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29

"However, this feels not at all comfortable to me" Beneath it all this statement appears to be the underlying issue behind you not being able to 'just do it.' Lets face the facts, it is uncomfortable! You see the more you play with others, the less stressful it is each time. Just like guitar practise, you practise and you get better. The same with playing ...


18

I want to add a few things that apply more when you're actually going to your first band practice or jam session. First, I want to point out that many times, at least one of the other musicians at a band practice or jam session is still inexperienced, nervous, and even more worried than you are that you'll find them to be unprepared. Sort of like the old, "...


10

Unlike the other answers here, I think the advice to "just do it" is misguided. Playing music with other people is an entire skill unto itself. To be able to play well with others, you need to practice doing so first. Here is why playing with others requires practice: it introduces many, many musical elements and techniques you need to be cognizant of that ...


9

In swing setups such (e.g. tenor sax battles), it is not uncommon so see "trades" of varying (typically decreasing) length : trade 16, then trade 8, trade 4 and sometimes even trade 2 then trade 1, each time building up the tension. Things could also end in both musicians improvising simultaneously. Nice example from Robert Altman's Kansas City: ...


9

It's just a name: it used to be based on four bars, which probably would comprise one set of chord changes (eg doowop, I vi IV V), but could just as easily be two or eight bars. It's like calling a song's bridge a 'middle eight', even though the number of bars may be different. The Beatles always called their bridges 'middle eights'.


8

This is not a question of whether the band is rehearsing the right way or the wrong way. Since the band has existed longer than you've been a member, and the other members are content with the situation, the band's current rehearsal seems to fit the goals of the other members. They might be more interested in playing comfortable material than pushing ...


8

As I see it, only you and your bandmates can answer this, because it depends on what you want to do. First off, if you're not gigging... what exactly are you rehearsing for? Someone needs to step up and book gigs, or else I don't see why there's a band in the first place. Assuming you have gigs at some schedule, then I see rehearsal potentially doing three ...


8

You asked what we look for in musical collaborators. Playing with musicians who have something to prove is a drag. But it's nice playing with really brilliant people because they don't have to go out of their way to show their brilliance - they just play. Playing with people who aren't brittle is nice too - you can point out an error without them taking it ...


8

It works both ways. Don't forget that to your mate, you're the better player, mentor, teacher. Often, it can make you play in less complex ways, maybe to not intimidate `lesser players.And complex isn't often best. As Mr The Bard says, teaching something will always make sure you learn it better. To play with far better players can be scary, if you let it, ...


8

Jam Hub is your saviour !It's an all in one piece of gear with inputs,mixer and headphone facility to do exactly what you need.With a different mix for each member, if needed.


7

There is no "best possible way" - Sometimes you might want your drummer to lay down the intro beat (this is pretty common) You might have some bars of intro on the guitar, usually the drummer will give you the tempo first, unless you have good time awareness yourself. Or any other combination Just practice together and see what works. It may be obvious ...


6

You are looking for a headphone amplifier. Many models have more than a single stereo output. Professional models often have more than one output (channeL) in the same module, and sometimes allow you to either feed the same signal to all the channels or have a separate signal for every channel (as you would do with a mixer that supports auxiliary outputs). ...


6

"Trading twos" is definitely a phrase people use. "Trading eights" might be. More generally, you can call it "trading licks". 8 bars is long enough to be thought of as a whole solo. Get any longer than this and you're not really "trading" any more; you're just taking it in turns to solo. When I say "trading", I mean that you base your lick on whatever the ...


5

One question that this spawns is Has the band played many gigs - in the 6 mths you've been with them? I suspect the answer is no. Too much time spent (wasted) in rehearsals to have a playlist of enough numbers. Sounds harsh. But I've been (for short times, I hasten to add!) in bands like this. I call them 'rehearsal bands' as this is all they do! Some do it ...


5

Assuming these are informal jams, you just don't have the authority to fire incompetents. I think the only possibility is to endure the fact that the material will not be played correctly. But do at least point out what "swing" means when they try to "correct" those who are playing it correctly. Is it tactless to teach someone the truth?


