Dealing with frustration in music Log Out | Topics | Search
Moderators | Register | Edit Profile

Alembic Club » Miscellaneous » Archive: 2005 » Archive through February 01, 2005 » Dealing with frustration in music « Previous Next »

Author Message
Username: glocke

Post Number: 26
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 6:34 am:   Edit Post

Sorry, need to vent...
How do other people deal with the more frustrating aspects of playing music?
Such as:

Learning 30 tunes for an audition (second audition actually with the same band), than getting a call hours before your going to show up and being told they found a bass player...

Being involved in bands where people don't practice, learn their parts, or even listen to the tune youplaying...

People don't drive and continually ask for rides..

Being told that your an a$$hole gigs by people becasue you won't let them play your Alembic that is worth thousands of dollars (never mind the fact that they are stone drunk)...

The most frustrating aspect is knowing that your a competent player and have your stuff togther musically, and dealing with one brick wall after another....

Sorry for the negative vibes, but it has been a rough year musically....ugh...if things don't go my way soon you may well see a nice collection of basses and other musical equipment for sale on here!!
Senior Member
Username: palembic

Post Number: 1901
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 7:09 am:   Edit Post

Why should YOU give up things for other people?
I think you said the essential key to solve your frustration already: YOU KNOW you are a competent player having your stuff together musically.
Basically that is all that counts and something I could not say about myself and more or less 70% of the people I am played with.
Your frustration has nothing to do with you playing music but has to do with the obvious bluntness of people. Now THAT IS frustrating ...believe me ...I know ...I've been there.
You have to accept that those jerks pop up in every corner of life whatever you do: as a dentist, a lawyer, a barkeeper, a gardener, ... So please Gregory ...playing music will always be your last island to fall back to when those frustrations are coming to you too much.
And yes than you need to vent ...
And than there is some dude like me that tries to keept the boat from rocking too much.

Paul the bad one
Senior Member
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1267
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 8:00 am:   Edit Post

Gregory; since you asked <g> !!

Here is my take; and it's just that, my take. Others will have reasonable takes as well. And you may find my comments wholly useless, and that's fine.

For the sake of this discussion, let me suggest that you are, to use the technical term, suffering <g>. After much study on the subject, I have found reasonable the view that others do not cause our suffering; rather, we cause our own suffering. If I am called and told not to come to the second audition, I have the option to get upset or to not get upset. It's not easy, it takes practice; lots of practice. But if I get upset, I'm suffering. I'm frustrated and music isn't fun; life isn't fun. The second option, not getting upset, involves being compassionate with others, even when they are being inconsiderate towards us. It involves recognizing when anger starts to well within us, recognizing that we do not have to let that anger consume us, being compassionate with ourselves. It involves being in the present moment; not being attached to the fact that we spent many hours preparing for the audition when we could have been doing other things. Those hours of preparation are now in the past; if we remain attached to them, we suffer.

Attachment causes suffering. If I am attached to my ideas of how the guitar player should learn his part and how the drummer should practice more; then I'm going to get frustrated when the guitar player and drummer don't do what I want. But, the drummer is who he is and not who I want him to be. The drummer and I can discuss what we each expect from our shared experience of the band; and after such discussion, we may find that these expectations differ to a degree that it may be reasonable to start looking for new musical opportunities. But I don't need to be upset with the drummer; that only hurts me and hurts him.

Others do not cause our frustrations, we cause this suffering by attachment to our desires, to our expectations of how other people should behave. Others can only be themselves, we can't make them into the people we want them to be; we can have compassion for them. And we can have compassion for ourselves.

Keep playing with people until you find the people that it feels good to play with. Don't be attached to outcomes. If a particular situation doesn't work, then it doesn't work. Through the process you will grow musically. If you play with 100 different people through the year looking for the right group, then you had 100 teachers showing different approaches to playing, to practicing, to equipment, to interpersonal relationships, to goals, to group dynamics, etc.

