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Author Topic: Preparing for the gig.
Double D

Posts: 195
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Post Preparing for the gig.
on: August 1, 2013, 02:02
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It's summertime, so the living ain't easy; I've got twenty-one gigs with five or six different artists this August (so far). Please understand, I'm not complaining - I live for this! But there is the issue of trying to prepare for all this whilst taking care of my family duties in the day (four year olds aren't good at waiting and don't want to sit around the house all summer watching dad rehearse), and playing most nights.
This evening I went to rehearsal for one of the artists in question and we worked on roughly thirty songs over four hours. This will be the only rehearsal, the first gig is Friday and we have two shows Saturday, one of which is a duo. Now, I have the luxury of having had toured with this gentleman for several years in the early 2000's, but he hasn't lived in the same part of the country as me for quite a long time. These days we play for a week or three every summer, which means that the material is somewhat fresh, but needs a fair bit of polishing to get it to primetime (these are busy arrangements - you can't ear your way through this gig).
So what do you do? Well, first of all, give the material a listen. Then do it again. And again. And again, ad nauseum. Around the second time through, play along and try to be brutally honest with yourself - what am I hitting and what am I missing? You don't need to worry about the stuff you do know, you need to work on what you don't know, so try to take notes as to what you need work on, and as you revisit the material (over and over again) place special emphasis on visualizing playing all the trouble spots. If you're a reader (I'm not much good beyond chord charts) make a point of charting out anything that's not feeling intuitive; the act of writing it out will help you retain it. Ultimately, if you can avoid staring at a chart in front of an audience, you should.
I also recommend showing up for rehearsals over-prepared (if at all possible). If you know all the basics you can use rehearsal time to really nail down all the subtleties. Show up under-prepared and you'll waste precious rehearsal time figuring out the most obvious aspects of the tunes and probably royally piss off the bandleader, and at showtime you'll be struggling to keep up.
I like to carry the set list around with me while I'm out and about. When I have a few minutes of tedium (waiting for bus, riding bus) I like to pull it out and mentally review the songs, trying to play the arrangements through in my head as accurately as possible.
Obviously my methods require a great deal of memory work, but I like to play freely in the moment as much as possible, so I try to internalize everything I need to know to play a great show.
Anyone else got any survival secrets for gig preparation? (I'm looking at you Joe!)

Double D

Posts: 195
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Post Re: Preparing for the gig.
on: August 3, 2013, 01:58
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Well, that went well! The first night of this 'tour' was a society gig at Vancouver's Jericho Beach Tennis Club (fifty big ones to become a member - uh, what?), which forced us to be ridiculously quiet, but as it happens, it was a great first gig; these people don't really give a shit, they just want a polite and quality soundtrack to their evening out, so we were able to focus in as a group. We were quiet enough to talk easily to one another about what was about to happen, and we all concentrated on hitting our marks in an intensely arranged show. My only mistakes were basic fingering stupidity, for the most part.
Tomorrow we play an afternoon set at one joint, then the leader and I jet off to another spot and play a duo - I'll be busting out the baritone for that one. I think I'm confident enough with the material to do some serious transposing/role shifting. Wish me luck...

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Preparing for the gig.
on: August 3, 2013, 03:55
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Got to love those quiet ,orchestra type gigs no actual attention on you. Always a weird feeling but fun.Good luck and have fun with the baritone.

BlackMenSE-
O

Posts: 320
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Post Re: Preparing for the gig.
on: July 23, 2018, 00:46
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