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Author Topic: Stagecraft  (Read 6117 times)

Offline prjacobs

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Stagecraft
« on: May 11, 2008, 11:30:36 AM »
Hi all,
I just can't seem to help myself these days.[:)]  My son is performing a lot and issues that come up for him are providing me with topics for our consideration.
My son played live yesterday and he definitely had an issue with volume: Too soft,(believe it or not), at times... (I know, typical lead guitarist dad)...
And performance:  He started a few songs by himself and his playing was more like one would do at home.
I like to perform a song as if I'm hearing the changes, melody, lyrics, whatever, for the first time.  That it's my job to show the audience why these things are great and what they mean.  We practice and practice, and become so familiar with what we play that by the time we perform it, we sometimes forget we have to make the audience get it... instantly.  You don't get a second chance.
My advice to him and others is to videotape and/or record all of your performances.  There's no better way to see what's right and wrong with your playing. (Or singing).
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 11:32:43 AM by prjacobs »
 

Stagecraft

Offline simonlock

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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2008, 12:38:21 PM »
The way I play I don't think I could polish a piece until it's perfect. I think I'm just going to have to design pieces like a Jazz standard and make stuff up on the spot and keep some parts memorable. It's not that I can't polish a piece but maybe I don't have the patience or I get bored too fast. Either way playing something 100s of times, especially if I didn't write it, just isn't my cup of tea.

I agree that watching recorded film of yourself playing often is more valuable than listening alone. But keep in mind Paul your minds-eye is coming from thousands of hours of professional experience. He's gotta make mistakes too.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
 

Stagecraft

Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2008, 12:59:35 PM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock

The way I play I don't think I could polish a piece until it's perfect. I think I'm just going to have to design pieces like a Jazz standard and make stuff up on the spot and keep some parts memorable. It's not that I can't polish a piece but maybe I don't have the patience or I get bored too fast. Either way playing something 100s of times, especially if I didn't write it, just isn't my cup of tea.

I agree that watching recorded film of yourself playing often is more valuable than listening alone. But keep in mind Paul your minds-eye is coming from thousands of hours of professional experience. He's gotta make mistakes too.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!




Simon, I agree.  If you're an improvisational artist, the thrill as a player and a listener is to watch that process unfold.  There's cross pollination that happens between everything you play, so any playing and practicing benefits all of your music.  In the case of my son, yesterday, he was playing songs from the musical Hair. So he was working with a preexisting form.
And yes, it's true I'm bringing a lifetime of musical experience to bear, which obviously my son doesn't have.  So I make sure to be a fan first... And I am.  I love that he plays music.  I'm very careful to stay in the background and never push him.  It's a subtle balance.  I realize that he's not me, and I don't want him to lose his enthusiasm by being in his face.  If he has questions, I'm happy to answer them and I'm happy to show him anything we wants to learn.  At the same time, I want to give him the benefit of my experience.  Some of my fondest memories are teaching him how to play early Clapton from the Bluesbreakers, and teaching him his first Hendrix.  He just couldn't keep from smiling ear to ear. I felt so happy to pass down the tradition to him. He was very young and I was far cooler to him than I am now.[:)]
« Last Edit: May 11, 2008, 01:02:16 PM by prjacobs »
 

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Offline BrainWorm

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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 01:36:42 AM »
Videotape, recording, and feedback, I'd like to have all of them helping me to understand what I am doing. I watched a group Saturday night not relate to the audience. Talk to the audience, don't just get up there and play a song and then look at each other until you play the next song.

"Brainverms come crawling and creeping and eat you when you're sleeping."
"Brainverms come crawling and creeping and eat you when you're sleeping."

Stagecraft

Offline simonlock

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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2008, 02:45:31 AM »
If I was onstage I'd be fighting to keep breathing let alone chatting up the front row lol



Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!
 

