Musicians: You’re passionate, creative, and sometimes a little bit… annoying. But don’t worry, we’re not here to judge (much). We’re just here to help you be a better gigging musician.
Oh, the joys of playing in a band. It’s a great way to express yourself creatively, collaborate with others, and have a lot of fun.
But it can also be a breeding ground for annoying habits.
You know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever been in a band.
Maybe you’ve had a bandmate who’s always late to rehearsals, or maybe you’ve had to deal with someone who’s always trying to hog the spotlight.
No matter what the habit is, it can be really frustrating. But don’t worry; you’re not alone.
In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the top 13 most annoying musician habits and give you some unmissable tips on how to deal with them.
1. Noodling loudly between songs
Ugh, the noodler. The bane of every band’s existence. You know, the dude who can’t seem to stop playing, even when everyone else is trying to talk or get ready for the next song.
If you’re a noodler, please stop. It’s rude, it’s annoying, and it’s making your bandmates secretly want to throttle you.
🤭 Here’s some sage advice on how to avoid noodling loudly between songs:
- Be mindful of your volume. If you’re going to noodle, do it quietly. No one wants to hear your loud minor pentatonic scale at 357bpm.
- Think about your bandmates. They’re trying to concentrate, and your noodling is making it impossible. Be a good friend and shut up.
- Don’t be a diva. If someone asks you to stop noodling, don’t get all huffy about it. Just say, “Sure, no problem,” and shut up.
2. Constantly tapping on things
Drummers, drummers, drummers. You’re the backbone of the band, but you can also be the most annoying. Especially when you’re constantly tapping on things.
I get it. You love rhythm. It’s in your blood. But you don’t need to tap out that flam-paradiddle-diddle on everything you see. It’s driving everyone else crazy.
🤭 Here are a few tips on how to avoid being the annoying tap-on-everything drummer:
- Be mindful of your surroundings. If you’re in a public place, like a canteen, try to keep your tapping to a minimum. People are trying to eat their sandwiches in peace.
- Get a fidget toy. This will give you something to tap on that won’t annoy everyone else.
- Start a drumming club. Then you can tap on things all you want, and no one will care.
3. Turning up late and using ridiculous excuses
“The dog ate my plectrums.” “The other half hid my watch and took out the batteries from all the clocks in the house.” “My car broke down so I had to kayak in and I was suddenly attacked by a huge man-eating pelican.”
Just admit that you don’t respect your bandmates’ time. You’re not the only one with a busy life. Everyone else has to make sacrifices to get to rehearsal on time.
Here’s a tip: if you’re running late, text or call someone. Don’t just show up an hour late and expect everyone to be okay with it.
And please, for the love of music, stop making up ridiculous excuses. We’re not stupid. We know that you’re just not that organised.
🤭 Here are some tips on how to avoid being the late guy/gal:
- Set multiple alarms. And don’t just hit the snooze button. Actually get out of bed.
- Keep your gear in a safe place. This way you don’t have to waste time searching for it on the morning of the rehearsal.
- Learn how to defend yourself from man-eating pelicans. Just in case.
4. Using crappy unreliable gear
You’re a musician. You’re passionate about your music. And you want to be taken seriously. But if you’re using crappy unreliable gear, you’re only hurting yourself.
Here’s the thing: no one wants to listen to a band with bad sound quality. It’s just not enjoyable. And if you’re using unreliable gear, you’re risking something going wrong during a gig.
So if you’re serious about your music, invest in some reliable, quality gear. It will make a difference in your sound and give you peace of mind knowing that you won’t have any problems during your show.
🤭 Here are some tips to help you stop buying unreliable music gear:
- Stop being a cheapskate. Buy good music gear once and save money in the long run. You’ll save yourself the embarrassment of your gear breaking down in the middle of a gig.
- Do your research. Read reviews and compare prices before you buy any music gear.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re unsure what gear to buy, ask a more experienced musician for advice.
Need help choosing the best music equipment? Check these out:
5. Getting bogged down with too much gear
Buying that 34th distortion pedal won’t make you sound any better on guitar. Adding that 4″ splash cymbal next to tom No. 9 won’t turn you into John Bonham, either.
And please, aren’t five synths on stage enough?
If you find yourself “bending the truth” to your other half about the real price of your latest musical gizmo, it’s time to take a step back.
