#1
Hey...so i joined a band for the first time ever a couple of months ago. And so far i think it was the best thing i could have done for myself, musically. It has really motivated me into practicing more, it was given me experience of playing gigs and just playing with other people instead of practicing sitting in my room.

But sometimes, during rehearsals i feel inadequate. I mean i was able to get along really well with my bandmates and we´re friends now, but i feel musically inadequate. They´ve been together in that band for 2 or 3 years before i joined, and i´d never been in a band before since i started playing (2 years ago). And i´d never really practiced guitar consistently before joining...now i practice everyday. So sometimes, when they start "jamming" or trying to make songs...and it´s not something that i got the chance to learn on my own, practicing and that i already know, i feel i can´t jump in and just do something, play or "follow their lead" i pretty much just stand there, doing nothing, watching. So basically, all i do is play covers and play the songs they´d already written before i joined, which they taught me. I have just started trying to write a few songs myself, and i don´t feel very comfortable in the composing department since i´ve never really tried writing or dedicated any considerable amount time on it...so i feel i´m way behind my bandmates there, like i´m falling behind...

I really want to take part in the creative process and not feel inadequate when they start playing something i don´t know perfectly. So any suggestions? Has this ever happened to you or one of your bandmates? I´m trying to "catch up" by putting in all the hours of practice i can on my own, but there´s always a time during rehearsals or when we get together to write music in which i have nothing to contribute... when things happen that i don´t expect and i can´t jump in and follow...Please any thoughts on this or advice is welcomed. Sorry for the long post!

Tl;dr: There are times during rehearsals with my band in which i feel musically inadequate since i feel i can´t contribute in anything, especially when it´s about writing and contributing with ideas and such. Basically, i feel comfortable and in my zone when playing covers i already know. Help!
#2
Take all of what you just typed and say it to your band mates. They should understand and maybe they'll slow down a bit and guide you/walk you through the creative process. Good Luck!!
Your opinion is just that, YOUR opinion. It doesn't make you right. It doesn't make you better. It doesn't make you god. Everyone has their own view and that view is neither right or wrong.

Ignorance destroys music.
#3
Well, first of all, don't knock yourself so much. Everyone has to start somewhere. I had been playing guitar for 15 years (by myself) before I ever joined my first band and felt the same way. The guys I joined had all played together in some configuration with one another over the years and I was the odd man out. Whenever they'd play one of their old songs that I didn't know, I did the same thing as you, sat there. If they want to actually play that song then ask one of the other guys to show you or give you the chord progressions so you can work on it on your own time. Take a small recorder and record them playing it so you know when the changes are going to occur, etc. That will help you with stuff they have written before you and as they are making stuff up.

When trying to add to the creative process, you'll need to know what key they are playing the song in, or at least the basic chord progression they are going for, so again, ask or record what they're coming up with then noodle with it when practicing it on your own. Maybe you can come up with a chord change in the middle of the song, or add some chord pattern changes and then present them at the next practice.

Lastly... don't get discouraged if they don't like all of your ideas. I don't like all of my bandmates song ideas, and they don't like all of mine. Writing songs is difficult. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Song writing itself takes practice in addition to playing.

Hope that helps.
#4
Quote by scream_it
Take all of what you just typed and say it to your band mates. They should understand and maybe they'll slow down a bit and guide you/walk you through the creative process. Good Luck!!


This

Also, don't worry about it too much, as far as the jamming thing goes, it just takes practice and time, see if you can get them to jam with you, either you start something, or you follow someone's lead, but the thing is, if you just sit there, watching, you aren't really learning much. If you join in, you can figure out what works and what doesn't, but don't get too concerned with it, just practice a bit.
#5
This is generally the point where one realises there's a hole in their music theory knowledge. Help! There's these seemingly random notes flying at me! How to make sense of it all?

As noted before, knowledge of the key they were in would help you identify the chords and scales used within. Logically then it would help you greatly to learn;

- Major / Minor scales all over the fretboard
- Chord / Key theory

I personally didn't learn these either until I realised I couldn't progress without them. Call it learning theory by necessity, not necessarily by choice.

