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Thread December 20, 2014 editorial: comments

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1 December 20, 2014 editorial: comments

The Perfect Blend

No, I’m not talking about coffee — not this week, anyway. I was actually thinking about what are the other attributes, in addition to great technical ability, that make a great musician?

Although chops are the most important thing, there’s more to it. Great musicians are very…musical. That’s not an easy thing to quantify. It includes a lot of attributes, some of which are intangible. It encompasses playing with taste and coming up with parts that enhance the song, not just show off how fast you can play. It also means understanding the musical style and knowing how to fit into it authentically, and being confident enough to push the boundaries when appropriate. It means listening to what’s going on around you. It means having a good understanding of music theory.

Unfortunately, we don’t all start from an equal footing when it comes to musical ability. A lot of it has to do with genetics —  the luck of the draw. But in addition to practicing and trying to improve our chops as much as possible, we can all make ourselves more valuable by working hard on developing those musical intangibles that supplement our playing skills.

If you follow sports, I'm sure you've heard announcers or journalists talk about certain players who make everyone around them better. If you’re playing in a band or ensemble of any kind, you should strive to be like that. Shine when it’s your chance to, but spend the rest of the time trying to lock in with and enhance what everyone else is doing.

And finally, have a good attitude. Being easy to get along with is crucial in a business where personal contacts and recommendations are what lead to work in most cases. Sure, there have been more than a few jerks who became successful musicians, but unless you have overwhelming talent, people won’t want to work with you if you're difficult to be around. 

So what do you think are the most important attributes to being a great musician, other than chops? What has helped you the most in your career? Let's discuss it. And please feel free to comment on any of our articles and in our forums, we’d love to hear your opinions.

Happy holidays to all of you, and thanks for being part of the Audiofanzine community.

 

Mike Levine

U.S. Editor, Audiofanzine

 

2
consistently showing up on time and prepared, Dynamics, Feel, Time, Empathy & Sensitivity :bravo:
3
Anyone have any information on 1990s Washburn BT10
4
Anyone have any information on 1990s Washburn BT10
5
Ah, yes - the musician and engineer had better both have "taste." Has anyone remembered the key maxim of the current commercial world of music? "Nobody ever went broke underestimating either the taste or the intelligence of the American public."
6
Quote:
consistently showing up on time and prepared, Dynamics, Feel, Time, Empathy & Sensitivity

Absolutely. I totally agree. Thanks. :bravo:

Quote:
Ah, yes - the musician and engineer had better both have "taste." Has anyone remembered the key maxim of the current commercial world of music? "Nobody ever went broke underestimating either the taste or the intelligence of the American public."

Point well taken, but I was trying to describe factors that make musicians great from a musical sense. Success in the pop world is another story altogether.
7
I have been in and out of bands for over 30 years and have several observations. I think that the most important non-musical attribute is dedication. You must be dedicated to the craft of music. Not just showing up on time but to perfecting yourself and your band. As a drummer, it was a hard lesson to learn that I was not performing a drum solo and that the band is counting on ME to keep us all together. In my youth I would play very mathematical and forget the simple things such as feel and dynamics. It was a bass player that taught me to pay attention by throwing a beer at me and simply saying "Listen!".

A band is a unit and must function as one. Being a team player is the second most important piece I think. Support each other on and off the stage. Frontmen drive me crazy for the most part. May I quote Megadeth "You take mortal man and put him in control. Watch him become a God". Get over yourselves already and join the team, sheesh!
8
:bravo::bravo::bravo::bravo::bravo::bravo:
I'm a drummer too (43+ years) and am sitting in my living room practicing all day between Pad & Kit, while my 3 dogs hang out and listen.
On the weekdays I try and get in 2-3 hours, and on weekends 4-5 (of personal practice). My band rehearses 1X a week for 3 hours....
9
Mike, I agree completely with everything you said. When I first started to jam, I'd be nervous playing with better musicians. But the best musicians were the ones that didn't shove their superiority in your face. Rather, they eased you into the mix and adapted to your level to improve the sound as a whole.

Quote from canadayjack:
I have been in and out of bands for over 30 years and have several observations. I think that the most important non-musical attribute is dedication. You must be dedicated to the craft of music. Not just showing up on time but to perfecting yourself and your band. As a drummer, it was a hard lesson to learn that I was not performing a drum solo and that the band is counting on ME to keep us all together. In my youth I would play very mathematical and forget the simple things such as feel and dynamics. It was a bass player that taught me to pay attention by throwing a beer at me and simply saying "Listen!".

A band is a unit and must function as one. Being a team player is the second most important piece I think. Support each other on and off the stage. Frontmen drive me crazy for the most part. May I quote Megadeth "You take mortal man and put him in control. Watch him become a God". Get over yourselves already and join the team, sheesh!


Jack I also agree completely with everything you said :-D:-D
10
Quote:
A band is a unit and must function as one. Being a team player is the second most important piece I think. Support each other on and off the stage.

Jack, I totally agree. The more you think of your band as a team, and less as a collection of individuals, the better the band will become.
Quote:
Frontmen drive me crazy for the most part.

I know what you're saying. Front people tend to have large egos (which is likely why they become front people in the first place) and some of them are out control. That being said, I've worked with a lot of very cool lead singers.