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chance

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Jul 10 17 12:02 PM

It might have been more believable if the actor who portrayed the drummer, could at least play some drums. All he did was make noise by himself and that teacher said he wasn't playing in time. In time with who? He was asked to play by himself. LOL
The end of the movie, I feel that the kid came out on top because he wasn't given the right charts, took control of the situation, and rather than be humiliated, started playing Caravan, and the band chimed in.
It's interesting to see some liked the movie, and some didn't. I felt uncomfortable watching it, but wanted to see how it ended. If that was my teacher at Berklee, I would have quit immediately.

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chance

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Jul 10 17 12:07 PM

What Do Drummers Think of the Movie Whiplash?1.5k   24  By Quora Contributor image J.K. Simmons in Whiplash.Photo courtesy Daniel McFadden/SundanceThis question originally appeared on Quora, the best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus+.Answer by Henry Modisett, jazz drummer in high school and college:I played jazz drums in high school and in college. My high school had four jazz bands with two to three drummers each. They not only competed with one another, but also went to multiple competitions against other high schools throughout the state ever year. So, I have experience being in a competitive band and competing for the No. 1 role within the band as a young drummer.I think it's safe to say that Whiplash is a dramatization that takes a lot of ideas to the extreme. Perhaps that qualifies it as unrealistic, but that is what makes movies interesting, so I'm not bothered by it. There are a few themes throughout this movie that I could really relate to.CompetingI have experienced both forms of competition that the movie highlights: the band-versus-band competition and the drummer-versus-drummer competition.Although I've never had an experience as intense as the main character's at a band competition, they are certainly tense. You spend months of your life learning every measure of four songs perfectly, and it all comes down to about 20 minutes onstage. As the drummer, you are uniquely positioned to ruin everything. You can play too slow, too fast, too loud, or too quiet. You can completely miss an important hit or do it at the wrong time. If you stop playing, the whole band stops. If you play poorly, the whole band plays poorly. I remember all the intense feelings that come along with this from being nauseated to having sweaty palms and trying not to drop my sticks to making sure my music is all in the right order. I've dropped my sticks during a performance. It really sucks. Playing with one hand while trying to pick up your other stick is certainly a skill you develop. Hopefully the sitting drummer also helps out. I felt that the movie generally captured the feelings that come from experiences like this. Obviously the scenario in the movie was the absolute worse-case scenario, but the overall stress resonated with me.In both high school and college, you got into the jazz bands by going to tryouts. This often involves doing things like playing different styles, playing different tempos, playing along with a recording, trading fours with someone, etc. After doing this, you were assigned a band and a spot within the band. So I was in Jazz 2 (second best band) in high school and was the No. 2 drummer in that band. The movie highlighted this dynamic pretty well, although I thought it was a little too intense. You are certainly competing with the other drummers for a literal seat, but there's also a lot of camaraderie and mentorship that comes with it. Everyone ends up being better than the others at different things. For example I was probably a better funk drummer than a Latin drummer. That said, competing with someone is hard, and losing your spot feels terrible, while gaining a spot feels incredible. I've been pulled off of songs, moved to different bands, replaced other people, etc. You're constantly being evaluated on a very raw aspect of who you are all the time—your ability to be creative, disciplined, mechanical, sharp, and strong. The highs are incredible, and the lows are terrible. I felt like the movie also captured this dynamic pretty well, even if it was simplified too much. You don't hate the other drummers, but you are always trying to be better than them.RigorThe movie chose the concept of drumming speed as a proxy for talent. This makes sense as a plot point because it's very tangible for an audience of nondrummers to evaluate. It also references Buddy Rich a lot as his idol who was known for his chops. So I'm not really insulted by this artistic choice, and although it doesn't fully encapsulate what it means to be a good drummer, it is a tangible facet of one.Being a successful drummer requires a level of discipline that has not been asked of me by anything else I've personally experienced. I think the movie did a good job at illuminating this with the scenes of him drumming alone to the point where he hurt himself. I think that him bloodying his hands is certainly over the top, but that doesn't mean it doesn't allude to something real. I've chewed up my hands many times from practicing too much or too hard. You often have to do the same thing over and over again to get good at it, so it's pretty easy to hurt yourself. I also feel that they captured the frustration that comes from wanting to be better and wanting to be fast but your body won't do what your brain says. Being a good technical drummer requires years of disciplined practice and drills, and it can be overwhelmingly frustrating to have to wait for that. You want to be good now, not in five years. You've been listening and analyzing forever, and you know what you want to do, but your body won't do it. The movie really captures these feelings well.Relationship With DirectorSo this was obviously the main focus of the movie, and I'll say right away that I've never experienced anything that intense. I do think that band directors like Fletcher do exist and certainly inspired his character. I've had a few band directors in my life who demanded a lot from me. I don't think that I've ever wanted to please and impress people more than my band directors. You have a very intense and emotional relationship with them as the drummer in a big band because you are expected to be the backbone of the whole thing. The times when you do well, you are the hero. The times when you didn't practice or don't know the chart, you are the worst person in the world, and you are wasting everyone's time. I've been berated and embarrassed many times. I don't think my self-esteem has ever been crushed more than in a practice room because a band director called me out for doing something subpar. Being a musician is an intense experience because it's both deeply personal, and you have to contribute to the success of a larger group. I think this combination makes being a musician unique in the category of artistic struggles. I felt that the movie captured this really well, even if it was an extreme case.In conclusion, some of the details aren't there and it is an unapologetic dramatization of reality but I see those things as excusable because it's a movie! This film captured a lot of the emotional essence of what it means to be a young ambitious drummer in a competitive environment, so it really resonated with me.

