As I’ve mentioned before, we all really, in the end, teach ourselves, and it’s largely the experiences along the way that really lend themselves to this process. Having never really read music, I always had to rely on my ear, and gaining knowledge wherever I could along the way.
Putting yourself into a band-oriented situation is so critically important, as I can recall great players who I knew when I was also a developing player, who were extremely talented, but for one reason or another, never really saw the light of day, career-wise!
This can be very sad, because I firmly believe that it you really think you’ve got “it”, you must make yourself be heard. Of course, these days, one can do this through many mediums, including the internet, etc., but there is still nothing that can beat the live interaction between real musicians.
Many players these days, both old and young, love to go to “open mike nights”, and pre-planned “jams” that are solely designed to get folks playing together. If you can get past many of the overblown egos that seem to reside at these events, and overcome your own level of shyness or intimidation, you can really gain a great deal from these kinds of experiences.
Most of all, it’s always a question of confidence, and never forget that sometimes, it just may be a question of whether or not you “gel” with the other players either from a musical, or personality viewpoint.
I know that back in those days when I would thrust myself into many musical situations at a very young age, I was extremely nervous sometimes, but always quickly channeled that nervousness into positivity.
The saddest thing of all is when students come to me stating that they just don’t want to be intimidated or feel somehow inadequate at these gatherings. It’s sad, because that should not be their focus at all, and it obviously reflects on some negative past experience they may have run into at some jam, or open mike night. Whatever it might be, please keep YOURself in control of what you feel capable of, but most of all, remain as confident as you possibly can be, especially within the confines of your own abilities. If you do this, you’ll always be able to make MORE out of LESS!!