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How do you Evaluate Yourself--Spin off question of the day inspired by Fogman


Pappy P

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I liked Fogman's Question of the Day Yesterday.

It made me think of another question.

 

I always want to know what people think of my playing, but I never thought about trying to image myself sitting in an audience watching me play.

 

All the letter/memo/report writing classes I took in college instruct you to think about your readers when writing.

 

Does anyone take this approach when writing a song, or do you write a song that sounds good to you?

 

But the real question of the day is:

 

How do you evaluate (self-evaluate) your own playing or song writing skills?

 

--It's too easy to say someone else sucks, this may be a harder question to answer, if you were to ask yourself, "Do I suck (at guitar)?"

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Originally posted by Pappy Pappadopalus:

How do you evaluate (self-evaluate) your own playing or song writing skills?

 

--It's too easy to say someone else sucks, this may be a harder question to answer, if you were to ask yourself, "Do I suck (at guitar)?"

I KNOW I suck at guitar, which is a bit painful to admit, but then, such is life.

 

How do I evaluate myself? I listen to my own recordings and jam with other players. And they're almost always better than me.

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I am a very good rock and blues player! I do not create much original material(lead lines/voicing) in my own eyes but other players say that I do? I hardley ever make mistakes on stage because I prepair through practice. I have good stage presence from playing in front of audiences for many years. I'm a good steady journeyman guitarplayer.
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i am a Guitar mastermind and genius!

seriously, i can't figure out what people like. there are times i thought i was sucky and recieved compliments later. and times i was expecting someone to point out some cool thing i did and had blank faces looking back at me.

i can hold my own in a nasty, hammer handed attitude rythym mode. and times where my soloing inspired laughter. i am a quiet guy, and i need to be inspired to really play. i have no idea what people think of me. i am a fairly decent writer of riffs and twisting simple crap into clever stuff. mainly because i get into the chords and inversions available. i rarely practice lead because i love locking into a groovy crunch.

i am the best ME i can be. and i like it. if some one doesn't, i can't help it. we all have a position that we shine in and i appreciate anyone who plays in thier own voice.

i do however get brain farts when trying gear in stores. i usually draw a blank and wonder what to play.

the guys at the local spot must think i am an idiot. :D

i am no technician by any means but there are things i try that sometimes f''k up other players.

i am really into chords and inversions as well as playing with intervals and double stops.

i wish i would break free of the pedal tone riff thing i developed in the eighties.

75% of the riffs i write are pedal tone riffs with a poopload of double stops creating the melody.

 

and.. I like to rock!

i have a soft side were melody is predominant.

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Originally posted by Pappy Pappadopalus:

I always want to know what people think of my playing, but I never thought about trying to image myself sitting in an audience watching me play.

 

How do you evaluate (self-evaluate) your own playing or song writing skills?

 

--It's too easy to say someone else sucks, this may be a harder question to answer, if you were to ask yourself, "Do I suck (at guitar)?"

I don't get to see myself (video) hardly at all. When I do, I see that I need to smile more.

 

Playingwise, I, as a rythym player, I try to hold the song together and hit clean chords. When the song is successful and bandmates are pleased, I know I contributed adequately.

 

I must say, that the dozen or so times, I've heard myself playing, I was surprised on how well I did. I don't have the confidence of ellwood, but no one can tell me I stink. At LEAD guitar, I'll stink up the joint though...

Mikegug

 

www.facebook.com/theresistancemusic

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LOL!!! Frog Man! I've been called foggy, fogger, but never frog man! That too funny!

 

Well cool question! Based on my response to my own question yesterday, I will use the Golf analogy.

Playing is a battle within one's self. Who anyone else does is irrelevant. The same goes with people's opinions.

 

For me & guitar, I know I'm at the bottom of the food chain. I have days where I think "hey! that was pretty cool, not bad!" then there's other days where it's like i'm Sh-T!

I don't gig nor have any intention of doing so. I play for my own personal leisure. I am very hard on myself though. If someone overheard me playing and gave me a compliment, I would dismiss it because they don't play and/or know music. I hope that some day before I die, that I can reach a level where I would accept the title of musician (not that I am)

Remember that most artists are very hard on themselves and see the imperfections that the untrained would never notice. They therefore strive to further their craft without stepping back to embrace their accomplishments!

