sociolinguistic things to do/avoid while having a conversation with another musician

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you are a musician
you are talking to another musician about music
assuming you are talking of your own free will (not being coerced)

what makes you want to continue talking with the person? (we have established common ground, s/he seems like an ok/knowledgable person, we acknowledge that we know some of the same people, whatever)
what are some things you wish people would not do? (apologize profusely, make crude jokes, etc)

i am asking for some real advice in speaking the language here!

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 3 May 2014 15:25 (four years ago) Permalink

btw i am not asking for advice directly to me personally, just general advice

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 3 May 2014 15:27 (four years ago) Permalink

lest you think this question is insane/overzealous, there are some real differences in the way that people talk to each other when they know that they share/lack a certain common ground -- teachers and students, for example. teachers with any experience speak differently (about the subject matter) in front of students than they would in front of their peers. i've even felt myself behaving differently toward students who i knew had a teaching background. i could give more details to this example, but i don't want to belabor the analogy.

it only makes sense musicians would also do that, and i am seeking the collective experience of ilx to see what the general preferences are when you are approached by someone you don't know about a thing that you both do.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 3 May 2014 15:37 (four years ago) Permalink

ha my job is to never avoid conversations with musicians so i must accept all of this in stride

ohhhh lorde 2pac big please mansplain to this sucker (jjjusten), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:02 (four years ago) Permalink

yeah that makes sense
is there anything that makes you want to continue talking to a person (rather than looking for the quickest way out) then?

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:06 (four years ago) Permalink

This is a really good question, but heard to answer in a post, without making big generalizations and diving down into lots of special cases and having a really long post. General starting point might be that is analogous to talking to people at a party, you all are at the part or at the gig for a reason, one of the reasons is to talk to some other people there-and if people are unfriendly you have to chalk it up to whether that is there nature, or they have something else to think about , or they already know too many people or are too old to remember any more, etc.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:23 (four years ago) Permalink

At this point, I mainly know jazz musicians especially in Latin Jazz. In Latin music it is standard for each guy to extend a friendly greeting everybody else on the gig when they show up and this sort of extends to the regular fans as well. As far as having an extended conversation that is a different story. But in general you can go up and at least say hello to anybody you want at a jazz gig. If the person is much older maybe they only have a finite amount of energy to play the gig and then a very limit amount left for their adoring public.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:39 (four years ago) Permalink

Sometimes you can impress somebody if you mention somebody they know but sometimes it will seem to backfire if they either don't know the person as well as you thought or if maybe if turns out-who knows - there is some bad blood between them you don't know about.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:43 (four years ago) Permalink

Anyway from what I've seen, you get every type of personality type becoming musicians -jjusten can correct me if I'm wrong- although some instruments seem to attract or make people more neurotic than others, so as a first approximation you can just draw on your general knowledge of a general cross-section of the population.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:48 (four years ago) Permalink

what are some things you wish people would not do?

wax for 10 minutes on a topic I clearly am not interested in. Music is a vast spectrum and as such there are many areas in which our interests were intersect. I'm all about learning about things outside of my wheelhouse, but if all you are doing is talking about stuff that doesn't really hold my interest or is completely outside my ken, I'm going to tune out.

I have a good friend that does this - he doesn't mean to, I don't think, but he tends to swing convos to what music he wants to talk about when clearly the two of us have a lot in common musically that he ignores to talk about whatever obscure opera references he wants to talk about.

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:52 (four years ago) Permalink

(Xp)Two most obvious instrument generalizations are:

Guitar players as a rule are neurotic and introverted, because they gotsta Always Be Shedding

Drummers as a rule are outgoing and friendly, because it is therapeutic to hit things for a living.

Your drum teacher may exhibit a not-statistically significant difference from the norm or your student-teacher relationship may bring forth factors not visible in the casual interaction.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:54 (four years ago) Permalink

xpost also not relegated to musicians, but I hate the appeal to authority. "As a guitarist, I can assure you his playing is sloppy", etc. That or people who can't see beyond technique. ie, I'm a singer, and there are plenty of singers I like who aren't technically great but have personality and are enjoyable to listen to.

