Have any of you done anything like this?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Masterwannabe, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. Masterwannabe

    Masterwannabe Mezzo Piano User

    Sep 11, 2009
    My wife and I have taken to 'snow birding' from Colorado to Arizona (3rd year in Quartzsite) now. The winter population of this little crossroads town in the middle of the desert is astounding, RVers form all over the US and Canada. Anyway all of the bigger RV parks have big recreation halls and most of them sponsor what they call 'jam sessions', they are all themed differently, i.e. Country, Gospel, Big Band and Variety. These events are somewhat mis-nomered in my book but they are great fun. What they are comprised of is basically Karaoke to live musicians but the whole concept is rather unique I think.

    What happens is that some singer gets up on stage and says they want to perform some song in whatever key. Now the musicians are expected to play background for the singer (and not everybody play the melody) providing appropriate rhythm, harmony & fill and nobody has a sheet of music and sometimes the singer will give a break to a musician expecting a solo.

    All of these folks are seasoned citizens and 90 % of them older than me. The quality of musicians range from what would appear to be beginner to professional. There is one keyboard player here that can play anything in any key and he doesn't have to adjust the keyboard electronically. Most of the musicians are guitar/string players with the next group being keyboard followed by the occasional sax, clarinet, accordion and then me the lone trumpet player.

    I have been using these as a method to enhance my playing by ear and limited improv skills (or lack thereof).

    I was just wondering if any of you have ever attempted/experienced this form of performance and if you had any tips for success (besides practice, practice, practice)?:play:
  2. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 22, 2010
    Maybe one thing to have in the bag is knowing the major and minor pentatonic scales cold - hard to get into too much trouble with them.
  3. Lionelsax

    Lionelsax Mezzo Piano User

    May 8, 2013
    You need to think about degrees, not about notes. Most of bass, keyboard and guitar players think only about degrees you have to think like them, for example you don't play C- F7 BbMajor7 but a II V I in the key of Bb, learn the degrees you play (we call them patterns), be aware about it and you will play whatever you like.
    But it can be a problem when you have to play a theme, if it's a simple theme it's OK but if it's a bebop theme that's another story.

    Learn to play the keyboard or the guitar and think about degrees.
  4. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    This is pretty typical jam session fare, or a jazz gig with a vocalist.

    Also, trust your eyes and muscle memory. They know more than your brain does. The key to playing by ear is no relax and not think about it enough to tense up.
  5. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    Ah yes, Quartzite America--I know it well. Anyway, 90% of your songs are going to be in easy guitar keys--C,D,G and A. Unfortunately for you that means D, E, A and B. All you need to do is know the I, IV, V (V7) and vi (minor) arpeggio for each key. When you're practicing scales just tag the arpeggios on the end of your scales. That should get you through more than 90% of all the stuff you're going to run into at the "jam sessions".

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