Chance Pataki The Musicians Workshop www.the-musicians-workshop.com musicians.workshop@gte.net

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chance

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Jul 10 17 12:38 PM

An exerpt from http://www.newyorker.com/culture/richard-brody/whiplash-getting-jazz-right-movies  that says it all


Here’s what Parker didn’t do in the intervening year: sit alone in his room and work on making his fingers go faster. He played music, thought music, lived music. In “Whiplash,” the young musicians don’t play much music. Andrew isn’t in a band or a combo, doesn’t get together with his fellow-students and jam—not in a park, not in a subway station, not in a café, not even in a basement. He doesn’t study music theory, not alone and not (as Parker did) with his peers. There’s no obsessive comparing of recordings and styles, no sense of a wide-ranging appreciation of jazz history—no Elvin Jones, no Tony Williams, no Max Roach, no Ed Blackwell. In short, the musician’s life is about pure competitive ambition—the concert band and the exposure it provides—and nothing else. The movie has no music in its soul—and, for that matter, it has no music in its images. There are ways of filming music that are themselves musical, that conjure a musical feeling above and beyond what’s on the soundtrack, but Chazelle’s images are nothing of the kind.

Chance Pataki The Musicians Workshop www.the-musicians-workshop.com musicians.workshop@gte.net

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seth

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#25 [url]

Jul 10 17 3:32 PM

After I got out of college I thought I knew some shit. Then I had a teacher, a be-bop piano player who lived in my hometown, who pushed me to the brink of tears. Not by being cruel, but by challenging me to the point where my frustration got the better of me. We'd play together and he'd modulate, he'd improvise a transition into a new tune, play songs I'd never heard of, anything to keep me from getting comfortable. I finally got to the point where I thought I was hopeless and I wanted to cry, and this is just the first lesson!! Then he said to me, "Look man, there's no magic here. This is all about skills, anyone who works at it hard enough can get this. This isn't inspiration." Then he proceeded to show me how to acquire the skills, I had to actually do the work. First he showed me the 'promised land', then he showed me the path. I'm still unpacking stuff I learned from him.

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soapfoot

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#26 [url]

Jul 10 17 3:38 PM

I've had many elders "read" me over the years. Eternally grateful for every single one. Even the ones that stung at the time.

There is, of course, a big difference between a seasoned, respected elder "pulling your coat" out of love for the music (and maybe you, if you're lucky) and some quasi-competitive ego contest.

brad allen williams

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spiritwalker

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#27 [url]

Jul 10 17 5:01 PM

I for one had a bad teacher, not as extreme as in that movie, but very abusive. He was the main reason I did not complete college.
In hindsight, I'm fine for it, but what about the others that weren't as lucky?

I guess if you really want to be famous you need to have that competitive streak.
I just never got into music as being a competition, for me I was just trying to figure out how to get the high from it and understand how to make people feel something.
Still am.

OK it's cold here

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seth

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#28 [url]

Jul 10 17 10:50 PM

spiritwalker wrote:
I guess if you really want to be famous you need to have that competitive streak.
I just never got into music as being a competition, for me I was just trying to figure out how to get the high from it and understand how to make people feel something.
Still am.
 