I do love talking shop though. have wound up learning vocal health tips from fellow singers. and I do like hearing people talk about their craft.

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 May 2014 16:56 (four years ago) Permalink

I mentioned pirating music to one drum teacher; was awkward afterwards
Mentioned refusal to practice to another drum teacher; was first and last lesson
Drum teachers mentioning what gigs they are playing and you should come check it out, totally normal but also totally awkward

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:02 (four years ago) Permalink

Mentioned refusal to practice to another drum teacher; was first and last lesson

wait, did he refuse to teach you any further after saying that, or did you just quit cos you could tell you were a bad fit?

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:12 (four years ago) Permalink

I was curious too. Was he put off by your honesty? Are all his other students practicing machines?

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:16 (four years ago) Permalink

But what exactly does "Refusal to Practice" mean? You stated "I refuse to practice"? You said "I'd like practice more but I have trouble finding the time"? "The stuff you told me to do was too hard, so I didn't do it."?

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:21 (four years ago) Permalink

i mean when I played guitar my dad hired some guitar teacher who looked like Paul Benedict. who just taught me how to play "Turkey in the Straw" shit and I wanted to play, y'know, Soundgarden and Metallica riffs. and my dad would make me play all of my exercises before I was allowed to play 'recreationally'.

those exercises did help me learn fingering chords and all but eventually I got sick of it and when my dad wasn't home I'd just play whatever tabs were in that month's guitar magazine and make sure to have the exercises ready by the time Raffi showed up for the next lesson.

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:22 (four years ago) Permalink

It was mutual understanding and I think I might not have been the first to get the "you have to practice because it's like working out and you can't get strong otherwise" speech from her but it probably gets doled out to kids forced to take lessons by parents (though out of all instruments I can't imagine drums being the ones parents really insist their children learn)

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:22 (four years ago) Permalink

so in a sense, that was 'refusing to practice' though I was playing SOMETHING. is that what you meant, just jammin recreationally and not doin the 'exercises', etc?

xpost

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:23 (four years ago) Permalink

It might have said "I want to be instantly good without doing the slog work of drills etc oh sweet you have a double bass kick"

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:27 (four years ago) Permalink

Feel like there are two or three things being discussed. Talking to a random musician who doesn't really know you, talking to your music teacher, which after all is one of those situations where somebody wants you to do it Their Way and god help you if you don't, and talking to a friend who is a music bore.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:30 (four years ago) Permalink

I hated practicing too but for different reasons. I had a voice teacher almost can me once for this reason when I was in high school, but I loved singing and her verdict was a bit heartbreaking. she loved what I was doing at first, but then later said I wasn't improving and didn't seem to think I was practicing enough.

the truth was, I WAS practicing, but even as a kid, I was an overt perfectionist with little belief in myself, and I didn't like others listening to my practicing. so I was trying to sing quiet enough to where my folks couldn't hear me, and loud enough tait I could record it and play it back. and usually if a few bad notes came out of my mouth, I got so upset and discouraged that I gave up. it wasn't laziness - it was me being overcritical to the point where it depressed me to practice.

she even questioned whether I really did love singing because of my lack of progress (really upset me, because I DID really love it). Wound up going to another one of her less intense, male voice teachers a few months later and then I made progress again because he didn't intimidate me so much. Even got accepted to FSU's school of music (she raised an eyebrow when I told her that in a chance meeting one day, as I'd bombed the audition at her school due to nerves).

but I got to FSU and had a basso profundo, a big hulking man teaching me, and he intimidated me, plus I was in a bad mental place. so the same shit happened where I kept trying to practice and getting upset and quitting. and even though I was in a private practice room when I did it, I was afraid of people hearing the crap that came out my mouth. and I couldn't afford to schedule practices with my accompanist. Ther ewas some laziness too, but I more gave up cos I hated what I was doing and my teacher was like DA FUQ AIN'T YOU PRACTICING.

didn't actually get good at my craft until a year later, when the lessons he had taught me sunk in, and I performed in a stage musical that required me to sing multiple solos that I couldn't fake or hold back, and kinda just let go one night and realized I could actually do it. and wound up improving steadily over the next decade, and practiced frequently at home (although sans lessons).

so in a way even though I know that probably wasn't yr reason, I get that 'refusal to practice' can often come from insecurities or many things outside of 'laziness/cockiness'.

