Learn From My Mistakes (advice for beginning musicians)


“The best advice I can give anybody – whether it’s with an instrument or their vocal instrument – is to find a place [to practice] where you don’t worry about any kind of outside opinion. It’s hard for people to get involved in art when they’re searching for someone else’s approval. As soon as somebody can learn how to grade themselves, whether they’re singing or playing guitar, that’s the best thing. Then it doesn’t matter if someone else notices what you’re dooing, because you’ll notice it and you’ll feel it. The worst thing you can do is anything to please anybody else.

BEN WEINMAN: (advice for beginning guitarists)

“First, slow down your right hand so you can catch up with your left. Most guitar players just play really fast with their right hand, but there is no real synchronization with the left. Next, be able to change strings and start on either a downstroke or an upstroke at any speed without flinching. Hold your pick exactly the same way when you play slow that you hold it when you play fast. Having to readjust your hand in order to play riffs at different speeds is a big setback.


“Play as many types of music as possible, so that you don’t find yourself in a situation where you can only play one type of song. I’m a bass player now, but I still play the guitar at home a lot, and the drums a lot as well. Don’t limit yourself to one kind of music or even one instrument. It’s nice to lift as many restrictions as possible.”


“No matter what, if you want to be a musician, it [takes] a lot of luck. But you can’t get that luck without showing that you deserve it. On the technical side, you need to practice, practice, and practice. It sounds really obvious, but it’s really true. The people that care about being good – that really strive to be good – those are the ones who ultimately succeed. Be in a band for the right reason: to be in a great band that has something very important to say; not to be famous or meet chicks or get cheap drugs. You have to do it because you really enjoy performing for people and sending out a message.


“Complete everything you start and everything you set out to do. That’s my advice. I think I figured it out late, but… If you’re going to talk the talk, you have to follow through on it. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I should really practice.’ Just practice. Don’t think about it. Don’t talk about it. Just do it.”


“Just practice. I think that’s what I need to do more of. I don’t practice that often. I’m always trying to write stuff. I should actually just play the guitar more.”


“It’s not so much about pushing limits and it is about pushing yourself. Just learn what feels comfortable for you and if that works, try to educate yourself on it. Teach yourself. That’s the only thing I can talk about. I don’t know any other way of doing it.”


“You really have to believe in what you’re doing. You don’t have to be afraid of the judgement of other people, so try to experiment with different things. Women, do not be afraid to show your femininity. There will always somebody saying, ‘Hey, you’re using your body!’ and stuff like that. And no matter what you do, someone will always have something to criticize. So don’t care about the others. Do whatever you like and whatever you really feel.”


“This is going to sound kind of weird, but it’s all [about what’s] in your heart. If you feel music, you are music, and it just comes out of you. That’s pretty much it. And usually the more you drink, the better it sounds. Your riffs become freakin’ gold as soon as you drink a couple of beers.”


“Music is to be enjoyed. It’s an art, it’s an expression, and it should be played with love and respect – and with huge amounts of fun, of course! What music is not is a vehicle for fame, recognition or notoriety. So in short, just have fun with it and keep it real.”


“Don’t goof off too much while you’re playing live. A lot of time, people will be hanging out by the drum riser while we’re playing, and I’ll just kind of goof around and make faces at them and stuff and totally lose track of what I’m doing, then play an extra beat or forget where I am in the song. That screws everything up, and it just sucks.”


“Don’t think that people are going to be impressed by how many notes you’re playing (on bass). They won’t be. Everything you do will probably go completely unnoticed. It can be very difficult, especially if you play in a ‘progressive’ band, not to want to provide a certain amount of shred. But you have to realize that your job is to lay down the bass and the base and nurture the chords first and foremost.”



“It’s important to explore different styles, whether it’s latin or even black metal – which I think some of the best drummers play – and to study a lot and listen a lot. I probably listen to music more than I play it.”


“Try to listen to as much music as possible because for us as musicians, it’s like reading a book – and you couldn’t go and do surgery without having the knowledge and background of the people who came before you. It’s so essential to understand how things broke from the blues to rock in the ‘50s to punk and metal. It’s just really important to me to know the roots of all this music we have now and understand the process of how we got to where we are today.”


“The one mistake I made when I was younger was that I didn’t practice enough. I really wish I would’ve grabbed my instrument and really taken it to heart. So just stick to your guns and practice a lot. When I was younger, I played drums in the jazz band and felt like it was the first real instrument I had accomplished. But by the time I hit eighth or ninth grade, I got really cocky, so don’t let your ego get too big because that can be a problem, too.”

SOURCE: Alternative Press Magazine


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