I don't think it's competitive, Norm. It's more about developing an almost endless tolerance for many hours of frustrating work. The 10,000 hours that athletes talk about. It was really that hard (for me, at any rate) to acquire the skills that make me useful to other people. A great teacher helps you understand what it is you need to achieve, and how to do it. They also point out to you when you're making real progress so you can see your work reaping results. That process, building the faith that work will give you results, and results will tell you more about what you need to learn. It becomes like a perpetual motion machine. At some point you realize you're accomplishing those things you're looking for, getting high and making people feel. Which gives you more impetus to go back and work more.

An older musician can help a younger realize that a musical life is a worthy thing to devote yourself to. That was terrifying for me - when my parents realized to their horror that I actually wanted to be a musician they set out to demolish my self-confidence. My teacher helped me to see that being an old musician is as much fun as being a young one, that you can have a family and a reasonably normal home. Then I was able to devote myself to learning about music with complete abandon.

Talent, to me, is the ability to get out of your own way and do what you have to do to learn the craft. NOT what notes to play or how fast to play them.

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gtoledo3

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#30 [url]

Jul 10 17 11:48 PM

Ha, I didn't know that in the movie the guy switches the charts...

It reminds me of the first time I played somewhere live, I guess around 11 or so. My guitar teacher had me practice a song to play onstage.

When I went on to play my song, he played through about six songs before the one I practiced for. The keyboard player did have some notecards with nashville numbering/fakebook type notation, so it was only a partial nightmare.

In this case though, my teacher was generally a really nice guy, and it was overall a positive experience.

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maarvold

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#31 [url]

Jul 11 17 8:49 AM

spiritwalker wrote:
A tough watch for sure, but a great listen. Our forum bud Michael Aarvold recorded and mixed a bunch of the music in that award winning movie!
Correct me if I'm wrong Michael.

N

 
I recorded, mixed and mastered all the music (for the soundtrack).  I never asked Damien (the director) but I have a feeling that Whiplash might be a version of his life story--he is a drummer.  Probably my happiest memory was when both Tommy Vicari and Don Hahn--two extremely expeienced and worldly engineers--called me up and both asked me where the mics were in the film: the entire thing was prerecorded and my hat is off to Damein and his editors if he can fool those two guys.  

I'll grant you, it's a somewhat subtle point.  But I think the message of the film is in it's final moment: when Andrew (the drummer) and Fletcher (the hardass teacher)--as much as they hate each other--actually get on the same page and have a positive moment... through music.  

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spiritwalker

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#32 [url]

Jul 11 17 10:33 AM

Seth,
You are correct in that a musical life is a worthy thing to devote yourself to. These days it's maybe a lot more terrifying then when we were both younger. Or maybe just different.
Because of my location and circumstances I was never able to commit to it full time, only eight years out of the 45.
But there isn't a day that I don't think about it, or play, write, drum, sing, talk about it. It has been my savior, nourished my soul and made me a better human.
For those of you who have had the pleasure of meeting me you are probably happy about that!

We've all run into the edgers, and I think this movie shows that dark side of how music can torture some souls.
So beyond it being about a drummer and all the stuff stated above, I think it's successful for that simple reason.
That and Michael's great recordings!

OK it's cold here

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berolzheimer

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#33 [url]

Jul 11 17 3:32 PM

ktownson wrote:
The drummer helped get him fired from his university teaching gig for abusive behavior toward students. He brought the kid onto the later gig then didn't give him the right charts to publicly humiliate him onstage and ruin his rep.

I would not want to watch it again.

Jeez, Kerry, post a spoiler warning before you write something like that!  I've been planning to watch this & you just f*ckin gave away the ending.

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chance

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#35 [url]

Jul 11 17 4:32 PM

berolzheimer wrote:

ktownson wrote:
The drummer helped get him fired from his university teaching gig for abusive behavior toward students. He brought the kid onto the later gig then didn't give him the right charts to publicly humiliate him onstage and ruin his rep.

I would not want to watch it again.

Jeez, Kerry, post a spoiler warning before you write something like that!  I've been planning to watch this & you just f*ckin gave away the ending.

Not really.  Everyone here who saw it seems to have a different opinion. At the very end, when they both looked at each other on stage, they "both" seemed to have a look of satisfaction on their faces which allows everyone to draw their own conclusion

Chance Pataki The Musicians Workshop www.the-musicians-workshop.com musicians.workshop@gte.net

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