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:31 (four years ago) Permalink

Ouch, that was painful to read
/i_can_relate

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 17:49 (four years ago) Permalink

without making big generalizations and diving down into lots of special cases and having a really long post

yeah that makes sense too -- any time you ask people to categorize behaviors by their purpose it's a minefield

interesting answers so far!

re Talking to a random musician who doesn't really know you, talking to your music teacher, which after all is one of those situations where somebody wants you to do it Their Way and god help you if you don't, and talking to a friend who is a music bore.

i originally asked thinking of the first example here -- the teacher-student relationship is a totally different issue and the friend who won't shut up is a different social situation than the one i intended to ask about

this is also with the understanding that language aims to communicate rather than sublimate or humiliate or retaliate or whatever other subversive purpose a person might have for talking to another person.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 3 May 2014 18:01 (four years ago) Permalink

Sometimes after I hear somebody play I and I'm trying to be friendly and say something nice about their music my urge is to compare their sound to something else I like but I feel like that usually goes badly because they either haven't heard the musician I'm comparing them to, have heard them and don't like them, think it's a weird comparison because they don't see themselves that way, or hear it all the time and are tired of it, etc. and they end up looking at me like I'm a moron.

I've been on both sides of this one actually but I try to take it as a compliment when it happens to me.

L'Haim, to life (St3ve Go1db3rg), Saturday, 3 May 2014 19:40 (four years ago) Permalink

St3v3, have you ever tried to praise someone's appearance by comparing them to a famous entertainer?

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 19:54 (four years ago) Permalink

Usually that goes badly. Figure it is taken as either, "You really think I look like THAT PERSON? I do not, except in a very superficial way that only an unobservant person would comment on." "Yes, I do look something like that person but I am afraid you are projecting your idea of them on me and not seeing me for who I really am."

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 3 May 2014 19:58 (four years ago) Permalink

ime comparing someone to another person in conversation with them, even favorably, is not really a good idea, especially if it's kind of show-off-y, or taken that way.

this is a good question but i've found that, like what jr said above, it's hard to make general statements about it, and in my case not actually helpful when i have to do it. that could just be what works for me when i have to learn a new skill, though.

it's not natural at all for me to talk to / network with other musicians (djs in my case), so i have to script these conversations out. smile, say hello, give a sincere, positive, general observation about their craft (this tends to be difficult if i'm only lukewarm on it and can also backfire if it's too obvious or obsequious), ask what they're up to or when they're playing next (always seems to go over well), wrap it up with a "nice to meet you" and shake hands before i say something stupid. maybe some would find this too brusque but it seems to work better for me than not saying anything at all, which is the alternative, as entering into an extended conversation with someone right as i meet them fills me with horror. repeat a few times, start to get to know someone, and if you actually hit it off (rare in my case), let your guard down and become friends, or just keep things genial and colleague-like. i've found that i'm somewhat outside the local dj culture here, but that if i'm clear, direct, other-oriented, calm, and respectful, people generally respond well.

mattresslessness, Sunday, 4 May 2014 03:20 (four years ago) Permalink

also re comparing someone to someone else, i think it falls into a category, along with a million other things, of appearing to be other-directed when it's actually about you.

mattresslessness, Sunday, 4 May 2014 03:23 (four years ago) Permalink

i gotta say, re the thread title, it's not like musicians are an ethnic group! i mean, sometimes there is an element "tribal" identification in certain scenes, but for the most part it seems to me that musicians are culturally variable (i.e. "just people") and not very "other" at all (i.e. your neighbors).

mattresslessness, Sunday, 4 May 2014 03:35 (four years ago) Permalink

that isn't to say that ethnic groups aren't those things, just people and your neighbors, either.

