Find out how good you are!

Here I am once again with little or no time to spare!

Good or Bad GuageThis is where you find out how good you are! “Why?” I hear you ask, well its simple.

A Doctor goes to school for years and learns his/her craft. Goes into hospital to help people and learn on the job. Then may decide to change from the hospital environment to a Practice, be it private or NHS.

The point is they are professionals who go through the whole process and then are said to have or be involved with a “Practice”.

This was a point lost on me until my wife mentioned it in conversation the other night, and it really set me thinking.

We all wonder how much practice is enough, and is it good enough quality to maintain the best level. Yet as musicians we also go through this process, with gigs increasing in expertise and importance as we learn and go from free gigs to paid gigs. Then we focus on whether the end result is enough, did we play well enough and do we deserve the praise we are presented with.

It all very often helps us to doubt ourselves as we maybe don’t have enough time to get the same result as one of our hero’s, in our opinion we are not worthy. Its here we should realise our best is all we can do, and be proud if we get told nice things.

I had to listen to the lovely Sarah telling me I didn’t take praise well, and often shied away from it and didn’t respond. This just comes off as me being rude, so I started to pay more attention to the compliments and say “Thank You” quite clearly.

All of this actually goes in to the mix while we are on the road, and I find myself reading about Drums and many other things to improve not only my playing but also my business and my personality. So I make more and more time to learn.

There does however come time to play, and often I would start from a standpoint of doubting I would be good enough in this single performance until I realised what the bigger picture is.

This is good stuff honestly!

The big picture is this. Once we have begun to develop our skills we are honing them. We are getting to the point where every time we play we sound a certain way. We often don’t recognise we have our own sound. That we create our own “Atmosphere!”. THAT is what we get booked for.

I recall, on this day of the funeral of one of my mentors Bobby Armstrong, that he would say to me after I had mentioned I wondered if I was any good as I didn’t feel the guys in the band I was currently working with were happy enough.

“Did they tell you you were playing badly? No!

Did they express concern over your performance that night? No.

Have they sacked you? No!

Sometimes that driving force in us to do a great job and analyse what we did makes us better. However if the gig isn’t great and the guys are not used to someone caring as much about the gig, they think everything is ok because your doing a better job than they expected.”

That made me think! I do care about every gig I do, even if the guys I work with didn’t. You are only ever as good as your last performance, but you can always make your next one better. The thing is every time we play we put across our groove, our fills, and there are rarely times these days to re-do it, or re-record our performance. We can make it all perfectly quantised and balanced and EQ the character out of it, but you will know if its good, then move on and play the next song!

You see the whole point is, once we practice hard and get to this level, we create an atmosphere in the band which is not only tied in with our playing, its also about our personality. Its often said you can get a gig without being the best technical player, if your face fits with that group of people, your in.

As Bob used to say to me, and had the quote in a frame on the wall of his studio.

“Its nice to be important, but its more important to be nice!”

This particular quote made me realise how all these things were linked and I should consider looking at How they were interlinked, but that is for another day.

This was a bit of a long one but I hope it makes you all think!

Stay tuned for more in the next few days.



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