Tag Archives: Gig

Preparing as a Substitute Musician

I have a band called, Rock & Roll Fantasy. It is a five-member Hard Rock outfit and we have a gig at an event called Day In the Park. Day In the Park is an annual event that is held in a local park (hence the name) with many vendors and organizations having displays. I have played that last two or three years as a solo performer; this is the first time with a group.

Our bassist is unavailable for the date because he has requested the day off for a gig we have September 29. So, we needed a substitute bassist. Luckily, I know a great guy and bassist, Ken Harris who was gracious enough to agree to play with us for this one date.

We had our first rehearsal with Ken on Tuesday, August 28 and he did a splendid job; especially since we just called him a week or so ago.

This week, I was asked to sub for a guitarist in an oldies rock band called, the Olde Stuff Band.

Here is a video:

The gig is this Saturday and the setlist was just confirmed today. The songs are not difficult, but I will certainly be taking a good bit of time to get comfortable with them. One thing that I find to be a bit of a challenge is playing tunes in keys other than what is in my head. Also, sometimes the key changes are extreme enough to make big changes in how things sit on the guitar.

One example of an extreme key change would be Old Time Rock and Roll, which is originally in F#. This group plays the tune in the key of D. In the key of F#, the first chord is on strings six and five, with the second and third chords on strings five and four. To play in the key of D, all of this is in reverse.

This is where knowing your entire instrument and having a solid understanding of keys is imperative. Eventually, I take all my students through the process of developing the ability to play any tune in any key. It is very important if your desire is to play either a wide range of music, or if you will be playing with vocalists to be able to play in any key.

Short charts are also very important; having everything charted in some way definitely keeps one’s head from exploding trying to remember all the tunes and the new keys.

I will write a post-gig entry to let you know how I think I fared,

…off we go!



The Point

Whatever the point may be is different for all of us. Some of us want to help others with a particular issue or set of issues. Some of us want to help ourselves to a certain desire or accumulation of successes or experiences.

Recently, I discovered that I was making myself unavailable for a work circumstance that I have been asked about on a few occasions. The reason I was making myself unavailable was that I believed that what was required of others was more than they were willing to offer in return.

What I have learned is that we should take the time to explore what we are willing to offer in exchange for whatever we are trying to achieve. Someone somewhere is likely to find what we offer and the level of exchange for which we offer it to be attractive enough for each of us to achieve our desire.

Considering all of the musicians I have met and worked with, one might imagine that some of us could work together frequently enough to keep us all busy. However, I have found just two people to be willing to be involved in my odd projects without adding what I consider to be undue requirements.

Interesting to me is that the willingness of these two musicians is less about the music or the money, but more about their attitude regarding the balance between their desires and mine. Their questions about each project are usually: Where is the gig, when is the gig, how long is the gig, what is the song-list and pay-scale.

What these musicians want, I am guessing, is a low conflict musical situation that meets their desires regarding time and income, while offering a quality interaction between us as we perform. They are also quite willing to rehearse, which is quite a rare quality in the musicians that I often meet.

I receive a great deal of reward working with these two musicians. The greatest reward is open communication. I can tell them what is important to me in our rehearsals and performances and what is not important. They are also willing to tell me what they think will improve our performances. They each have played many gigs in many different styles of music and know their instruments and its role in different musical circumstances.

So I am finding myself becoming more willing with each passing performance a growing desire to return to the original point of my work: to teach AND perform music.



50+ Gig

Wednesday, May 13, Eric H. and I played for the Lynchburg Parks and Recreation’s 50+ group. We played a 30 minute set of jazz in the pavilion at Jefferson Park. We had not yet been to Jefferson Park and found it to be a very nice park with a recreation center. Our audience seemed to appreciate our playing and the provided lunch was wonderful.

I had never played an outdoor acoustic gig before the Jefferson Park affair. I had a really difficult time hearing my guitar. I could hear Eric just fine. I forgot to ask if his perspective was the opposite of mine; could he hear me more than himself?

My family and I went to Richmond this weekend per Celeste’s request to go there for her birthday. While there, we saw a few musicians playing on the sidewalk. One had his case open the way he was supposed to if he expects any tips, but was not playing. The others were playing but had no tip jar or open case. The thought occured to me that Eric and I could rub enough brain cells together to play and have a tip receipt area in the same instance.

Any suggestions for our first busking site?



A 36 Day Diary of Gig Preparation 1

Prepare to be overwhelmed.I am currently preparing for a gig at the Virginia Ten Miler scheduled for September 27, 2008.

On a whim, I have decided to make a note each day concerning my progress.Hopefully, we will each gain something from it.At worst, I will write a lot of words and completely bore everyone.

Today, I did nothing, at least nothing for the gig.We went to a birthday cookout for two of my wife’s friends.I like them too, but they are still her friends.Claire and I started a nap under a tree and Celeste and Angela painted their hair blue.

On schedule is to have some photos taken of the band members.Oh yeah, let’s try to get that arranged.(Sarcasm)Never mind the fact that I still do not really feel confident that I have chosen the proper musicians for the gig.(Long, long story; maybe I will write it tomorrow.)

Until rehearsals occur, I will spend most of my preparation time rehearsing on my own.Basically, that entails playing the intended tunes until I want to throw them all out and start again.

I felt this way Thursday.

The rehearsals are tentatively scheduled for the third and fourth weeks of September.I hope we can find the right days.I hope we can find the right times too.The absolute most difficult part of working as a performing musician is the scheduling.We hear of that with big names as well.

Keep in mind that I have also decided that I will do minimal editing of my writing on this series and I would like to have some feedback.Frankly, I think that in previous posts I have been so thorough and final in my writing that there were no loose ends to upon which to contemplate and discuss.

I also hope to show a balance of love and hate of this process.There shall be much complaining; yet I will make a valiant effort to share the joys, whatever these might be.Just so that you turn away from music performance before you have given it a proper effort.

Here is to our future!

At least the next 36 days.