mattresslessness, Sunday, 4 May 2014 03:37 (four years ago) Permalink

musicians are a subculture though, and subcultures have linguistic norms like any other cultural or subcultural group (regardless of ethnicity)
i'm interested in what works, but i'm also interested in what springs to mind when people are asked the question

funch dressing (La Lechera), Sunday, 4 May 2014 04:15 (four years ago) Permalink

I got told i sounded like Shadoe Stevens once and i was kinda honored

getting strange ass all around the globe (Neanderthal), Sunday, 4 May 2014 04:17 (four years ago) Permalink

Last night I did everything I said not to do in this thread.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 May 2014 20:11 (four years ago) Permalink

Not really but some discussions I had ended up bugging me a little more than usual. Maybe because during this discussion I shed a protective layer or two that I need to grow back.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 May 2014 20:14 (four years ago) Permalink

idgi -- what do you mean about a protective layer?

funch dressing (La Lechera), Sunday, 4 May 2014 20:41 (four years ago) Permalink

It means in certain instances when I represent that something doesn't irritate me or I am completely comfortable in a situation, the very act of making such a representation causes my irritation to rise and my comfort level to decrease.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 May 2014 20:45 (four years ago) Permalink

That never happens to anyone else?

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 May 2014 20:54 (four years ago) Permalink

I don't know, I just wondered what you meant!

Talking about language can freak some people out because it makes them excessively self-conscious about talking/communicating with other people. I apologize if that's the case! That's how I feel all the time; please remember that i truly aim to describe, not to prescribe.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Sunday, 4 May 2014 21:02 (four years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I wasn't mad at you, just slightly annoyed at myself, but it will soon pass. Your post describes the phenomenon reasonably well.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 4 May 2014 21:06 (four years ago) Permalink

I didn't mean to alarm anyone, but I should know at least well as anyone else that people don't just automatically reveal stuff like this -- 1) most people who have these conversational skills don't think about it that much because it's a way of speaking that they probably learned a long time ago, so they attribute it to basic growing up skills and 2) why would anyone release/reveal insider knowledge just because i asked? writing about it takes more effort than the return for having shared it (which is basically 0 other than the satisfaction of having contributed to the discussion). it's an interesting dynamic to me. i'm partially embarrassed for bringing this up at all, but also i'm still interested in anything that anyone has to say about the topic, critical, informative, or otherwise.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Sunday, 4 May 2014 22:55 (four years ago) Permalink

I should know ="I ought to have known" not "Believe me, I am an expert"

Sometimes it's a burden to be super aware of one's use of language, tbrr.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Sunday, 4 May 2014 23:05 (four years ago) Permalink

Think I exaggerated or misattributed cause and effect. Will try to explain later.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 5 May 2014 00:53 (four years ago) Permalink

Mulling this one over...read this thread over the weekend and I thought about the question while in the middle of a conversation with another musician the other day and tried to make mental notes and in the process zoned out and had to ask my friend to repeat herself.

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Tuesday, 6 May 2014 19:04 (four years ago) Permalink

I've actually pretty much figured out what was going on last weekend but still can't quite distill it enough to a pithy post and don't have time or inclination for a lengthy one. Sorry for the non-update update.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:06 (four years ago) Permalink

Maybe I can try to start. If you are a person who is kind of sensitive and kind of thin-skinned underneath whatever persona you may have constructed and you have more less survived to a certain age you probably have learned to manage certain potentially ego-challenging situations- you can see them coming, monitor when they have not reached a critical level, avoid them, walk away and cut your losses when they arise, or even strategically lose your cool in a manner you feel you can recover from.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:34 (four years ago) Permalink

In some musical circles, jazz particularly, it is kind of an acceptable role to be a fan who plays a little. As in many things, as long as you don't overrepresent your ability, people can basically accept you and be encouraging. And when you are feeling good you can ask yourself or tell yourself something like: "Am I making progress? Yes. Good, that's all that matters."