As I began, you may find my take wholly useless, and that's fine. Each person has their own path in life. You asked how others deal with frustration, and that's an important question; not just with music, but for all aspects of our lives; work, family, grocery store lines, traffic. The solution to dealing with suffering in all aspects of our lives is not easy; and the solution differs for each of us. Each of us suffers, there is a cause for this suffering, and there are solutions for suffering.

Well, you asked <g> !!
Username: beelee

Post Number: 33
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 8:37 am:   Edit Post

Well said Paul TBO and DaveH.........

Gregory, I've been playing bass for 25 plus years and have been through all of the above and more, but music/playing is and always has been my first love and I hope to keep playing till I die.

I've been to an audition where I knew their material better then they did and never got a call back at all....... remember an audition works both ways, You are also auditioning them ! as for learning the 30 songs, just think thats 30 more tunes YOU now know and may not have to learn again for another audition.

Try to surround yourself with Positive, Dedicated and Motivated musicians, they are out there, and do some networking it may open some doors for you ( something I've not done like I should have).

Giving someone a ride....well it can be a PITA but if they live close, pay for gas or their vehicle is down, shouldn't be too bad, your helping one of your band mates out, but if they take advantage thats another story. My keyboard player is blind ( I don't think there is anything he can't play) my singer and I take turns giving him a ride.

Its your own personal Bass, if you tell some drunk or non drunk sorry you can't play my bass and the cop a tude, that's their problem.

Its a tough business, if you enjoying playing as much as I do, don't give up !! I'd rather give it my best shot, than go through the rest of my life not knowing or having regrets that I stopped playing.
best wishes,

(Message edited by beelee on January 27, 2005)
Username: xlrogue6

Post Number: 89
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 8:39 am:   Edit Post

Testify brother Dave!!! You pretty much said it all, but here's my additional .02(US). The process of learning those 30 tunes has undoubtedly improved your ability to pick out parts and learn them. If they were cover tunes, chances are good that you'll use at least some of them at some point. (If they were originals, I'd have negotiated the number of tunes down by at least half. If they can't figure out if they like your playing in the space of 5-10 tunes, it's probably not a good fit anyway.)

Re: free taxi service, parts not learned, players who listen only to themselves, I've found that the first best rule of avoiding these kind of things is to not play with people who have, um, substance abuse issues, which in my experience tend to go hand in hand with the behaviors you're describing.

Last tip: To find people of the caliber you want to play with, get to know musicians who are in bands that exhibit the characteristics you're looking for (responsibility, dynamics, chops, whatever), even if they have solid bass players. Sooner or later an opportunity will arise.......

Intermediate Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 125
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 10:57 am:   Edit Post

Hang in there, emotionally. Many of us have been there, dealing with the frustrations of working with other musicians.
From my own experience, though, please do not be too hasty to sell your instruments. I've sold all my stuff twice and I definitely regret it. I became so frustrated that I planned to give up music even as a hobby. The first sale included my rare Rick that I really wish I had back.
There are many people out there posing as professional musicians and band managers. It's hard to spot them until you work with them. Hang in there.
Senior Member
Username: hollis

Post Number: 615
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post

Ditto Dave.

Whenever I find anger creeping up around the behavior of others, it's a good idea for me to take a good look at myself. What was my expectation level of the situation? And why did I feel the need to impose my expectations on others? More often than not, my frustrations are self imposed due to my own unrealistic expectations.

It's all a learning experience. Sometimes the lesson is sour, more often (for me anyway) it's very sweet.

Besides, I knew musicians were flakey when they let me into the group.....
Username: glocke

Post Number: 27
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 11:50 am:   Edit Post

Thanks for the support guys. I do know that when all the right people are in place playing music is a great thing...