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Not to get too zen about it or anything, but time spent trying to figure out if you are good at anything is time wasted. A better question is "Do I enjoy this or not?", because if you enjoy it, it will enrich your life.

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Originally posted by: Picker:

 

Not to get too zen about it or anything, but time spent trying to figure out if you are good at anything is time wasted. A better question is "Do I enjoy this or not?", because if you enjoy it, it will enrich your life.

 

:idea: dag nab-it. Why can't I ever say something cool like that.

 

Right on Man. :thu:

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While I appreciate your comment, Picker, this is, IMHO, a great question. If all you do is play for your own enjoyment, then yes, all that matters is that you enjoy your playing. But most of us play for many other reasons in addition to sheer enjoyment.

 

For those who are contracted players, it's a very apt question. They must honestly assess the competition, both in playing, possibly look and definitely how they gel with other players.

 

For those in one band. Are you providing technique and emotion that hold up your end of the band? If not, who can you look to for inspiration and knowledge to fill the holes in your playing.

 

I'm pretty good at what I do. The narrow definition of what my fingerstyle prowess encompasses I cover very well. But realistically, I feel my range is.. well.. pretty narrow.

 

My electric guitar chops are pretty sorry. I was never great and haven't really worked on them over the years.

 

Put that together with my mixing work around a plethora of fantastic musicians in Nashville and I like to think I'm pretty humble about my playing. (The word, "intimidated" comes to mind. :freak: ) But I still love the compliments from players I know could wipe the floor with me. ;)

It's easiest to find me on Facebook. Neil Bergman

 

Soundclick

fntstcsnd

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Originally posted by Guitarzan:

i am a Guitar mastermind and genius!

seriously, i can't figure out what people like. there are times i thought i was sucky and recieved compliments later. and times i was expecting someone to point out some cool thing i did and had blank faces looking back at me.

i can hold my own in a nasty, hammer handed attitude rythym mode. and times where my soloing inspired laughter. i am a quiet guy, and i need to be inspired to really play. i have no idea what people think of me. i am a fairly decent writer of riffs and twisting simple crap into clever stuff. mainly because i get into the chords and inversions available. i rarely practice lead because i love locking into a groovy crunch.

i am the best ME i can be. and i like it. if some one doesn't, i can't help it. we all have a position that we shine in and i appreciate anyone who plays in thier own voice.

i do however get brain farts when trying gear in stores. i usually draw a blank and wonder what to play.

the guys at the local spot must think i am an idiot. :D

i am no technician by any means but there are things i try that sometimes f''k up other players.

i am really into chords and inversions as well as playing with intervals and double stops.

i wish i would break free of the pedal tone riff thing i developed in the eighties.

75% of the riffs i write are pedal tone riffs with a poopload of double stops creating the melody.

 

and.. I like to rock!

i have a soft side were melody is predominant.

Your crazy Mr I'm the Mastermind around here.

I'll have to say I'm right up there with Stevie

jay Vibe....so step off ;)

The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.
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This is a good question. I think that in order to evaluate yourself, you have to have some goal in mind. I'm contantly recording myself just to identify my many weak points. I do this pretty much on a daily basis. I typically pick a song and record it cold the very first time without any practice. Then I'll wait and listen to it the next day. This way, I'm removed from the moment and can better judge the good & bad points. I also let other people listen to my playing just to get feedback. That's why I bother you guys so much with my posts in the 'Share you Music' thread. I try to always assume a positive intent when hearing criticism. Even though I know I can't please everyone, I still take all comments into consideration. Sometime just a couple of words can make you see something about your playing that you hadn't been aware of.

 

Paul

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Fun question. The best way to evaluate myself is to hit the record button. Whether its playing or writing. I am listening to see if what I think I am playing is what is coming out. Is it in tune and in time? Is the tone and dynamics what I thought it was. I will take advice from people on what I need to improve on, but I am happy with the level of my playing at this point in my life. I always want to get better and especially learn more about music, but I think I know what my weak points are by now.

 

Songwriting to me is personal enough ( within the group context if its a collaboration) that I don't really compare it to what others do. Again I will listen to anyones opinion but I am not writing songs or playing to get on the radio or be a rock star. I play for my own entertainment. If someone else enjoys my playing I am very happy, but that is just icing on the cake.