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:42 (four years ago) Permalink

But there are certain kinds of icky things that people may say to encourage you when they hear you are making some attempt to play music in some fashion, that are best to avoid hearing altogether if you can, lest they irritate and cause one of the ego eruptions that the soul is heir to.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:48 (four years ago) Permalink

As an aside, another way to mentally control or deal with things that cause solar flares of the ego or otherwise perturb is to find the most exact concise picturesque memorable description of the offending phenomena. This is like a magical counter spell against the curse that may be put on you.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:51 (four years ago) Permalink

But sooner or later at a weak moment something will get to you, it has to come around sometime, like a leap day or setting the clock back or forward.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:52 (four years ago) Permalink

So for me the other day I was kind of frazzled and stretched a little thing and I didn't really see anybody I knew well enough at the venue I was at so I talked to one guy I knew a little bit and he was giving me some advice and he was nice about it but it was basically targeted it somebody who was much better than me, somebody whose career was in music, and I was kind of thinking "Gee, that's nice but I'm not at that level and I've got a lot of other things going on which make it not really feasible at this point and I really probably should have stayed home and practiced some more instead of coming out to this show and talking to you."

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 04:58 (four years ago) Permalink

Then I broke another rule, after the show was over, I made a pop music reference to the show-boating rising star jazz drummer and he didn't get it and I got annoyed for miscalculating,although lots of such drummers would probably have gotten the reference.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 05:01 (four years ago) Permalink

Anyway I think what happened was I was in a little bit of an edgy mood that day and I went out hoping that take the edge off. Usually what happens is one of two things- either I see kind of a spot for me and I end up relaxing and having a good time, or I see that the place is too crowded and go home. This was kind of a rare in-between time when it didn't turn out either of those ways and I got further perturbed.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 05:05 (four years ago) Permalink

So I don't know if I answered anything really specific about dealing with musicians maybe just more about socializing in general with the example involving people who are musicians.

Run Through The Jungle Groove (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 05:07 (four years ago) Permalink

Time for new screenname

Bo Diddley Is A Threadkiller (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 8 May 2014 05:24 (four years ago) Permalink

so if i am to summarize, talking with musicians is (and sometimes is not) a minefield? do other people share this belief?

this is one of the irrational things that has kept me away from trying to make/making music for such a long time -- the acute sensation that i was not (and would never be) an inside member of this particular group, that i was not welcome. it's not rational or true, but there it is.

As an aside, another way to mentally control or deal with things that cause solar flares of the ego or otherwise perturb is to find the most exact concise picturesque memorable description of the offending phenomena. This is like a magical counter spell against the curse that may be put on you.
skip if you hate anecdotes -
when i was 23 or so, this guy i was dating had a bunch of dudes from his old band come visit and they stayed with him. i was hanging out at his apt when they got there, so he couldn't just like tell me to leave and he had to introduce me to them. after a while of settling in, they started talking about something or other related to music and this guy was like "oh we're boring her, we're talking shop" and 1) i had never heard the term "talking shop" before, so i asked what it meant 2) he assumed this meant that i was sick of hearing them talk (which i wasn't, i just asked a question). i was very interested in what they had to say, i just suddenly felt that i wasn't welcome, i guess. i'm not sure this would happen today, but who knows? later i did have a very pleasant conversation with one of his friends and he totally (memorably) treated me like a normal person, like an equal who had thoughts that were worth hearing. and i did!

but man, it's so easy to refer back to this incident when the opportunity to talk with someone pops up. and then not talk to anyone. i'm not shy, but i firmly don't like going where i'm not welcome. i guess that's partially what motivated me to ask this question.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Friday, 9 May 2014 14:53 (four years ago) Permalink

also i think this is good advice -- just out of curiosity, do you say your name? do you say "i'm a DJ too" if they are total strangers or do they know who you are by name? i am a total failure at introducing myself if memory serves.

so i have to script these conversations out. smile, say hello, give a sincere, positive, general observation about their craft (this tends to be difficult if i'm only lukewarm on it and can also backfire if it's too obvious or obsequious), ask what they're up to or when they're playing next (always seems to go over well), wrap it up with a "nice to meet you" and shake hands before i say something stupid.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Friday, 9 May 2014 15:08 (four years ago) Permalink

so if i am to summarize, talking with musicians is (and sometimes is not) a minefield? do other people share this belief?

