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Band leader picking too many new songs for gigs

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  • Band leader picking too many new songs for gigs

    There was a recent post here about how much new material people do for a band per gig,

    http://www.harmonycentral.com/t5/Backstage-With-the-Band/How-many-new-songs-will-you-learn-for-your-next-gig/m-p/34858423#U34858423

    and it seems like the bands I am working with do a lot more in that respect.   One of the bandleader I work with picks anywhere between 4-8 new songs per gig, sometimes doing two sets of new music with 1-2 rehearsals.  We gig about 2-3 times a month.  We can handle it, but a lot of things just aren't very tight because we have so many new things. Also, There are many instances where the bandleader is pretty shaky on the new material too.    

    Personally, I would like to have list of tunes where evertyhing is second nature to us and we can do it without having to think too much, and add new materials slowly. This band has been in existance for almost 3 years but we really don't have any tunes that are second nature to us.  We just keep on jumping from one new material to other, barely skimming through the tunes.

    As if that's not band enough, I have other bands where I have to learn like 12-15 new tunes every single gig too.  My problem isnt that I can't do it or the workload is too much, but it just seems like it's unrealistic to expect the band to be tight when you throw so much at them all the time. The audience likes what we do and band members seems sastisfied with their work., but IMO a lot of things we play feel somewhat half-baked to me.  

    I was wondering if others here have had similar expereince, and I would like to know what you got out of it.

     


  • #2
    What's his reasoning for rushing new songs?

    Comment


    • etcetra
      etcetra commented
      Editing a comment

      I don't think there is any reason other than bandleader being overly ambitious and not really paying attention to details.  As far as I am concerned thare are lot of little mistakes, and there are a lot of songs where everyone is not on the same page as far as hits/form  concerned.  I undertstand that some of the gigs we do and requires learing a lot of new songs, but I don't see why you can't slowly add those songs slowly over the span of 2-3 months, isntead of learning them all at once two weeks before the gig.  

      Here's another example.. we had a gig last week where one of the horn players couldn't come to any of the reharsal(he lives far way).  Instead of picking tunes we can already do, he picked like 3-4 new tunes and we were rushing through them during sound check.   

      IMO Overreaching seems like a common problem with jazz bands in my area.  it almost seems like doing something easy or doing the same tune is frowned upon or something.  There really is no sense of really playing/working on a tune until you really own it. I've seen student bands trying to play tunes like "Actual Proof", or Body and Soul in 5/4, even though they can barely get through easier standards or funk tunes without getting lost or lose their time, but so many teachers are encouringing them to play something way beyond their abilities. They reheasre, do a sloppy job on their concert and move on to other difficult music.. and they won't go back to revist those tunes  becuase for them it's "been there, done that".  I just see what is happening as an extension of that mentality. 

       

       


  • #3

    Sooner or later - a push for new material usually runs into the problem of diminishing returns the longer the push continues.   Adding new material at too fast a pace almost always ends up meaning that the new material learned previously never makes it to the point of being "burned" into the band's memory. 

    There are times that cramming a lot of new tunes is a requirement (i.e., start-ups, special gigs, etc.) - but for a long-term way of life, no thanks.   The right number of tunes to learn depends on many factors (the complexity of the tune, the skill of the musicians, the degree of familiarity the band has with the genre - as well as how much time each band member has to devote to woodshedding new material).   For me, a sustainable balance is 1-2 tunes a week assuming the tunes are typical medium complexity rock/pop covers .... maybe stretch that to 3 a week if one of 'em is anywhere close to a no-brainer. 

    I've got a pet peeve that's somewhat related.   I hate when I put in the effort to learn new material - and then see it not make the playlist on a regular basis right after we've learned it.  Not playing a recently learned song almost guarantees that it won't be there if/when it does get called.   Knowing that I'm watching precious time and energy I spent on learning something essentially being thrown away always sticks in my craw a bit. 

    The SpaceNorman

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    Comment


    • etcetra
      etcetra commented
      Editing a comment

      Spacenorman

       

      I agree, My gripe is that a lot of gigs we've been doing does really feel like we are cramming the material.. and IMO it shows.  It's doable, but the level of confidence and comfort is just not there.  There are a lot of songs we've done that we didn't revisit, and I felt like we've never done justice on them either.  It seems like the older I get, the more I think about quality over quantity.  Whether it's pop/rock cover, jazz, hip hop or anything else playing it and really owning are two different things, and I feel like my (or the band's) idea of doing a tune has been somewhat superficial.  There are people out there who's been signing/playing the same songs for decades, and build a lifetime relationships with a particualr song. IMO there needs to be some of that too.

      BTW I did get an e-mail from the band leader about this issue just now.  He basically said he just wanted to try new things, challenge ourselves and broaden our horizons.. all valid point, but I also told him there needs to be balance between that and what I mentioned above.


    • jeff42
      jeff42 commented
      Editing a comment

      SpaceNorman wrote:

      I've got a pet peeve that's somewhat related.   I hate when I put in the effort to learn new material - and then see it not make the playlist on a regular basis right after we've learned it.  Not playing a recently learned song almost guarantees that it won't be there if/when it does get called.   Knowing that I'm watching precious time and energy I spent on learning something essentially being thrown away always sticks in my craw a bit. 


       

      We have a 3 gig rule when learning new tunes. If it bombs for 3 gigs in a row it is GONE. No matter who likes playing it or how new it is to us. If our crowd doesn't dig it it is useless. If it does so-so it will last longer but once it gets to the point where no one is responding to it...or it is replaced/we don't need it- IT IS GONE. 

       As far as new the amount of new material goes when we get together we usually do 2-3 tunes per practice. We also know what those tunes will be around a week prior. 


  • #4

    kl285528 wrote:
    It is only when the song is so much on autopilot that I can turn my attention to the crowd and the show and the performance . I remember the drama teacher in school saying that working on the play only really begins after you get rid of the scripts (i.e. - memorized them) . I think of the same thing in my band.

     ^^^^ THIS

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    My cover band

    HARD WORK BEATS TALENT WHEN TALENT DOESN'T WORK HARD

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