Playing in a band

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Msen, Jul 16, 2015.

  1. Msen

    Msen Piano User

    Dec 28, 2011
    I live in the Horn
    I don't feel confortable enough when jamming with a band, without any chord progressions handed out to me. That goes for piano and trumpet.

    How do you guys go about it? I am talking about simple tunes, not a bunch of jazz chords that change every 2 beats of the metronome.

    Are there any excersices I can do?

    PS: I found out that playing jamming with a saxophone is easier when I play the trumpet. Playing trumpet with a guitar is very hard for me for some reason

    I remember the days when I played the drums, my oh my, easy stuff :lol::lol::lol:
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    There's really no substitute for time and effort when it comes to assimilating new material or developing skills in a particular area. If you want to get better at jamming with a band, then do more of it, and learn to train your ear. You already know chord changes, and I'm assuming you know some of the basic jazz scales along with basic song formats, so then it's a matter of training your ear to figure out the key, and then take it from there.

    Regarding drums, I'm curious to know if you ever recorded yourself regularly. Most part time drummers think they are awesome, simply because they don't know quite what it sounds like in the mix, and they don't understand just how difficult it is to be a good, effective drummer for a band. I guarantee that it's a lot more difficult than playing basic beats and fills. The truth is, (in my experience anyway) most part time drummers are hacks - they simply don't know they are hacks.
  3. Msen

    Msen Piano User

    Dec 28, 2011
    I live in the Horn
    So any specific excercises I could do to achieve this? Maybe something I can do without the band?

    I must say I am not the world's greatest drummer, but I'm a pretty good one
  4. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    Why not just jam to the radio, or put on an album of basic tunes and jam to that? That's what I'd do in your situation. Actually, that's kind of what I am doing in the practice room these days.
  5. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Apart from the OP's original question, this is great advice for many of us. I record some of my practice sessions, and I record most of my gigs. I use a Zoom Q2HD, which is an inexpensive and very portable video/audio recorder. For me, this has been a great learning experience.

    The OP asks a great question. And since the OP asked how others go about it, here's what I do. I practice 60 to 90 minutes a day. I spend about half of this time working on my jazz skills. This includes working on jazz scales, jazz patterns, jazz style, memorizing songs, playing transcriptions, and other activities. For me, it's a long and methodical process. So I agree with Patrick, that there's "no substitute for time and effort".

    My advice is that you find a jazz teacher or find a jazz curriculum you can follow on your own. If you go with the latter, here what I've primarily used: Jamey Aebersold (primarily vols 1-3), Jamey Aebersold's Jazz Handbook, Jerry Coker's Patterns for Jazz, and Dan Haerle's Scales for Jazz Improvisation. And of course, there are many other good choices.

  6. Dennis78

    Dennis78 Fortissimo User

    Feb 1, 2015
    You may be overthinking it! Relax and feel the music then step in.
  7. jengstrom

    jengstrom Pianissimo User

    Oct 17, 2009
    Rochester, NY
    All the things Patrick and TrumpetMD have said are great starts. If you have to think very much about what your fingers are going to do, this will slow you down considerably.

    I'm not in contention for any Grammy awards, but I would add this: For starters, can you play by ear? If someone plays you a familiar melody and tells you what key it's in, can you play it without looking at music? If the answer is no, practice playing by ear. Use simple melodies at first, like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Happy Birthday to You. Work up to harder melodies. Play along with records (old Herb Alpert and Al Hirt records are great for this).

    Once you have the skill of playing by ear, improvisation many times boils down to creating your own melody that fits into the chords being played. I don't worry so much about the actual chords on the chart. At most, I might see that a certain chord is the dominant or that there is a turn around in the last 4 bars of a 16 bar phrase. Give me a progression that I can sink my teeth into and I'm happy. (The ones I dislike are the ones that stay on one chord forever or toggle between 2 chords. Then I actually have to think.)

    The bottom line is that if you have a melody in your head and you don't have to worry too much about what your fingers are going to do (because you have practiced playing melodies by ear), you can play it. Practice humming along with the radio in the car. Come up with your own harmonies. Or embellishments. Or any deviations from melodies. If you get good at creating melodies or even parts of melodies that fit into the chord progressions, you can use that skill to improvise on the horn. And you can do almost all of this without any music in front of you.

  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    IMO there are two factions that may conflict with each other when it comes to performing music, the first is a competent music reader, and the second is a player that plays only by ear. While each has its place, one seldom can readily interchange.

    I'm in the first category and stick to the written notes with my best intonation and dynamics as written or requested by the conductor. Otherwise, with age I'm not that reliant now on my ears and even still often scrap my earlier recordings. Were it otherwise there would be no need for so many rehearsals.

    Were either competent, there is zero thought about fingering as such has now become instinctive.
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    If you can train your ear, and can sing a tune in your mind, you are way ahead of anything that reading chords can provide for you. This is what I do, and only use chords as a loose (very loose) scaffolding.
  10. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I think that recording yourself is a very important step toward developing as a more polished musician. I've said before that I both love and hate recording - and for much the same reason, but in different stages. I hate it because any deficiency I might have - timing, sound, intonation, a chuff in my articulation, etc - (and for drums, that fill you I thought was awesome in the practice room might sound like @$$ on playback, or your pocket might waffling all over the place) it's all there plain to hear on playback. I also love it because I come out of every recording situation better than when I went in because it's hard to fix an issue if you weren't aware it was an issue in the first place, but once you are aware of it, sometimes tightening up the screws is a pretty simple matter.

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