Hanging around with musicians can be one of those fraught situations - and some types are more prone to this than others - where egos are at stake or in play and, more importantly, somebody suspects that somebody else Wants Something From Them. As long as you are cool and they are cool, everything is cool. If not, it is the equivalent of one of those nights when you go to a party against your better instincts that maybe you should have stayed home and watched a black-and-white movie, made some headway on the book you were reading, or caught up on your sleep.

Bo Diddley Is A Threadkiller (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 May 2014 03:47 (four years ago) Permalink

isn't it musicians, being performers, who are the ones that drew first blood?
(in terms of imposing an exchange)

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 10 May 2014 15:47 (four years ago) Permalink

Are you saying that by putting on the performance they are obligated to deal with the public?

Bo Diddley Is A Threadkiller (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 May 2014 15:52 (four years ago) Permalink

obligated in the same way a politician who wants votes engages with constituency.

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 10 May 2014 15:56 (four years ago) Permalink

i've never thought about it like that before. i don't know if i agree, but I have a lot of experience watching people talk with politicians, so it's a strange new way for me to consider these interactions.

also, i have come to another conclusion -- usually i can tell whether someone is willing to talk with me or not, so if i make it past the first 10 seconds and see that the person isn't going to completely reject the idea of having a conversation with me, i can just be my usual self and abort mission when necessary. (i mean no doy, just like "do not try to talk with someone while they are clearly doing something else and are not available for conversation" i know that one very well! in a professional/work-related setting, colleagues ask me questions every day when i am trying to do something else and they seem to have 0 regard for my need to finish the thing that i am doing when they interrupted me. that is a clear conversational no-no)

i started this thread with the idea that people would tell me stuff that they found irritating specifically as musicians, but i know in general what people find irritating and it's not really a mystery. also, if someone finds me genuinely irritating, i can usually tell pretty quickly. i guess i wanted to avoid being disappointed by people! i'm still curious about the nature of these conversational interactions, but i'm done trying to figure out the best approach bc i only really have one at my disposal.

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:08 (four years ago) Permalink

nardwuar irritates a lot of musicians! but he wins them over! i guess technically he's not an outsider but he poses as one. "Who are you?!" "And you play...?"

I do notice he never asks, "who are your influences?"
instead he gives them presents of their influences.

Philip Nunez, Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:16 (four years ago) Permalink

I accidentally posted about this on the thread what is going on in your musical life this will irritate someone over there and we will get a data point.

Bo Diddley Is A Threadkiller (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:29 (four years ago) Permalink

Was the original intention of the thread a solicitation for musicians to tell you what irritates them so that you can avoid such behavior? Does this approach ever really work?

Bo Diddley Is A Threadkiller (James Redd and the Blecchs), Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:32 (four years ago) Permalink

haha, yes
sometimes

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:33 (four years ago) Permalink

usually it confirms what i already know so i can proceed confidently
also it's interesting to see what people find irritating

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:34 (four years ago) Permalink

and also its interesting to try to figure out indicators for how people identify someone as insider/outsider and what happens after that

funch dressing (La Lechera), Saturday, 10 May 2014 16:38 (four years ago) Permalink

I have to admit the "what do you guys sound like?" question that comes up when I mention my work/band frustrates me a teeny bit. Mainly because I dont know how to answer it! And when I try to, I inevitably get blank looks when bands or genres go unrecognised.