 

Performing is another matter. I am a dorky looking guy to begin with. If I was to jump around I would look like a circus freak even more than I do. I also get stage fright pretty bad at times. At that point I just try to get through the songs without completly freezing up. When I was playing out alot I got to the point of at least enjoying myself on stage and could get into the music. I will always ask a few friends how the sound is or if anything needs to be fixed, and have gotten some great advice over the years that way. But, I will never really be a great performer, I am just to introverted for that.

 

I assume I am doing ok, I have always gotten positive feedback for my playing whether its at a gig or at a party (my mom even likes my classical stuff now hehe, unlike the rock music). People aren't going to come up and tell me I suck to my face, so I just self evaluate my playing anyway. Again, listening and recording always let you dig deep to self criticize where you are at that point in your development. Everyone has different goals though. If you are trying to be a professional musician you will have to play things people enjoy alot more than someone that plays whatever they want.

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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

While I appreciate your comment, Picker, this is, IMHO, a great question. If all you do is play for your own enjoyment, then yes, all that matters is that you enjoy your playing. But most of us play for many other reasons in addition to sheer enjoyment.

Not to be contrarian, FS, but an honest self-evaluation of one's skills is made a bit problematic, if not outright suspect, due to perspective, or more accurately, the lack of it. Example; James Hung(or whatever that poor guy from American Idol is named). He sucks as a singer, but he doesn't know it (or didn't). But what do you wanna bet he made more money last year than either of us?

 

I suspect there are many more folks who look down on their skills more than they should, but there are many who assess their skills much higher than they should, and both are due to a simple lack of perpective.

 

I maintain that, whether you are a studio pro with years of experience, or a beginner who doesn't know how to tune a guitar, the most important question to ask one's self is not "how good am I at this?" but rather "How much do I enjoy this?". If you don't really enjoy it, there are much easier ways to make a vastly better living. If you really do enjoy it, you will develop MAD skills.

 

But really, if you are trying to make a living at it, the question certainly isn't "How good am I?" but rather "Can I sell this to a paying audience?"

Any other concern is either artistic or egotistic, and neither of those puts that new pair of shoes on baby's feet. Once again, James Hung is not an accomplished vocalist, but his version of "She Bangs" made him a lot of money...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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i'm in Pauldil's camp ~ the only reliable measurement is setting and achieving goals. it enables you to get away from the emotional attachment and validation trap that is so easy to fall into. it also creates concrete ideas to measure against rather than some irrational "i suck" or "im great" mentality.

 

i also totally agree with Picker up to a point. a little self evaluation is good, but ultimately if it doesn't bring you joy, or you aren't expressing joy, it's time to find a new hobby.

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This is a good question because it applies to everyone that plays an instrument. As for myself, I don't have any of the elusive 'Look-at-me-I'm-Playing-The-Guitar' gene. None. Combine that with some inherited shyness and you ain't got a performer in me. But I've been hanging around the guitar for about 40 years and find it interesting. Got a degree! Whoo hoo! Some have said they enjoyed what I've played. But if I would evaluate myself I'd say I have trouble with timing and an appalling lack of interest in musical history. But Pappy, you've got quite a collection of recordings there. I encourage everyone to check them out. See ya later! S. :)
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it`s hard to be objective, even if you listen to or watch yourself. You`re not reacting to yourself as a stranger.

I also think that, as a paid musician or even just a part of a band you are always going to have moments where you have to play things you personally don`t like or worse-as long as the happy times outweigh those, you`re in the right field.

Probably I can be pretty objective about a few things. I have a certain amount of talent, and that`s not necessarily good because it makes me lazy about getting better educated. If I have a steady practice schedule I can do some things that make people go `whoa babayy`, but if someone drops a lead sheet in front of me and I`ve never played the song before, I have to say, let me take this home, I`ll get back to you.

I started out playing electric so my soloing tends to be stronger than my comping-that`s also a symptom of my deficiencies in training. The fact that I have one or two other pursuits that I take as seriously as music has gotten in the way somewhat, I only have so much time available.

But once I learn something I can play it, even if it`s really challenging.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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If you ask me to rate myself, I'd say I'm a fair player. If you asked other people, I think you'd get a pretty broad range of responses.

