Note from the author: The last installment of our #Eightfor8 series is the post that introduced this blog to thousands of musicians across the globe. When I first published it in 2015, the blog was only a few months out from being rebranded under the name God and Gigs, and had gained couple of hundred hits. Within a week, over 40,000 visitors had read the post. The popularity of this tongue-in-cheek look at musicians’ excuses helped shape the God and Gigs book and movement.
We musicians have a language all our own. Whether speaking about chords, melodies, songs, etc., we tend to understand each other a lot better than the non-musician would. However, in rehearsals there may be some miscommunication between musicians, especially when it comes to how we prepared. Here’s a translation guide to the five most common excuses heard at rehearsals.
- “I didn’t have time to listen to the music.”
Translation: I don’t take this gig / band / job seriously enough to prioritize learning the music. Although you gave me the music to study, it never occurred to me that I should sit down for an extended period of time and practice it. Feel free to call someone else next time that will spend time preparing for the gig. I’ll be home watching Empire and wondering why no one is hiring me anymore.
2. “This isn’t the way I usually play this song.”
Translation: I’m musically stuck in one style of playing and I don’t have the ability to hear things in new ways. I’m also lazy and learning a new way of playing this song would mean I have to practice. (See #1) I would rather complain about the arrangement rather than take direction and focus on flowing with the band.
3. “I forgot my pedal / amp / cord / equipment / cymbals / etc. “
Translation: You mean to play my instrument, I have to bring the pieces that make up the instrument? That’s news to me. Please call someone else next time that knows what parts he needs to play the instrument I claim to know how to play.
4. “This key doesn’t work for me.”
Translation: I was unaware that there is more than one key in music. I was perfectly happy playing in the first key I learned back in elementary school – I think it’s C Major? After all, I just use my transpose button / capo and I’m all set when there’s another key. Too much work to actually learn to play in all 12 keys. (Again, see #1)
5. “I’ll know it by the time we play the gig / service.”
Translation: I’m so confident in my own abilities that I decided that this rehearsal was a waste of time. After all, why rehearse when I never play a wrong note? Well, ok, I play lots of wrong notes, but I don’t actually consider that a problem. It’s only a problem for the rest of the band that has no idea what I’ll do when the actual performance rolls around.
I hope these translations help you see these common phrases for what they are – excuses that hide a lack of musicianship and professionalism. Ban these phrases from your musical vocabulary and you’ll have much better rehearsals and performances.
This post concludes our #Eightfor8 series in which we’ve shared our most popular articles. Anytime you want to find them in the future, just type #Eightfor8 in the search bar. I’ve found immense joy and fulfillment over the last eight years of blogging and writing, and I’m looking forward to sharing more inspiration, advice and encouragement to my fellow artists, whether through this blog, the God and Gigs book, or through our online classes. Thanks for being a part of this great community of faith-focused artists! – ACP