Stagecraft

Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #5 on: May 12, 2008, 07:59:25 AM »
quote:
Originally posted by simonlock

If I was onstage I'd be fighting to keep breathing let alone chatting up the front row lol



Simon
Vancouver,BC
A Whole Mess of Flys and I Love Them ALL!!!!!



It is interesting to examine what makes us nervous on stage.  It's courageous to get up and play for people, especially at first.  I started at age 14, and at that age, it was hard enough to just deal with puberty.  Luckily, people liked my playing and at least I felt comfortable with that. I guess that's why in many bands, a great front man, (or woman, although there were no women in rock bands when I grew up), can be that connection to the audience.  For me, as is usually the case, it got easier with time.  My wife and I try to get our son to play standing up as well as sitting down.  I think getting used to standing and playing helps when you're first starting to play out.
Now, my challenge is playing classical music, (solo piano), in front of people.  I'm getting more and more relaxed and expressing my musical ideas more easily, but I still can feel my body betraying me, despite all my years of playing rock for large crowds.
Then, there's the issue of singing.[:)] I would advise any musician who wants a career in "popular" music to sing.  You'll always get more work.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 08:00:23 AM by prjacobs »
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2008, 09:04:42 AM »
I played at the church I have been going to for a little while now for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We had one practice the Thursday before the Wednesday I played. We didn't do the songs that we practiced that Thursday before, and of the three or four songs we went over before Wednesday night service, they only played one of them! The rest were songs I have never played. I understand that this is the norm, so it can be quite challenging for a guitar player trying to come on board.

Of course, I was somewhat nervous not having played in front of other people for at least two years, but more than that I felt kind of like a fool up there. I'm OK with this, though, I have been in this position before. It just takes some time to get into the groove.

I have my work cut out for me. I'm really not good at hearing a chord and identifying what it is. I don't know how to get better at that.

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Offline mountaindewaddict

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« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2008, 09:46:34 AM »
Paul Marossy, you raise an interesting point.  For those of us more comfortable / skilled with reading off a chord chart, do any of you have any suggestions for learning how to hear a chord and play it without seeing it?  I can look at a pianists hand holding a chord and probably get in the ballpark, but if I can't see him or her, it's a lot harder.


Casey

Gear:
Parker P-44, Digitech GNX4, other stuff...
"Remember, if at first you don't succeed, you're doing it wrong."
God Bless!
Casey

Gear: Parker Fly Deluxe, Parker PDF60, Way Huge, Digitech / Hardwire, Line 6, Source Audio,T-Rex, and TC Electronic Pedals, Egnater amps, other stuff... God Bless!

Stagecraft

Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2008, 10:00:04 AM »
Our piano player has a system of hand signs that he uses with his left hand to tell the guitar player(s) what chords to play, but it's not that easy to follow. I just learned about that the other day from a fellow guitarist.

Anyhow, I have always been terrible at comping chords - in the past, I always usually had a chord sheet to look at. This is going to be a challenge, but I look at it as a positive thing, a new opportunity to learn and to sharpen my ears. Or at least I hope that is how it goes! [;)]

Truly flying by the seat of my pants in this scenario. [:0]

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« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 11:26:22 AM by Paul Marossy »

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Offline jefsummers

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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2008, 12:53:27 PM »
I'm _reasonable_ at picking things up as they are played, hearing and translating into the chord progression. For what it is worth, to me the first thing is figuring out what key the song is in, and I may have to very quietly play a few notes until I figure that out. Then, think in terms of intervals. Most songs use the root, 4th, and 5th. Some add the 6th minor (if you think it is the root but it is not quite right, try the 6th minor), and when an odd chord is thrown in try the 2nd. Older gospel music especially uses the 2nd (often 2nd minor). Get comfortable with what a I-IV change and a I-V change sounds like - eg Amazing Grace - the I-IV in
I                 IV        I
Amazing Grace how sweet the sound
versus the I-V:
I                        V
That saved a wretch like me

To me, I-IVs sound like a step up, while the I-V sounds more resolved.

