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Commisaur
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:16 am
Posts: 232
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2022 10:41 am 
 

The short story:

What should I do as a guitarist to make the best first impression on the first jam session with musicians whom I met online? What should I do in order to ensure that I get a "meet once a week for band practice routine" going with them? Is there something that one should typically do or shouldn't do?

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The long story:

So I am a guitarist who has been to countless jam sessions with musicians whom I have met online. Typically what happens during the first jam session is we just start playing whatever. It could be a riff or song I wrote or it could be a cover. I typically always have a lot of fun and unless the other musician's skills are so low to the point that they can barely play anything or the musician does drugs or is high I usually always think that the first meet up went well and am super excited to meet up again to jam with people who share the same musical interests.

But out of everyone I ever met online that I jammed with there's only two people that I ended up jamming with more than twice. In fact the vast majority of the time I only met the person once despite wanting to meet more, but the other person would always give various reasons for not wanting to jam again.

I just don't understand what is going on here. Was I simply always considered not good enough by all these musicians? Was I not playing in time (I don't see how this would be an issue with all the times I jammed with just one other guitarist)? Was my playing too sloppy? Was the general sound of my guitar playing that they heard, produced by my playing technique and gear, subpar? Are there certain things that I need to say to ensure a band can form (I always state that my intention is to start a band to either play my own original music or to play something that we create together as a band)?

I don't think it is a creativity issue as I have several albums worth of original material written and recorded and posted online that I shared with each and everyone of these musicians and several of these musicians I met would go ape shit when seeing and hearing me play my music on my guitar and tell me that it was "badass" or "creative." Musical differences can't be a reason either as I have met plenty of musicians who are into my kind of metal.

In almost all cases the musicians would either just ignore my follow up with them asking to jam again or they would blame their job or family obligations as the reason why they can't jam anymore. Could it really be the case that there's a lot of people out there who think they have time for the band thing with other people and upon getting into it they pull out after finding out how much work it is? I've also met a fair amount of drummers who had their kit in a storage unit whom I only met once. What is the purpose of having a storage unit that you pay monthly payments for if you don't have time to even jam with other people? I also seem to come across a lot of musicians who are already in 2-3 other bands that perform live who also always meet me only once or twice who also give family and job reasons for not being able to meet again.

What should I do as a guitarist to make the best first impression on the first jam session with musicians whom I met online? What should I do in order to ensure that I get a "meet once a week for band practice routine" going with them? Is there something that one should typically do or shouldn't do?

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narsilianshard
Veteran

Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:22 pm
Posts: 3068
Location: PDX
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2022 11:53 am 
 

I've encountered this a lot after trying to start various bands over the past few years. The truth of the matter is that a lot of people love playing music, but very few of them actually want to commit to being in a band. Even if personalities, music tastes, visions for the band, etc. all click perfectly, asking a stranger to commit to joining a band is a huge leap. Bands are expensive, mentally and physically exhausting, and it's like starting a whole new intense relationship with people you don't really know. Most people don't think about these things when they agree to meet up for a session.

For me, people that have worked out have shared some snippets of recorded music prior to meeting up. Then, at the first meetup, we spend most of the time just chatting rather than playing. Playing together with someone for the first time is super stressful, so I like to make it super chill. Play for 30 mins to an hour max, then spend the rest of the time just hanging out, feeling out their personality, and seeing if this is someone you'd like to spend a lot of time with.

Finding musicians to work with is super similar to dating. People are flaky and weird, and even if you get good vibes all around there's a solid chance they'll just ghost you or use the "sorry too busy" excuse because to a lot of people that's easier than communicating their true feelings. And at the end of the day, a lot of folks just want a "one night stand" (single jam session) to get an itch out of their system instead of wanting any sort of commitment. It's a lot of trial and error, but just like finding a romantic partner, you'll get there eventually, but it can take a lot of time and effort.

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 13303
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2022 1:46 pm 
 

Commisaur wrote:
I've also met a fair amount of drummers who had their kit in a storage unit whom I only met once. What is the purpose of having a storage unit that you pay monthly payments for if you don't have time to even jam with other people?


I know a few dudes that have this cause they can't play at their place where they live for numerous reasons and they still enjoy drumming and practicing. Only a couple still play in bands barely... like maybe once or twice a week.

A lot of the issue is probably not on you but it is a lot of effort and time management for people. Esp if they are older. Like for me for example, I don't want to jam after my work much anymore and if I do it has to be on my specific time scheduel and only plan on doing so for 1-2 hours cause I like to get home before traffic.

One way to help with this is fully discussing what you plan, as in these points:

musically a very specific style. Like don't just go "i want to play some original music" go in saying... I would like to play blackened death metal with more technical guitar riffs and emphasis on melodic soloing... that way someone can go okay I think I can keep up with that or offer up...something I don't think I can hang skill wise but would be more willing to do some more old school sounding black metal or whatever

fully have your schedule of when you want to practice/rehearse/write. for example. I'm free after 5pm to 8pm on XYZ weekdays and all day on the weekends. Also have planned out what you were hoping each session or rehearsal would run. 1-5 hours whatever

your overall goals for the band, just getting together to jam and release some energy, planning on playing shows and possibly touring, just more so recording and releasing

This all will help narrow down to people more in line with your goals. and this is all I run through even in the session and online bands I have worked with and for. As just recently told one I wasn't willing to go play some fest 8 hours away from me cause my whole point in joining and drumming was just to track and release material. I said I didn't want to do any shows unless some very special circumstances (a lot of money)
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coupdebleus
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2019 3:11 pm
Posts: 131
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2022 8:37 am 
 

narsilian nailed it with the dating comparison. It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong, you just gotta keep trying. Try using the experience you accrued to build a checklist and filter potential colleagues based on it before you even get to the jamming part.

Something I've learned from real life, is that it's easier to get a musical project going with someone if you've established a bond previously. I'm not talking about a life-long friendship, just knowing that there'll be a chat going on outside the rehearsal space is enough to keep the goal present in everyone's mind. Lastly, don't forget that building any kind of habit is very difficult, so be prepared to put your patience to a test.

As a testament to how flaky people can be with music, I've had clients pay premium rates for 24h turnarounds on varied projects that needed to be done ASAP, only to leave it unchecked for a week afterwards. You just gotta accept it as a part of the deal.
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