Surround Yourself With Better Musicians

Whaddya mean I suck?!?

   I’ve had a lot of guys tell me that they think they suck badly after they hear me play. I know, I’m stroking my ego quite a bit there but now that I’ve been playing for so many years I’m a pretty good guitar player. The thing is, I remember when I was just starting out playing in bands. I felt so far behind the others that I didn’t think there was any way I’d ever be as good as the guys I was playing with. It would have been very easy for me to say “That’s it, I suck so I’m hanging it up and quitting.” but I didn’t do that. I kept fighting to get better. When you play with other musicians that are better than you are then you can use the situation to your advantage.

   The most important thing you can do is get motivated to be as good as the people around you. You can use them for inspiration and also as a resource for instruction. Almost every musician I have ever met has been extremely happy to answer any questions I’ve ever had. There are a few jerks but by and large, musicians love to talk about what they do. I’ve learned more simply by playing with other musicians than I ever have from taking lessons. Anybody can improve their abilities by practicing and if you have other musicians around that know more than you then you have an extreme advantage.

   I have a cousin who’s a musician and he gave me a great piece of advice that I’ve tried to follow and it’s really worked out well. He said when you’re forming a band, try to be the worst musician in the band. What he meant was make sure the other guys can play better than you, are better organized and know more about playing in a band. It sounds like you’re setting yourself up for failure but the truth of it is, you are in control of the worst person in the band. Believe it or not that’s an enviable position. It’s easier to make yourself better than try to make someone else be a better overall musician.

   I’ve been on both sides of the coin, I’ve been the best musician in the band and I’ve been the worst musician in the band. I’ll tell you, it’s a lot more frustrating being the best than it is being the worst. So if you think you suck pretty bad and you’re bringing the band down, then suck it up and practice. One day you’ll look back and realize that you grew more in that situation than any other situation you’ve been in.

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

3 thoughts on “Surround Yourself With Better Musicians”

  1. Thanks for the advice. I’ll make sure to apply it to myself.

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