The people next door to us host a drumming group. The drummers are practicing tonight. They are not very good. They are trying to do polyrhythms, but when you’re doing polyrhythms you have to be really precise or your drumming drifts in and out of chaos, which is what they’re doing. I understand that this is what one has to do when practicing, and I understand that drums are loud, but the least they could do is close the windows so the rest of the neighborhood doesn’t have to listen to their mistakes. But too many amateur musicians are so enamored of themselves that they forget how excruciating their practice is to others.
I experienced this phenomenon this past summer at a summer conference. A young man was trying to learn a guitar part from a recording. He sat in one of the common rooms of the conference center. He played little bits from the recording, and then tried to work out the guitar solo. I’m sure that inside his head it all sounded so wonderful, but to me it was just painful to listen to the same little recorded bits over and over, and then hear him make the same mistakes over and over. Most amateur musicians are considerate and practice in private; but the ones who aren’t, and don’t, are really annoying.