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  • How do you practise?

    Let's say you have a gig in two weeks and, for whatever reason, you need to learn a dozen new songs.

    1) would you use a lead sheet in performance or do you memorise all your songs?
    2) how would you approach the task of making the songs "gig-worthy" in the time you have?
    Originally posted by senorblues;
    ... But if it's all about familiarity, then maybe I should avoid rooms that hire guitars. There's no point in doing Creedence, Zep, Buffet, etc. all night.

  • #2
    I usually practice in front of the computer with the chord chart and a YouTube video playing along.
    http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

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    • #3
      I'll add that I play mostly wineries and restaurants so using the iPad is normal. I wouldn't do a dozen new songs at any gig where I couldn't use charts.
      http://www.patcoast.com"The guy would be strumming along, singing the verse to “Margarittavile” and then he would hit his harmonizer pedal for the chorus. It went from sounding like a guy singing and playing guitar to sounding like the Stephen Hawkings trio."-Christhee68" the singer of my cover band used to find it funny to let out gaseous forms of vile hate and sadness that would make a plaster baby Jesus weep."- FitchFY

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      • #4
        I have a tablet with the audio into a small mixer with my keyboard DI's into the Mixer and head phones and use Youtube videos. If I have a good number of songs to learn ,, I make up what I call bone chord charts on an index card for each song. I can learn songs much faster than I can retain them. I memorize the solos , horn lines etc. I don't use a music stand at live shows. Just set the index cart on the board. Makes for a clean stage look. Typically I will know a song by hart and can move that out of the index cars system. everything we do is live fire. Lot of ways to skin the cat but this seems to work best for me. I don't sing a lot of songs but typically try to learn the words by memory. If the work load gets to be too much for that I would just use a tablet like pat and find a low profile way to use the tablet with out a stand. As set lists build it gets harder to play stuff enough to keep it fresh on songs that are more complicated.
        "you mess with him and you mess with the whole trailer park"

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        • #5
          Doing it right now... Just sitting down to learn "Goo Goo Dolls "Come to Me." Opened up youtube, found the version that's comfortable to play with, figured out capo placement because I seldom bother going with custom tunings live. Grab the lyrics/chords...practice along afew times and then play it solo a few times. Import it into Songbook...gig with it.
          Last edited by Potts; 03-25-2014, 11:32 AM. Reason: Decided to learn it in Open "C"

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          • #6
            I first see of Mike Masse has done it and if he has (just learning Tainted Love so he has ) watch his version a few times on Youtube, download the chords/lyrics onto ipad via Onsong edit the chords if necessary, run it through until I am comfortable with the basic guitar playing, learn one verse at a time until it's solid, I will also put it onto a MP3 player and listen whilst doing other stuff, when I have the basic chords and lyrics solid, will work out some nice twiddly bits ie bass runs etc finally plug into an acoustic amp through voicelive play to work out harmonies and I am good to go. Cheers Steve
            Cheers Steve

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            • #7
              Depends on the songs. Since I sequence my own backing tracks, I always start there. Can I find the music? Do I have to do it all by ear? Do I have the luxury of music and a recording?

              Once the song is sequenced, I know the structure and arrangement well, and it's time for the lead parts. What will I play, sax, wind synth, guitar, vocals. I've made the decision before sequencing, but not it's time to learn that part.

              I keep a cheat sheet on one of the stage computers all the time, and memorize songs slowly. I know I would memorize them quicker if I didn't have the cheat sheet in front of me, but we do over 500 songs, and it's a lot for this brain to memorize. Nobody seems to mind an occasional glance at the computer.

              On the other hand, I probably wouldn't take a gig with that many songs to learn in such a short time. Since I have to learn the drum part, bass part, comp parts, and ear candy parts, it's a bit time consuming, and I would rather turn a gig down than show up and do anything less than an excellent job.