Edit: Of course they could just sit you down and tell you the chords and scales, but that's not very helpful when it's an impromtu jam, or worse, when the person who writes the song doesn't know what key/scale it is themselves (eg. when the drummer writes a guitar riff ).
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#6
Quote by AlanHB
This is generally the point where one realises there's a hole in their music theory knowledge. Help! There's these seemingly random notes flying at me! How to make sense of it all?

As noted before, knowledge of the key they were in would help you identify the chords and scales used within. Logically then it would help you greatly to learn;

- Major / Minor scales all over the fretboard
- Chord / Key theory

I personally didn't learn these either until I realised I couldn't progress without them. Call it learning theory by necessity, not necessarily by choice.

Edit: Of course they could just sit you down and tell you the chords and scales, but that's not very helpful when it's an impromtu jam, or worse, when the person who writes the song doesn't know what key/scale it is themselves (eg. when the drummer writes a guitar riff ).


As a songwriting drummer, I was agreeing with you until I read this

But yeah, just learning the basics of theory can be a great help when it comes to jamming and songwriting. It wouldn't be unreasonable of you to ask them what key they're playing in during a jam, and if you know some theory you will know what chords/scales you can use to play along with them.

As far as songwriting goes, once you know some theory all I can suggest is practice, since you've just started you can't expect to be good right away, like a lot of people I've played with, strangely enough, just being able to play the instrument doesn't instantly mean you'll be a good songwriter.

I think it's important to make the distinction that song-writing is a completely different skill to just playing an instrument, and just like with any other skill, no-one can be good right away, so just keep practising, constantly write new riffs and melodies and over time you'll hopefully start to notice some improvement, I wouldn't want anyone to hear my first attempts at writing music but I'd be proud to show anyone my last few.
#7
Quote by SilentHeaven109
As a songwriting drummer, I was agreeing with you until I read this


I apologise, I should have said MY drummer. Although he's a good drummer, his knowledge of music theory is limited. So although he may make great riffs, he can't explain what key, or chords are being used, he can only play them. So you only have the notes to deal with, and you have to apply your theory knowledge to them as there's a lack of any other information. Similar to when your friends jam without warning or direction.

So it wasn't an attack on drummers, just a common situation that may arise in a band where you need some theory knowledge.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
You just gotta do it man. Don't let your fears of inadequacy hold you back. When they start jamming, just jump in. So what if it doesn't sound amazing, each time you'll get a little bit better. Same with songwriting, just gotta do it.
#9
i used to feel the same but then i started working on my scales. it was something i never really did before and then jamming came naturally. today for example we decided to do our own version of say it aint so by weezer. i just glanced at the tab as a starting point and then just worked off the main riff myself and took what i learned and we made our own ska/metalish version of it.
what could help though is if you have written a riff just show it to your band mates and start working around that. i found it hard to be creative at first because id let my band mates start jamming and i just jump in but it eventually became easier.
Dick+strings= owww
#10
Quote by AlanHB
I apologise, I should have said MY drummer. Although he's a good drummer, his knowledge of music theory is limited. So although he may make great riffs, he can't explain what key, or chords are being used, he can only play them. So you only have the notes to deal with, and you have to apply your theory knowledge to them as there's a lack of any other information. Similar to when your friends jam without warning or direction.

So it wasn't an attack on drummers, just a common situation that may arise in a band where you need some theory knowledge.


Aha I was kidding man, I get your point though, I've had situations where band members who don't know theory write parts, and I've had to tell them the key and expand on them, situations like that show that even the bare minimum of theory knowledge, which is pretty much what I have ,can really be useful.
#11
Quote by SilentHeaven109
Aha I was kidding man, I get your point though, I've had situations where band members who don't know theory write parts, and I've had to tell them the key and expand on them, situations like that show that even the bare minimum of theory knowledge, which is pretty much what I have ,can really be useful.


Or when the singer makes a song with just the vocal line - fun!
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
talk to your band about your feelings. Its best to let them know that you recognized your problem. Either they will support you or they're already thinking about replacing you.

I'd stay. You will improve faster if you play with someone better than you.
#13
Quote by jrakus


I'd stay. You will improve faster if you play with someone better than you.


Definitely true. I was in a band with a guitarist mate who was a fair bit better than me, and he really helped me along with my playing. Just about the best compliment I ever got was when he said I'd become as good as him.

