I have been very fortunate over the years in a number of ways.  As I look back on my history and the events I have been involved in, this rule became obvious to me.  I have always performed or created music with people that are much better than I am.  I did not do this by design, it just seemed to happen over and over.  One of my favorite bands I have been involved with for many years is Euphoria.  Think of all the adjectives you know to describe excellence and you can use them all for the members of the band.  They invited me to run sound for them and that is how I got the nerve to be a sound guy.  As they played out and I ran sound and helped with musical toys as a music store manager, we became great friends and shared a real passion for great music.  When the keyboard player decided to work on other projects, they found out I played keyboards and asked me if I wanted to take his place.  I cannot tell you how much courage it took to say yes.  I had never really played out before and we were into progressive rock and really complicated songs – many you heard clips from the studio demo posted earlier.

I knew I was not ready for prime time, but I got my keyboard gear together – practiced on my own every spare minute I had and forced myself to show up for practice.  I had big shoes to fill.  To their credit each of the band members were extremely patient!  The knew it would take me some time to get to their level.  Some songs on our set list were replaced with songs that had less emphasis on the keyboard until I could get my chops up to speed.  Some we had to drop altogether.  But they all worked with me and did not make me feel like I was slowing them down or not up to par.  Had it not been for their great attitude and flexibility, I may have thrown in the towel and called it quits before it got started.

The only better piece of advice in this area I think is just as important is to always play with great people!  Band life can be hard work, physically challenging and demanding and at the same time can be disastrous

Comments
  1. knschultz says:

    This really applies to all aspects of life. Thanks for sharing and reminding us what it means to have good people around you. We all could use more of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remembered in band, since my 6th grade year, I would always have competition with someone in the clarinet section. My Mom told me to practice at least an hour to two hours a day just so that I can get better and beat the higher chairs. Man, those were the good old days, playing Ole Reliable and steadily moving up on professional reeds and just enjoying the competition in the clarinet section. Then my junior and senior year I switched over to trombone and all the guys was my competition, both playing wise and leadership. But I managed to make leadership by proving everyone wrong that I can work hard just like everyone and probably surpass the cocky kids.

    So many changes, and the thought of band still rings in my heart and mind. Gotta get a new trombone and tune up Ole Reliable just so that I can join college marching band, and maybe DCI.

    Thank you for this read!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Healthy competition is great! If everyone works together to create something and enjoy the challenges and accomplishments of everyone in the team it is amazing what we can accomplish. There is no substitute for hard work and determination! When you become comfortable with Ole Reliable and take on new challenges, it is amazing. You have the right attitude so keep proving them wrong!! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is excellent! Thanks Mike!

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Very kind, thank you for taking the time to visit and share your thoughts. I hope this helps others achieve their goals without going through the learning phase to discover what is important.

      Like

  4. Great advice. I think the reason great musicians are great is because they know how to listen without envy or judgement or rancour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Sometimes I can tell right away if some one ‘gets it’ or not. You obviously get it! That is the ideal group or team or environment to learn and grow. You already know this secret! Thank you very kindly. I appreciate you sharing your observations.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Nik says:

    Great advice which holds true in many aspects of life. When I played guitar in bands I was lucky enough to always have better musicians around me to bounce off, when I played sports I always did it against better players and now that I write I constantly test myself and learn from better and more experienced writers. Never be intimidated but always be up for the challenge and ready to learn.

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Exactly! You cannot thrive in this environment if you are intimidated or discouraged by other players/performers. In that regard I have been very lucky as well. I was supported and friendships grew stronger. “….up for the challenge and ready to learn”. Well said. See, it has worked for you already! Thank you a bunch. Great attitude.

      Like

  6. Great, succinct piece of advice, and one often overlooked, as simple as it is

    I’ve learnt my lessons in this regard rather recently, and wished I’d learnt them earlier

    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Understood!! Sometimes the simple things in life are the important ones. I appreciate your viewpoint. But congratulations, you learned what many still have not figured out. With many it is a game of competition to be the best. I would have gotten no where with that game LOL!
      Thanks also for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Tom Robinson says:

    “Healthy competition.” When does that ever happen? In business, competition refuses to be healthy. The big fish eat the little fish to monopolize markets. Maybe music is different. The consumer has choices much harder to channel. We can get our music online, wi-fi, or blue tooth. But we cannot freely choose what we hear. We need sources, providers, and platforms to provide the music we consume.

    Like

    • midimike says:

      When focused on a clear target healthy peer pressure framed in an encouraging and sharing structure, can achieve quite a lot of good and on good days do this effectively. In business this is attempted, but the motive is always flawed so the results are predictably worthless!
      I agree with the need for more channels. Slow coming, but there are beginnings.

      Like

  8. Tom Robinson says:

    when DOES that ever happen?

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      I have been the fortunate one. Whether learning early guitar and music theory from you to years with Euphoria and Crash Landing, I have been able to learn from some very talented people. I did learn with all patience and encouragement provided and there was a lot of work. What I can do takes effort and practice when others make it look very easy.

      Like

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