5

I started a jam with some pretty clear guidelines of how/what we were doing. We use songs from the Real Book so the melody and chord changes (and general form) are known ahead of time. We keep a short list of songs that we're working on, so people can come prepared. We announce the order of solos ahead of time. We agree how long (ie., how many bars) each ...


4

I am inclined to agree with you that it is best to hang around with musicians that are of equal or greater skill than yourself, however there are benefits to be had from playing with lesser experienced musicians. It is said, that the best way to learn is to teach. Teaching someone melodies and chords further reinforces your knowledge of them and works to ...


4

Honestly you should bring in some tennis balls and make a game out of it. I've taught this with eurhythmics before. Basically have people walk to a beat and start bouncing the ball on the 8th note, and then after they do that comfortably have them do the same, only swing it. You can work with whatever rhythms you need in this way and it feels kind of silly ...


4

If you're playing straight and switch to playing swing, the 'and's move but the strong beats don't. It might be that the players who are trying to play swung are pushing the strong beats around too, which would be disconcerting to the other players. I'd suggest an exercise where everyone plays the same line (a fragment of a scale for instance) first ...


4

The only way I am aware of improving (or practicing) swing feel is to play with a metronome but set it so the click is on the 2 and 4. Emily Remler goes through it in her tutorial videos. I have no idea how this would translate to a group jam though!


3

So you can produce some musical putput which pleases you, fairly regularly. More easily, when you have the luxury of time, and not so much under the pressure of the moment in a jam session. It's pretty much the same skill, you just have to be further along the road to have it on tap instantaneously. You say you can improvise melodies vocally on the fly ...


3

Get two pots boiling at the same time: continue to play with your friend; and seek out a new band with more accomplished musicians. There's nothing saying you can't be in two bands at once. I personally feel it's not an "either-or" thing, because there's equal importance to getting along with your bandmates as there is to challenging yourself and growing ...


3

You can jam with other people or compose on your own in an improvisational way. In the former case, you either have to agree on a chord pattern to use (say the simple classic C-Am-F-G in key of C, or maybe G-Am7-D C-D-G in key of G, or even stay on one chord like Am), or you have to be able to recognize chord changes (like the ones in my example). Of ...


3

The first time I played with other people was with 3 other relative newbies like myself. If you listened to any one of us playing by our-self then it was blatantly obvious that we SUCKED individually. However, when we all played together, I thought we sounded quite awesome. In other words, don't worry that you aren't going to sound good because you will much ...


3

As someone who plays both guitar and keyboard, I agree that it can be more difficult for a beginner keyboardist to accompany. But it really depends on the style of music. For example, if you have access to organ or "pad" sounds, you could accompany by just holding out chords. If you play in this fashion, you usually want to experiment with what notes of a ...


2

Generally it'll be even numbers, 2, 4 , 8 as a 'line' of a song tends to be that long, so phrasing sounds more balanced. It follows from songs usually being 8, 12, 16 or occasionally 24 bars long. Never heard in a band "Let's trade 7s." Although that could be interesting. Both to play and listen to...


2

There are great answers already here, but perhaps the most important consideration is making sure no one gets cut short when the trading is over. Consider a 12-bar blues. It wouldn't really work for the soloists to trade off every 8 bars, because whoever goes second in soloing would only be halfway through his/her turn when the 12-bar form ended. (In ...


2

Have you tried simply splitter cables? For example, I had bought a curious-looking thing-- a regular 3.5mm headphone (male) plug to THREE headphones jack (female) cable for $1 at a thrift store. (It's a Radio Shack, but online megastores likely have these cheapest.) I thought I'd have to get a GF or something before having use for it, but it came to mind ...


2

Been there. Done that. I'll try to describe what my experiences have been. I rarely got to practice a accompaniment; usually I'd step in at the last minute for a rehearsal or someone would want to sing and they would ask me to accompany. You've got a good start by knowing some theory (classical, jazz, etc. are useful.) That means you know the general ...


2

I play in multiple jams weekly, which I do because it is such a challenge. It's important to have a decent idea of the various standard chord changes that are particular to the styles of music you like. For the blues it's pretty easy, as they're typically I, IV, V chords, or their alternates, which repeat in various ways. Throwing in 7th and 9th chords ...


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