Good advice Dave..I am pissed becasue I choose to be pissed. I could just as easily walked away without being pissed...but I (as I am sure all of you), work hard at this and often put other important aspects of life aside for it...So when somehitng doesnt go the way I think it should (i.e. learning 30 tunes for an audition), I get a little frustrated...

Oh well...thanks for all the great feedback guys...Happy Jams for all!!
Username: serialnumber12

Post Number: 60
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 12:14 pm:   Edit Post

Just remember there are lot's of shitholes that happen to be musicians,."flip the finger and keep going!!!"
Advanced Member
Username: dannobasso

Post Number: 206
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 5:06 pm:   Edit Post

I know I've dealt with a ton of less than optimum people. Out of most of my "friends", I never gave up, got married, had kids, or stopped working toward my dream. Getting a hold on the dream is just the beginning. I now am going to work harder than ever and do my best. My current band is the only one where we all have the same vision and expectation and the egos are left at home. If you care about your music you will get pissed when others don't do their job. Move on to those who do care. Then again you always have the option of a solo album. Love Protools man!
Username: bigbass

Post Number: 49
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2005 - 8:54 pm:   Edit Post

Brother Glocke: Sounds like you are ready to move up on the ladder of music professionalism. It seems like these days anyone who owns an instrument is seen as a musician. Remember the power of the word 'no'. When you sense something is not right, don't forget to use it. When one door closes, others open. Continue to do what you know to be correct. With your heart and soul aim high. Believe in your dream. The universe will support you. There are many who believe just like you. You will find them. You WILL win.
Intermediate Member
Username: 88persuader

Post Number: 106
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 2:12 am:   Edit Post

Seems many fellow Alembic players are looking within to deal on a personal level with frustration. It's very wise not to let frustrations get the best of you however when you're in a "band" it's a business situation and as with all business situations there is nothing wrong with having expectations. As a matter of fact clearly spelt out and communicated expectations are vital if a busness is to succeed. In every band I've been in we've had meetings at the very start voicing expectations. Because many bands have no clear leader or "boss" it's VERY important for everyone to put their cards on the table in regards to expectations about EVERYTHING. Is the band a serious business or just an excuse to party and get wasted? How often do you want to gig? How often do you want to rehearse? What musical direction will you go in? Will things be strictly regimented or loose in regards to rehearsal times, learning tunes on your own before rehearsal, partying, moving equipment, buying PA and lights, booking, the list goes on. The point is it's very important musicians know what's expected and where the "business" is going. And of course if you're a band leader and OWN the business it's your job to make sure your "employees" know what you expect and what's in it for them. I think the biggest problem with bands in general is lack of either direction or clear expectations. Bands may be FUN but they're also a business and to be successful ... even just to be FUN they need a direction and clear expectations so everyone's on the same page. THEN if someone doesn't live up to expectations they can't say they didn't know what they were and you can replace them guilt free. And remember too that bands are like marriages. You go through a honeymoon phase where everyone LOVES each other ... then little things start to get on your nerves and if you don't talk them out and find a common ground eventually you DIVORCE. It's hard to be married to one person ... in a band you're married to a bunch of people. and most of the time when you fight there's no MAKE UP SEX afterwards! :-) Soooo communication is key!

Intermediate Member
Username: gare

Post Number: 127
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 6:33 am:   Edit Post

Interesting thread.
Alot of good suggestions and views, I especailly like the marriage/divorce analogy. After playing for about 37 years I've experienced all of the above frustrations. There were a few years where I completely quit playing. But,like Paul mentioned, why give up what you want ? The direction I went was to find other like minded muscians, rather than
trying to find an already established group that needs a bassist. So far I've found two, our rehearsal time is limited due to family,work,etc (like everyone else) but that time has become very productive due to some commitment by all involved.
But,as it's been said, bands come and go, you have to keep playing, learning, and growing.