 

I've talked to people during a set break and some asked me how I got to play such and such song so well. And at the end of that same night had someone in our band say "well you sure screwed that up!".

 

I've made my share of mistakes during songs. Sometimes people don't notice too much. And sometimes you can see it in people's faces in the crowd ( :freak: ) or you get nasty looks from your bandmates.

 

I've had praise from producers and composers from session work and I've gotten dismissed from sessions because my playing wasn't to their liking.

 

So it can be hard to tell how good or how bad you are in an objective way. I know from listening to some of our band's old recordings that we weren't very good. I have only heard a few "professional" recordings where I thought I was a better player than the person playing. To my ears they usually play better than me.

Born on the Bayou

 

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some of the mistakes I`ve made have been from bad choices, rather than bad playing. I have a tape of myself doing an original song live-well the recorded version uses three different guitar sounds, so I just programmed three different patches into my effects unit. But trying to do fast switching between them and sing at the same time-it was quite a mess. I was also dumb enough to try to do `Black Water` by the Doobies by myself-in front of a pretty good sized crowd too.

Some people have nightmares about public humiliation, I think it would be redundant for me.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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LPCustom:

 

You must have very thick skin. I would be crushed if excused from a recording session. Only because I wish I could be a studio musician and quit this day job. But I would be crushed if the good folks here at Centex canned me.

 

Stevo:

 

Thanks for listening Man.

 

Skipclone1:

 

I was using mp digitech rp300a while I was filling in for a guitarist at my church. During rehersal i kept stepping on one of the buttons by accident, switching over to some rauchy, face melting model I use for fun.

 

I promised them I would rearrange the presets so that would not happen in church. I did that and lost one of my favorite models (one that I forgot to make notes on).

 

So far I'm up to two live performances and am hungry for more. I just want to make sure I am playing appropriately to the gig and delivering the expected performance.

 

When recording I do it for fun, but it is still music I created and want to feel good about. (And of course I want people to listen and say: "Wow man, that really doesn't suck, but you should buy yourself some better equipment"

 

 

Everyone: Great responses.

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Originally posted by Pappy Pappadopalus:

LPCustom:

You must have very thick skin. I would be crushed if excused from a recording session. Only because I wish I could be a studio musician and quit this day job. But I would be crushed if the good folks here at Centex canned me.

I just learned a long time ago that life's too short to take crap like that personally. I was back about four days later doing another session for another customer with the same producer. No big deal. I've worked off and on with Clark for about 8 years.

 

FYI, I don't make much money for sessions. Most of it is just jingles and CDs of bands that never get published (and most never even get past the demo).

Born on the Bayou

 

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Pappy-

That is awful mon, I don`t have notes on my custom presets either-at least not for the unit I use in Japan.

I agree with LPCustom, rejection comes with the territory to an extent. Same with film/TV auditions, literary work, etc. It`s not just about your level of skill, sometimes people have a specific sound/feel/technique in mind. There are some fingerpicking styles which, well I would just walk out before I got fired.

Same old surprises, brand new cliches-

 

Skipsounds on Soundclick:

www.soundclick.com/bands/pagemusic.cfm?bandid=602491

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This is an important thread, I think, for us guitarists and any artist.

 

Hey Ellwood, I wish I had your attitude years ago-- perhaps I should be wishing for the skill to go along with it :thu: but the attitude is as important.

 

I can never disagree with FunkJazz, even when he is agreeing with posters above. Picker and Pauldi are right on, as are many others.

 

I have always been particularly harsh on myself as a guitarist. I came to guitar as an already fairly decent bassist, wanting to understand more about chords and theory and writing. I worked off the Armed Services Hymnal book turning four part harmony into guitar parts where sometimes I could only play two voices at a time. I went on to trying to understand chord charts and playing through "chord encylopedias" and things. I was copping riffs off old Muddy Water's tapes and John Lee Hooker.

 

Eventually I found I could play a bit, but there were huge gaps in my playing. Many were around technic, but others were around the path that I took. When I finally took lessons I eliminated all the technical problems I could, filled in my knowledge gap as best I could, and became a much more complete guitarist. I remained a rather unique player though in that no one I knew sounded like me or approached things like me. I studied with a few classical teachers and jazz teachers, always more interested in understanding than say in coping someone's riffs, at least after my delta blues phase anyway.