On reflection tho such questions less often come from fellow musos. Me and my jam buddies/friends in bands just talk shop a lot usually - gear tech, records we're into this week. that kinda thing.

the Bronski Review (Trayce), Sunday, 11 May 2014 06:59 (four years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

some solid practical conversation tips here for projecting confidence and assertiveness

(posting not because i think anyone here needs them, just because the response to the writer's question is really insightful about how we project certain things (submissiveness, permission-asking) when it would be more effective for us to project other things (assertiveness, confidence). and then she describes how to do that)

good advice, imo!

http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2014/06/fan_landers_mentor_abuse.php#more

La Lechera, Tuesday, 17 June 2014 16:25 (four years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

A long-time engineer friend of mine-- real good friends, wedding invitees etc.-- he finished work on a record recently. I am deeply in love with the artist's music. I contributed four days of labour and $6k of out-of-pocket expenses to help work on it (I threw a bunch of her songs on some orchestral sessions I was conducting). This engineer friend, who was producing and mixing the project, has a tendency to work hermetically, listening to his work only in his own closed environments and not doing any mix-comparison. As a result, the mixes that I heard, the vocals were washy, low, and not-powerful. Sounded good but not in fighting form. Would not resonate globally. I was feeling crushed, I had such high hopes for the record.

Not realizing that the mixes I was listening to were actually final masters, and with a glimmer of hope that the record could be fixes, I called him up to express this concern. His voice raised several volume levels and he said, "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT MY WORK." The conversation kind of petered out and we haven't talked since.

There's a part of my brain that's always thinking prescriptively when I'm hearing friends' music, I'm always thinking "man I'd love it if you'd sing more like this, or use this guitar". Voicing these thoughts, too, I think it's like "what have I got to lose?" because if the subject disagrees, it'll only galvanize their resolve toward their original path. At least, that's how I respond to criticism.

But this event, and thinking too about how often my thoughts have "not penetrated", have make me wonder. Is there any benefit in telling your friends the truth, as you see it, about their work?

faghetti (fgti), Tuesday, 2 September 2014 16:52 (four years ago) Permalink

I try not to offer my opinion unless someone asks for it under those (and most) circumstances, but I have no idea -- sounds like there are many factors involved. My experience with giving feedback has usually included me asking what type of feedback is being requested -- am I proofreading, offering suggestions, confirming that things "work", giving my general impressions as a typical consumer of the thing, whatever. Helps to cut down on effort spent in vain, esp when the thing in question is a 600 page book and feelings are important (ie my partner wrote the book).

I learned something this weekend! I don't need to constantly tell people that I am a beginner, esp if I want them to not dismiss me immediately. It's ok to tell them if they ask, but I do not *need* to volunteer this information.

cross over the mushroom circle (La Lechera), Tuesday, 2 September 2014 19:08 (four years ago) Permalink

One of my co-workers has a grotesque level of self-confidence, saying stuff like, "this is what makes top hits!" and it is comforting to hear, bc he's taking responsibility for his intention.

faghetti (fgti), Wednesday, 3 September 2014 12:09 (four years ago) Permalink

I can relate to this:

There's a part of my brain that's always thinking prescriptively when I'm hearing friends' music, I'm always thinking "man I'd love it if you'd sing more like this, or use this guitar".

But winced at:

Not realizing that the mixes I was listening to were actually final masters...

I once had somebody say something like, on hearing my studio-recorded, mastered album: "These songs are good, maybe if you went back and recorded them again in a real studio you'd get more people to respond." Uh, no, what you just heard was already the result of me going back and re-recording my home demos in a real studio. (The person who said it should've known that, too.)

In any case, that's pretty much the dividing line for me. If somebody says, "This is a work in progress, what do you think?" that's the time to tell them what you think should change, or what you would do differently. If someone says, "This is done, what do you think?" that's the time to home in on the aspects of it that you liked the most or that you'd want to hear more of in the future (and maybe just ignore the parts you didn't like), because at that point the project is done, and the next project is what your feedback can impact.

L'Haim, to life (St3ve Go1db3rg), Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:08 (four years ago) Permalink

if their music sucks you should tell them (of course i never do that)

example (crüt), Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:12 (four years ago) Permalink

agreed, only say nice things after mastering is done, or at least wait six months to roll out the constructive criticism (and then only when asked for it).

also, it's really hard to accept criticism in the moment. i know i get defensive about it, at least from certain people, but eventually it sinks in and ends up being useful.

festival culture (Jordan), Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:19 (four years ago) Permalink

I have a professional musician friend who will only give criticism if I show him anything I'm working on. At first I felt very downhearted about this but later realised his advice was always constructive and that if he liked something, he wouldn't tell you. Problem is people only seem to say what they don't like about a production in my experience.

monoprix à dimanche (dog latin), Thursday, 4 September 2014 16:25 (four years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

i have learned a lot about this topic this year by trial and error.