Everyone loves shiny new gadgets, but it’s important to be mindful of your spending and to make sure that your gear is actually helping you to make music that you’re proud of.
🤭 Here are a few tips on how to curb your gear addiction:
- If you have a separate room in your house just for your gear, you’re probably taking it a bit too far.
- If you’re spending more money on gear than on food, you need to reevaluate your priorities.
- If you’re starting to sell your furniture to buy more gear, it’s time to have a word with yourself.
6. Zero interaction on stage
Hey, to all you self-conscious and awkward live musicians out there:
We get it, not everyone’s a natural-born performer, and that’s totally okay. But when you’re up on that stage, remember, you’re there to entertain and connect with the crowd.
We’re not suggesting you turn into a wild, hyperactive whirlwind, but seriously, do something!
And here’s a tip: when your fellow bandmate walks over and tries to engage with you on stage, don’t just stand there like a statue.
A little eye contact and a simple smile can work wonders. Trust us; you don’t want to resemble a lifeless body up there. It’s not fun or inspiring for your audience to watch.
🤭 Here’s some tongue-in-cheek advice to help bring you to life on stage:
- If you’re worried about making eye contact with the audience, try focusing above their heads instead. They’ll never know the difference.
- If you’re too shy to interact with the audience, bring a puppet with you on stage. Nobody expects a puppet to be outgoing and charismatic, so you’ll be off the hook.
- If you can’t bring yourself to move, wear a flashing costume so that you’re visually interesting. Even if you’re not interacting with the audience, they’ll still be entertained by your light show.
7. Going overboard on stage
Wow. He’s gyrating his hips and jumping off the stage monitors into a star shape whilst making that “the music is taking me over” face.
And we love it, too. You’re showing us how much you care about the music and the audience. But be careful not to go over the top. People can sense when you’re being sincere or not.
We’re not saying you should tone it down and look dull. We want a dynamic and passionate performance. But the key is to keep it balanced and honest. Otherwise, you might end up distracting from the music.
🤭 If you want to make sure you’re not overdoing it on stage, here are a few tips:
- Hire a personal trainer to help you develop your stage presence.
- Take acting lessons to learn how to express your emotions in a more natural way.
- Don’t give a stuff what anyone thinks and invest in a full-body spandex suit so you can really let loose and move your body freely.
8. Me, me me, aka - ‘Rockstar’ attitude
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be in a band. It can be a lot of fun and rewarding.
But some people have the wrong idea. They think being in a band makes them a Rockstar. They lose perspective and let themselves be led by the false ego self.
If you are in a band, don’t forget this: people don’t come to see you alone. They come to listen to the music and have a good time. So be humble and respectful, alright?
🤭 Genuine advice to help you keep it humble:
- Take a step back and remember you are loved just as much as everyone else. We all matter.
- If you start to think you’re better than your bandmates, try doing a solo show. You’ll soon realise how much you need them.
- Getting caught up in a Rockstar attitude is a sign of underlying issues like low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression. Seeking someone to talk to is a brave and wise choice.
9. The monitor engineer’s nightmare
The Monitor Engineer’s Nightmare is the musician who is never satisfied with their sound. They always ask the monitor engineer to make minor adjustments, even when their sound is perfect.
They’re the bane of every monitor engineer’s existence and can make a gig a pain in the rear end.
And they’ll say these things over and over again, even if the monitor engineer has already made the adjustments they’re asking for. “I can’t hear the drums.””My guitar is too quiet.” “Can you take a photo of me for my Instagram”?
🤭 If you’re a Monitor Engineer’s Nightmare, here are a few tips on how to overcome your habit:
- Be specific in your requests. Instead of just saying “make me louder,” tell the monitor engineer what you want to hear more of, and what you want to hear less of.
- Give the monitor engineer time to make adjustments. It takes time to dial in a good mix, especially in a live setting.
- Be patient. The monitor engineer is doing their best to give you a good sound, but they can’t control everything.
10. Slow to get on and off stage: A cautionary tale
Once upon a time, there was a band called The Sloths. Although they were a great band, they had a big problem: they thought it was cool to be late to the stage, and sometimes they were slow to get their gear off stage.
One night, The Sloths were playing at a local festival. Five other bands were on the bill, and everyone was on a tight schedule. But The Sloths didn’t seem to care. They took their sweet time getting on stage, and the other bands had to wait.