 

IN college I was lucky in that there were a whole lotta guitarists that all played different styles-- although in NJ at that time various flavors of Metal were what most guitarists were doing at least that I knew-- so we shared a lot of info. I alwasy got huge compliments on my playing was always showing people how I did things or what I was thinking. To me everything I did was based on a pretty good fingerpicking technic and just a lot more chord and theory knowledge than they had. I was more impressed with other guy's shredding than with my own playing.

 

One guy gave me a copy of Czerny's "School of Velocity" and I played through that stuff a lot. Still I never felt like I was "shredding" or even inclined to express myself that way. I didn't have a band in college, I gigged on the classical a lot, and jammed constantly with everyone I could. I got a lot of compliments and "respect" but never felt it.

 

After many years of this empty feeling about my playing, I was introduced by a teacher to the idea that since I play lefty but "am" righty that my analytical side of my brain is on the fingerboard and complete effects how I play. I've sort of run with that idea in that I accept I'm and the guitarist I am. I know that I can learn what ever part I have to learn for the most part, I can get it to sound like it should or like I want it to, I can create any number of parts for any given situation, and I'm prett happy with what I do when left to my own devices. I still feel a little pressure in up tempo "driving" type tunes to shred and I can't tell if I'm playing "what I think is appropriate" or what IS appropriate. I've not gotten like "called out" on it though. They only odd comment I've gotten was that I "always try to play something original", which I took to mean in a phrase-to-phrase context. When I was younger I was a lot more comfortable repeating phrases and building off repeated phrases. I've sort of gone to looking at melodic contours and phrase lengths and tried to find assymetrical balances, where each phrase builds on the idea of a previous one so that a solo might sound like a dissertation-- kinda like I write and like I think I guess-- and sometimes that works and sometimes it might not. I think when I get back to playing out or jamming or audtioning-- which might be tonight actually, so what the hell am I doing typing-- I'll need to get away from dissertations and back to at least some judicious use of repeatition.

 

Sorry if I'm like giving too much pesonal information, but it is tough to separate criticism and self-criticism fromt the paths we've followed to get to where we are.

 

The only way to get away from the self-defeating kind of self criticism is to set goals-- as was said above. In engineering and heavy construction I learned the phrase "plan your work, work you plan" and we as artists should stick more closely to this than they do. Our skills are gained through problem solving. The more we break down what we're doing and find out what is going wrong the more we move foward. What goes for some technical glitch goes for phrasing habits and interpretation to over-playing to knowing when to to sit-out or to do anything. Progess should be see from week to week at least on something, day to day for say any given measure in tune we're learning where there is a trouble spot. I remember when I was learning Ponce's Sonata Mexican first movement (I never learned the others, and never had the first movement "performance ready but I could read throught OK) and saying "Man, I'll never play this", but I knew to attack each problem and break them all down one at a time. I got it down and it was easier than I thought-- really nice and fun piece too BTW.

 

If time and our own scheduals prevent that, then be fair about it. I'm at a point in my life where my time for playing amounts to maintainace and I will get back to heavy playing when I get past a few big projects I have.

 

We can't beat ourselves up for what we can't do, we should hold ourselves accountable for taking the time to solve the little problems that lead to the things we can't do. This is the same approach used in construction that we should use in music and is the same problem-solving that chess players use and even figure skaters, we should apply these same ideas to job interview skills, to dating and socializing, to food shopping and everything we do. Ultimately it is akin to "the scientific method" in a very broad manner of speaking.

check out some comedy I've done:

http://louhasspoken.tumblr.com/

My Unitarian Jihad Name: Brother Broadsword of Enlightened Compassion.

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My song writing skills aren't all that great. My arranging skills are decent, and I can come up with good parts to an existing song or melody. I can play well enough, but can't sight-read music worth a shite.

 

Identifying with your audience should be the primary concern with any artist. Who is your audience? If you're making music for music's sake, then do what you like. If you're playing for 50k screaming fans, then by all means, play for them.

BlueStrat

a.k.a. "El Guapo" ;)

 

...Better fuzz through science...

 

http://geocities.com/teleman28056/index.html

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