              Notes
              Bob "Notes" Norton
              Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
              Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
              The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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              • #8
                Yeah. Youtube video on the right screen, chord chart on the left. Play and play until it's close, then rehearse with my singer and make sure we're on the same page. Export the chords and lyrics to Songbook for my tablet. Profit!
                http://www.stlband.com
                http://www.youtube.com/sweepthelegband
                http://www.facebook.com/sweepthelegband

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                • #9
                  I'll memorize them if it's my solo or band gig, and usually read charts if I'm backing someone up. It also depends on the complexity. I just learned Time After Time (not the Lauper one) and I Thought About You. Both songs have easy chords and easy to memorize lyrics, so that's what I did - memorized them.

                  But I've been working with a guy that has so many tunes it's impossible to memorize them. Apparently he has well over three hundred, and often, just before each song he hands out the chart(usually three to five pages). Then the piano player launches into the tune before I've barely had a chance to read the title! It's a good workout for the brain, and the singer and keyboardist are great, but it's a little stressful at times. And the tunes are fairly complicated, like the Benson/Jarreau version of Summer Breeze...

                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3qYZv9J9dM

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                  • #10
                    "I Thought About You" has easy chords?
                    Originally posted by senorblues;
                    ... But if it's all about familiarity, then maybe I should avoid rooms that hire guitars. There's no point in doing Creedence, Zep, Buffet, etc. all night.

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                    • #11
                      When we do dance sets, it's sometimes important to go from song to song with absolutely no delay between them. Even a few seconds can be enough to get them heading to their seats. We call them and cue them while we are playing one song, so that we can start the next one without a beat in between.

                      Notes
                      Bob "Notes" Norton
                      Owner, Norton Music http://www.nortonmusic.com
                      Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box and add on styles for Microsoft SongSmith
                      The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by pogo97 View Post
                        Let's say you have a gig in two weeks and, for whatever reason, you need to learn a dozen new songs.

                        1) would you use a lead sheet in performance or do you memorise all your songs?
                        2) how would you approach the task of making the songs "gig-worthy" in the time you have?
                        I'm not much of a sight reader, but some situations require lead sheets. I approach my solo songs similar to Notes Norton since I also sequence. I don't use youtube because I have a vast library of music as a DJ.

                        I get the lyrics to songs from any of those type of websites, copy and paste into a word processing program, listen to the orignal recording and make corrections to the words. Start learning the chords by ear right befor or after that. Try singing and playing, download a free midi sequence that will need tweaking, try singing in different keys until I find what's best for my range, learn any riffs that are important to the song etc.

                        BD

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Shaster View Post
                          I'll memorize them if it's my solo or band gig, and usually read charts if I'm backing someone up. It also depends on the complexity. I just learned Time After Time (not the Lauper one) and I Thought About You. Both songs have easy chords and easy to memorize lyrics, so that's what I did - memorized them.
                          I do the Cindy Lauper version and it goes over well. lol

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                          • #14
                            Back to the original premise...I am not going to master 12 new songs in two weeks, and I would likely turn down the opportunity to do so. I have tried to do the 'mass speed learn' thing when I first decided to go solo, and have found that
                            a) I don't retain them well, and need to keep going back to the screen, and
                            b) if I don't stay on top of those particular tunes, I 'lose' them quickly.
                            "We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties due to reality fluctuations. The elves are working tirelessly to patch the correct version of reality. Activities here have been temporarily disabled since the fundamentals of mathematics, physics and reason may be incomprehensible during this indeterminent period of instability. Normal service will be restored once we are certain as to what 'normal' is."

                            Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting '...man, what a ride!'
                            "The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively" ~Bob Marley

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by pogo97 View Post
                              "I Thought About You" has easy chords?
                              IMHO they are. The opening descending line in "G" would be a variation of // G Gb / F E / and is pretty much a substitution for G. You could even use / G C13 / Bm E7 / for the first two bars. From there it's a bunch of II V turnarounds (or implied turnarounds) which invariably end up on the "I". Even when you go to the C#m7b5 to F#7, that leads you to the Bm to E7 and Am to D7, and presto you're back at the G. As in many jazz songs, most roads lead back to the tonic.

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