There is a lot more than just playing your horn.
The following are some things to keep in mind in the music business:
SHOW UP ON TIME
ALWAYS BE HAPPY TO BE THERE
THAT FIRST IMPRESSION CAN MAKE OR BREAK
AS A PLAYER, MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE FOR ANYTHING
BE PROMPT IN RETURNING PHONE CALLS
KEEP THE ATTITUDE IN CHECK
WHAT YOU DO CAN HAVE AN AFFECT ON THE WHOLE SECTION AND THE WHOLE BAND
THE LEADER (contractor, musical director, band leader, producer, etc.) IS NOT INTERESTED IN WHO TICKED YOU OFF THAT DAY. ALL THEY WANT IS A GOOD PERFORMANCE.
COUNT THE RESTS
You see an 8 bar rest? You think you can hear an 8 bar phrase? You come in wrong?? Ha ….When sight reading, count it!! Listen for the phrase making sure it doesn’t have an odd phrase in the middle (i.e. 2 1/2 bars and 5 1/2 bars). It might be confusing and then you end up coming in wrong. Embarrassing???
REMEMBER TO ALWAYS GO BACK TO THE WOODSHED!
Ok so you got a gig! You’re playing some show or in some band playing in a club or theater or touring for a week, 3 weeks, 2 months. You figure you have a chance to relax and make a little $$. During the day, you don’t do anything. “Oh, I don’t need to take my lessons or go play in that rehearsal band cuz I’m kinda busy now.” or, “Boy I’m tired. I played til late last night and I don’t even want to look at my horn.” It’s good to maybe take a day of rest but don’t make this a habit.
ALWAYS KEEP PRACTICING! Warm up routines are of the utmost importance.
Scales, etudes, play along CD’s, whatever you normally practice. Go play in that rehearsal band. Woodwind players, play through those reeds and find a good one.
IT IS A GIVEN FACT YOU CAN PLAY YOUR INSTRUMENT. TRY TO AVOID PRACTICING (noodling) ON THE GIG.
WHEN YOU DO PRACTICE, USE A TUNER AND A METRONOME IN PART OF YOUR SESSION.
GET YOURSELF OUT OF REHEARSAL MODE AND INTO PERFORMANCE MODE
I can recall playing through 12 -15 pieces of music a semester in college. Now it can be 12 – 15 pieces a day. I found out that I needed to get into a performance mode quickly. This meant sight reading skills, awareness, ensemble practice, phrasing, styles, etc. All of this has to be addressed right away. This sounds like much preparation but remember it’s all about performing not rehearsing. Even during rehearsal try to make music each time.
DID I MENTION TO BE PATIENT?
FOR SIGHT READING ,
LEARN ALL SCALES AND ARPEGGIOS TO DEVELOP KEY CENTERS.
COUNT THE RESTS.
LISTEN TO CHORDS ON A PIANO. THE MORE THE BETTER. Learn what a 4, 8, 12 or 16 bar phrase feels like
GET TOGETHER WITH FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES AND PLAY. DUETS, TRIOS, ANY COMBINATION. A GOOD PRACTICE IS TO PLAY DUETS USING A METRONOME.
TRADE FOURS, CHORUSES
BE AWARE OF EVERYTHING AROUND YOU
Practice this when sight reading. This is something that is often overlooked when performers are too busy with their own thing and don’t pay attention to what is going on in the rest of the ensemble. Try to pick out another instrument and see if the part you have matches theirs.
Use your ear to hear where you are in relationship to everything else. This seems easy, but always keep it in use. Not just with like instruments, but with all the instruments or vocals in the group. Try to create a sense of cooperation even if you have never met the person next to you. This probably means stepping up your performance level (I know I already talked about this). Seeing something for the first time and reacting accordingly!!
One of the greatest challenges I’ve had in teaching students jazz improvisation and interpretation is getting the melodic lines they play to feel good and sound authentic. Put another way, get them to “swing”. Swinging is the central element to almost every great jazz musician’s conception.
The first and most important thing a student must does to develop a good swing feel is to listen and copy the feeling that great jazz musicians get on recordings. Getting that feel on a wind instrument involves not only where the notes are placed in the beat, but also the way the notes are phrased and articulated in combination with the shape and timing of a particular line. I’ve heard many students play a Charlie Parker solo they’ve learned from the Omni book and sound nothing like Charlie Parker because of the way they phrased it. On the other hand, I’ve heard students who have sounded much more like Charlie Parker because of their conception of phrasing, even though they may have played some wrong notes.
TRY TO BE EXTREMELY FLEXIBLE
Sometimes people don’t really know what they want musically. If there seems to be communication gap, get the job done diplomatically .
Reputation is what people think of you. Character is what you think of you. Try to keep what you think of you and people think of you in line. Don’t be surprised if what you perceive as right is different to other people. This sounds obvious but many people overlook it
There is a lot more than just playing your horn.