Also when I was at Rockscool (spelling intentional), I was the only girl surrounded by guys who could all play brilliantly, and I was crap in comparison. At first I was really dejected and miserable because they could pick up a song in 2 minutes whilst I spent the whole session struggling to grasp it, but in the end it made me work harder and improve.

It's pretty much the reason I want to be in a band now, because atm I'm just sitting around in my room -.-
I would rather be flawed and wise, than perfect and blind.
#14
Quote by SilentHeaven109
As a songwriting drummer, I was agreeing with you until I read this

But yeah, just learning the basics of theory can be a great help when it comes to jamming and songwriting. It wouldn't be unreasonable of you to ask them what key they're playing in during a jam, and if you know some theory you will know what chords/scales you can use to play along with them.

As far as songwriting goes, once you know some theory all I can suggest is practice, since you've just started you can't expect to be good right away, like a lot of people I've played with, strangely enough, just being able to play the instrument doesn't instantly mean you'll be a good songwriter.

I think it's important to make the distinction that song-writing is a completely different skill to just playing an instrument, and just like with any other skill, no-one can be good right away, so just keep practising, constantly write new riffs and melodies and over time you'll hopefully start to notice some improvement, I wouldn't want anyone to hear my first attempts at writing music but I'd be proud to show anyone my last few.


You know you made my day with your post, haha. Especially with that statement... that had me really down lately since everything i try to write or compose sounds like crap, makes me feel like i´m an altogether bad guitarist (which i probably am, but still, lol). Thanks a lot for the advice.

So, the general consensus i think is learn my theory? I know the basic concepts, now i´ve just started taking lessons so i can reinfore the basics and start getting a little deeper into theory. The thing is...my bandmates don´t know much theory. I mean they know scales, and chords and how they relate...somewhat. But they do mostly everything by ear. So will knowing my theory still work for me?

And Ravenix, i get you, haha. I totally knows how it feels to be the only girl surrounded by boys who are better than you. Makes me feel like i´m a shame to my gender lol, but you´re right: it does help me to want to get better and improve.

Thanks for the advice people...i really should start getting a little deeper into theory then... don´t know how it´s going to work exactly when jamming with people with little theory knowledge, but it should help when songwriting, right?
#15
i wouldn't say that beginners can't be good songwriters. Depends on the style. Obviously you cant do prog metal,etc. With rock in general you can write a good song if you only have some sense how every part should sound together (you don't need theory for this, although it does save a lot of time). Try out all chords, see what fits best, repeat, etc.
I wrote one of my best songs after a year of playing. Its a skill seperate from playing IMO
#16
Quote by jrakus
i wouldn't say that beginners can't be good songwriters. Depends on the style. Obviously you cant do prog metal,etc. With rock in general you can write a good song if you only have some sense how every part should sound together (you don't need theory for this, although it does save a lot of time). Try out all chords, see what fits best, repeat, etc.
I wrote one of my best songs after a year of playing. Its a skill seperate from playing IMO


Absolutely true, you can be an awful instrumentalist and still be a good songwriter, although he's not awful the obvious example is Kurt Cobain, but I think someone like Mark Owen is a great example of this, I've only ever seen him play chords on guitar and root notes on bass and he has written some amazing songs, and as with everyone it took time, some of his first solo songs were awful but when compared to something recent like Shine, it just shows how everyone improves with time and practice.

And to TS, I pretty much do what your bandmates do, I know a little theory and just go for it, you don't really need to become an expert on theory but it won't hurt if you do, and once you start learning theory you'll be able to start playing things by ear more easily and it will just make jamming and playing with other people a whole lot easier, and will help you a lot when you start to write music.
#17
Take the experience for what its worth, playing with more experienced players is the best thing you could possibly do, although a lot of experienced players don't want to be bothered to take on someone whose relatively new to music. So I say, enjoy the ride. They may eventually sack you if you start to drag them down or limit them, but if they don't... just watch and learn from them, don't just listen to, but study music... each specific part of a song, each instrument. Eventually, you'll get the urge to write your own songs and then you'll be creating stuff with your band soon enough... also known as "The George Harrison Effect"
*Official Deadhead*

The times they are a-changin'