The promoter was furious. She yelled at The Sloths, but they just shrugged it off. They didn’t seem to understand that they were being rude to everyone else.
The crowd was also getting impatient. They started to boo and throw things at the stage. But The Sloths still didn’t appear. They weren’t going to let the crowd pressure them into rushing.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, The Sloths arrived on stage. But the damage had already been done. The other bands were late, and the crowd was angry.
The Sloths never got to play at the festival again. They learned their lesson the hard way: stick to the stage times and don’t be self-important douchebags.
🤭 If you don’t want to end up like The Sloths, here are a few words of wisdom:
- Be humble and grateful. Remember that you’re no more special than everyone else. Be grateful for the opportunity to perform and for the support of your fans.
- Don’t get drunk. You don’t need to have a bottle of whiskey, a pack of cigarettes, or a stash of drugs before you go on stage. Just have a glass of water and a breath mint.
- If you’re so late that the audience is starting to boo, get up there and tell them sorry, you were “knitting a yoghurt.” They’ll be so confused that they’ll forget to be mad.
11. Trash-talking other musicians
Why do some musicians criticise other musicians? Is it jealousy? Insecurity? Negative conditioning? Or a mixture of all?
Whatever the reason, it’s a pointless and childish thing to do. Every musician has something unique to offer, and we should all celebrate each other’s differences, not tear each other down.
So next time you feel the urge to slag off another musician, take a deep breath and remember: what would my higher self do?
And the answer is: they’d be supportive and graceful.
So be the best version of yourself. Spread the love, not the hate.
🤭 If you frequently feel the urge to criticise other musicians, here is some valuable advice:
- Remember that everyone is on their own musical journey. We all have different tastes in music, so don’t knock someone else’s just because it’s not the same as yours.
- If you have a competitive nature, channel it into improving your own music rather than dissing others. Competitive behaviour often stems from insecurity and the desire to prove oneself.
- When you criticise others, you’re really criticising yourself. Consider taking up meditation and chilling out.
12. Being apologetic and whiney
Fellow performers! Let’s talk about being apologetic and whiney on stage – the ultimate vibe crusher. So, you hit a tiny off-note during your solo; it happens to the best of us.
But seriously, there is no need to turn it into a Shakespearean tragedy.
And for the love of rock ‘n’ roll, spare us the “Sorry, we only rehearsed once this month” or “I suck” spiel. It’s like watching a train start to veer off its rails, and that’s not what we signed up for, right?
Remember, no one enjoys listening to a complaining musician with a tendency to ramble. So, let’s keep the whinging to a minimum, and the music cranked up to 11!
🤭 If you want to make sure you don’t end up a stage buzz-kill, follow these tips:
- If you goof up, smile and call it a “sonic detour.” You’re not lost; you’re exploring new musical territories.
- If you start to feel like crying, think about all the other people who have lost their earrings before they went on stage. There are probably millions of them. You’re not alone.
- Remember that the audience is there to have a good time; you owe it to them to try to make their night fun, not a flop.
13. Not bothering to learn lyrics
Oh, the infamous habit of musicians who can’t be bothered to memorise their lyrics and instead rely on lyric sheets or auto-queues.
But it’s more than just a little unprofessional; it’s a bit like saying to your audience, “I didn’t bother learning my lyrics because, well, who cares?”
And let’s face it; it’s a tad embarrassing. You end up looking like a karaoke enthusiast who forgot the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
If you’re guilty of this, it’s time to shape up.
Learning your lyrics isn’t rocket science. Just put a little effort in, and voila! You’ll have those lyrics locked in before you know it.
🤭 Here’s some handy advice on how to avoid not learning lyrics:
- Just learn your lyrics! It’s not that hard. Sing them along to the recording, and you’ll have them down in no time.
- Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the more likely you are to remember your lyrics. Just doing it a few times won’t do much. Rinse and repeat.
- And finally, if you’re all out of ideas, start singing in a made-up language. The audience won’t know what you’re saying, but they’ll be impressed by your linguistic skills.
Summing It Up
So there you have it. Some of the worst musical crimes you could commit.
But don’t worry, it’s not too late to reform. Just remember to be mindful of your fellow musicians and the audience. And most importantly, have fun!
Music is a universal language that brings people together. So, let’s all work together to create a more harmonious musical world.
Peace and love, my friends.