Keep you stick your stick on ice ! We're in this together.
Senior Member
Username: hollis

Post Number: 616
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Friday, January 28, 2005 - 11:52 am:   Edit Post

For me, dealing with frustration is intrinsic and self-perpetuating. No one but me is responsible for how I handle disappointment. therefore, getting a handle on it is in my own self interest.

That being said, moving on is definitely the ultimate goal. The sorting process is involved. I think my point is recognizing the pitfalls of dwelling on things that are beyond my control. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of playing with some very fine musicians. I’ve also had the frustration of dealing with people who thought they were a lot further along the musical spectrum than reality would indicate. However, in all cases, it has been a learning experience for me. Ultimately, I play most often with like-minded musicians who offer ways of approaching projects that are both challenging and fresh.

I don’t, however, limit my experience to the cream of the crop…. Many interesting and unexpected ideas have been examined and brought to fruition by spending time with players of a “lesser caliber”(is there really such a thing?). Sometimes the best stuff comes from way outside of left field…

Music at this time is more an avocation than vocation for me; there have been times when it was my sole means of support. Now it’s more my means of soul support………
Username: glocke

Post Number: 28
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 3:15 am:   Edit Post

Yeah, moving on should definitely be the goal...
The bottom line I guess is that musicians are a very quirky bunch and you really need to be wary of some situations or you can really get burned...

As for playing with players of a lesser caliber, Ive learned to not take anything for granted..If it sounds good and grooves it is still music.
One of my biggest pet peeves are the some of guys I play with that take a snob attitude towards stuff like the blues, claiming it is too simple to be any fun or good...whatever.

Another frustration are the guys with the "home studio" that simply refuse to practice or record anywhere else but their own place because...good recordings can be made at home, but the refusal to not leave their own home to practice somewhere else where there is another "home studio" is a very irratating thing....

I guess I just need to get back to the basics of things, playing music for myself...
Intermediate Member
Username: richbass939

Post Number: 126
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 6:31 am:   Edit Post

I have a quick comment about playing with less able musicians. For just jamming I can appreciate the challenge. They may not be as able to adapt to changes that happen in the music. They may not be as flexible. They don't have the experience in different styles of music to hear where the song is going. That inexperience puts more on the shoulders of the rest of you. Granted I don't want that situation all of the time but the challenge is rewarding sometimes. It helps me develop my improv skill.
That said, if you're working on a gigging band you don't want less able people. The more musical variety you have the more interested you can keep the audience.
Senior Member
Username: davehouck

Post Number: 1276
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Saturday, January 29, 2005 - 7:02 am:   Edit Post

And I guess it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway <g>, that to one degree or another, we are all "less able" and "lesser caliber" musicians.
Intermediate Member
Username: bigbadbill

Post Number: 150
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 11:39 am:   Edit Post

Dave, I'm not worthy (although I suppose it could be considered by some that that admission suggests maybe I am? :-))Seriously, great thread and some fabulous posts. I wish I regularly came into contact with such an open minded, positive, compassionate group of people in everyday life!

For me, one of the secrets has been to work as far as possible with friends. My current band (of which I'm the bandleader)are all people who are amongst my best friends, and we've played together a lot over the years; we have technical deficiences which sometimes get me down, and obviously there are times when one or more of us feels less committed. There are also other problems which can arise from this situation. But ultimately we support each other, we are there for each other, if we can help it we will not let each other down; we also have a common goal, to make music we enjoy and to enjoy making music. Occasionally we drift off to experience other things and play with other people, but ultimately it's being friends that makes the experience all the more special (not unlike any other relationsip in fact).

And one last point, as Dave suggests, stay humble, and stay open. Music is all good, you've just got to luck harder for the good bits sometimes.
Intermediate Member
Username: bigbadbill

Post Number: 151
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, January 31, 2005 - 11:41 am:   Edit Post

Of course that should've been "LOOK harder"; maybe that was some kind of wierd Freudian slip :-)

Topics | Last Day | Last Week | Tree View | Search | Help/Instructions | Program Credits Administration