However, I think that it’s really important to connect with players in your community when possible. Whenever I make the effort to do this, I learn some new things, and find some possible growth areas to work on in my own playing.
Chances are pretty good that you don’t know everything there is to know about guitar, and other players can fill you in where you may have missed something. Even people that you may consider ‘lesser players’ may know a few things you don’t, so it’s best to approach these situations humbly.
Try to create an atmosphere conducive to learning. Ask questions. Jam on a common progression and watch what the other person does. Randy Rhoads was known to sit down with every guitar player he met and made it a point to learn something from them. As long as you are teachable, there is always something to learn.
Jamming puts you on the spot. You may not like this feeling, but the truth of the matter is that you should be putting yourself in more situations like these. As Marty Friedman says, there is no practice like playing live. Jamming may not be the same as playing live, but it’s good practice because you’re being put on the spot. You won’t get a second chance at your solo when you’re playing live. You only have one chance to pull it off. You may not be able to do things that you can do perfectly in your practice room on a stage, but that can be rather enlightening at the same time.
Sometimes it’s immensely productive just to have a good conversation. You may learn some new things about guitar, gear, or promotion techniques if you keep your ears open. You don’t need to go into these situations with an agenda, though it can’t hurt to be prepared with a few questions. If you don’t know how to approach players you don’t know, simply ask if you can have an hour of their time and offer to buy them lunch.
How have you connected with players in your community? Did you find it to be a positive and helpful experience? Have you learned new things from other players? Let us know in the comments section below.
Author: David Andrew Wiebe
David Andrew Wiebe has built an extensive career in songwriting, live performance, recording, session playing, production work, investing, and music instruction. In addition to helping musicians unlock their full potential, he also continues to maintain a touring schedule with multiple bands.