Beyond that, get comfortable with the overall mood different chords project - major 7ths are melancholy, 7ths (esp minor 7ths) are jazzy, 2s are proud, minors are dark to my ear. I can usually even tell a diminished (sounds sour to me).

Again, my 2c, FWIW.

1998 Parker Fly Deluxe
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2002 Epiphone Dot
1999 Danelectro Hodad 12 string electric
1963 Gibson Melody Maker
Various acoustics
Marshall AVT150 with 1960A Lead Cab
Vox AD30
Boss GT-8, Roland GR-30
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Parker Fly Deluxe
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Italia Mondial
Fender Std Strat w SCN pickups and GK2A
Epiphone Dot w SD Jazz/JB
Danelectro Hodad 12 string electric
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1963 Gibson Melody Maker
Various acoustics
Marshall AVT150, ART T28, Bugera 333

Stagecraft

Offline prjacobs

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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2008, 01:19:56 PM »
Jeff - Good advice.  At the very least whoever is leading any band should tell a player who's unfamiliar with the material what key the song is in.
 

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Offline Paul Marossy

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« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2008, 01:21:18 PM »
If they played simple I-VI-V progressions, it'd be simple. But they play stuff that is all over the map. I can usually fake something, but it bothers me sometimes that I can't hear a chord and know what it is. As long as I know what key we are in, I'm OK.

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www.DIYguitarist.com
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Offline jefsummers

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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2008, 05:10:21 PM »
Weird interval, or weird sounding chord? One thing that can be tough for me, listening to keyboard players, is slash chords.  F/C, for example, where they are playing an F with their right hand and a C with the left. Tough to get those "right" first time through, as it can be hard to tell which chord will sound better in a given situation. Sometimes I will try to add a few notes from the "other" chord in the slash to get things to conform. So an F/C is F-A-C and I'll add either the E or G from the C chord (making Fmaj7 or F2). Those are a lot of trial and error, and really have to be worked out in rehearsals (and I always bring a pencil to scribble in what I find out).

1998 Parker Fly Deluxe
1998 Fender Std Strat
2002 Epiphone Dot
1999 Danelectro Hodad 12 string electric
1963 Gibson Melody Maker
Various acoustics
Marshall AVT150 with 1960A Lead Cab
Vox AD30
Boss GT-8, Roland GR-30
Parker DF 724
Parker Fly Deluxe
Nitefly V2
Italia Mondial
Fender Std Strat w SCN pickups and GK2A
Epiphone Dot w SD Jazz/JB
Danelectro Hodad 12 string electric
Epiphone Gary Clark Casino
Fender Jaguar Players Custom HH
1963 Gibson Melody Maker
Various acoustics
Marshall AVT150, ART T28, Bugera 333

Stagecraft

Offline mountaindewaddict

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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2008, 05:18:03 PM »
I miss OLGA.  Man, if I would have ever thought that one day I wouldn't be able to go there and quickly grab a needed chord progression based on someone's interp. of a song, I would have saved a lot more to my hard drive.

Casey

Gear:
Parker P-44, Digitech GNX4, other stuff...
"Remember, if at first you don't succeed, you're doing it wrong."
God Bless!
Casey

Gear: Parker Fly Deluxe, Parker PDF60, Way Huge, Digitech / Hardwire, Line 6, Source Audio,T-Rex, and TC Electronic Pedals, Egnater amps, other stuff... God Bless!

Stagecraft

Offline Paul Marossy

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Stagecraft
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2008, 05:46:25 PM »
quote:
Weird interval, or weird sounding chord? One thing that can be tough for me, listening to keyboard players, is slash chords.


Not sure. I suppose part of it is how the chords are voiced on the piano. I'm sure that he must use slash chords a fair amount, a lot of church tunes I have seen use slash chords.

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