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 17:46 (three years ago) Permalink

curious to hear your observations

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Thursday, 31 December 2015 18:10 (three years ago) Permalink

since you asked -- for starters, the early noob phase where i didn't know anyone and had to introduce myself over and over to people (january-july or so?) was genuinely painful to endure (but necessary). it was not unlike other experiences i've had where i've been placed into situations where i stick out like a sore thumb and i have to navigate various levels of social finesse while maintaining my dignity. i had to learn to distance myself from my "self" in order to operate on a functional level. every time i saw someone i had talked with before, i had to wave/walk over and say hi, make some small talk, decide whether or not this person wants to keep talking with me or not…it's a lot going on beyond the actual conversation that's happening. it's also worth noting that i am not just a noob, but a woman in a male-dominated environment. anil ananthaswamy's book "the man who wasn't there" gave me a lot of insight about self-consciousness. it's pretty lite science writing but i found it interesting/helpful. july-december was much MUCH better than january-june tbrr.

DO -- remind people what your name is & how they know you, mention if you have mutual friends (this will become easier), remember that you will probably have to make the first move toward conversation 100% of the time
DON'T -- expect anyone to remember you unless you have a really pleasant conversation and sometimes not even then (there were lots of don'ts I already knew, no need to list those)

the advice i received to "go to shows and talk with people" has been fruitful, and i believe it's good advice given with my best interests in mind. however, in executing this advice, it's a different experience when you are a woman in a male-dominated environment. to my credit, i am relatively friendly and not shy even when i'm flying solo (which is most of the time) and not the sort of person who is intimidated by someone's station or artistic prowess in comparison to my own. i'm not ~afraid of~ talking with anyone. this is where "being myself" has been useful. I'm no genius but as it turns out I know how to be sociolinguistically appropriate when someone is speaking my language. Most people are actually pretty cool and easy to talk with once they decide that I'm worth talking to! Some people are not. Whenever anyone reacts to me with hostility, I wonder what's wrong with them, not what's wrong with me. By the time I went to see the final show of the 25th anniversary of Hamid Drake & Michael Zerang's winter solstice performances, it kind of felt like the end of camp, like I had been through the wringer and lived.

Overall, I learned a lot! I've got a zillion anecdotes but I also learned from watching others not to dish, esp not on a public forum!! ;)

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 19:38 (three years ago) Permalink

yikes

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 19:38 (three years ago) Permalink

I generally avoid all that by never telling anyone I'm a musician.

Anyway, it's not a three, it's a yogh. (Tom D.), Thursday, 31 December 2015 19:57 (three years ago) Permalink

that would make finding people who want to play music with me kind of hard.

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 20:03 (three years ago) Permalink

Ah, of course!

Anyway, it's not a three, it's a yogh. (Tom D.), Thursday, 31 December 2015 20:11 (three years ago) Permalink

You have probably met friends of mine or at a minimum friends of friends -- I have a few close friends who are out at those kinds of shows in Chicago all the time, and at least one who plays out a lot. ( D@N!EL WY(H3 )

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Thursday, 31 December 2015 21:07 (three years ago) Permalink

I do indeed!

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 21:39 (three years ago) Permalink

I mean I do know him, but I have no idea how you know each other. I'll probably see him a week from tomorrow in fact!

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 21:40 (three years ago) Permalink

nice! I will ilx mail you to tell him I say hi.

on entre O.K. on sort K.O. (man alive), Thursday, 31 December 2015 21:56 (three years ago) Permalink

another thing i have learned: that everyone who is generally around my age +/- 10 years and interested in the same general things has at least one mutual friend, esp when you factor in internet friends. figuring out connections between people always makes me happy.

(i sent you a fb msg w my email because the ilx robot doesn't allow replies)

La Lechuza (La Lechera), Thursday, 31 December 2015 22:54 (three years ago) Permalink


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