Because you won't have to experiment of what goes where when you are composing a piece of music, especially instrumental music. You know what chords are allowed in a certain key, and how to change keys without it being so obvious. By all means, learn the names of the chords you are playing. If you don't know what a motif is, or a crescendo, or what rubato means, or what dynamics are, then it might be wise to take a Music Appreciation class and find out what you are missing. It doesn't matter if you know how many sonatas Beethoven wrote, or where Bach was born, but it does matter what key you are playing a piece in, and the structure of the song you want to arrange.
What would you advise to someone that is really interested in music theory. Any good books? Schools,home schooling,etc.?

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