To my fellow, budding musicians out there, I'd like to discuss the fine art of "sittin' in". You might find yourself at a jam, or even on stage playing music with people you've only just met, playing songs you might never have even heard. What do you do? The first rule is Stay Out Of The Way--which means to let the leader, or singer do their thing and don't clutter up the mix. Listen first, then add something subtle. Don't play too much. Keep it quiet at first. Follow the singer--if they go to the bridge, go to the bridge! Don't fight the flow! Go with the flow.
The second rule is Support The Song. Try to find out the key. Just fill in little spaces. Take turns. Listen. If someone else is playing chords, don't double that, just add what you can. Try to illustrate the meaning of the song with your contributions. For soloing, do your thing, then stop! Let somebody else take over. There's nothing worse than a virtuoso who can't stop playing over everybody. Think about playing behind them. If they get lost, jump in and steer them back to the melody. You don't have to be in the foreground all the time, do you? Add color and texture.
The third rule is, If You Know What You're Doing, Bring It On Stong. That means if you're swingin', swing hard! If you've got something to say, say it! Now, don't go on forever---but your confidence and energy can bring the whole band together. The great musicians I've had the pleasure of playing with could match their style to the group. Don't ditch the group--keep with them. Music isn't a competition.
In general, if you've been asked to 'sit in' by a band that is on stage, just play a song or two and get off. The old jazz etiquette is a lost treasure, so we're not too sure how do these things anymore, but from what I've been told by the Wise Ones: Don't assume that you get to sit in just because you came to the gig, and if you do get asked to sit in, take a little time to warm up (tune) before getting on stage, and once on stage just play one or two songs unless the band begs you to stay. Just remember, folks, music is the universal language--you can play music even with folks you don't know! It's magic, so treat it as a precious gift!
Even More Videos!
Friday, July 20th, the Amazing Mittens at Savannah Grace happyhour, 3pm, private//
Friday, July 20th, The Amazing Mittens at One Broad Street , Art Walk , 7-9pm, free//
Saturday, July 28th, Adults Ukulele Workshop at Hungry Monks Music School, big fun!! $50 10am-noon//
Sunday, July 29th, The Amazing Mittens at One Broad Street,,brunch, 10am-1pm, free//
Tuesday, July 31st, the V-Tones of Charleston at Interfaith Gathering, Little Switzerland, NC, private//
Saturday, August 4th, The V-Tones of Charleston at the Main Branch of the public library for the Media Literacy Week, more info tba//
Saturday, August 11th, The V-Tones at the Charleston Farmers Market, Marion Square 10an-1;30pm, free//
Sunday, August 12th, She Goes He Goes at Prohibition for the Swing Dance, 9-11pm, free//
Wednesday, August 15th, V-Tones at West Ashley Farmers Market, Ackerman park, 3-7pm, free//
Friday, August 17th, The Amazing Mittens at Savannah Grace, 3pm, private//
Saturday, August 18th Noodle & friends at the Johns Island farmers market, 9am-1pm, free//
Saturday, August 18th, mystery show//
Saturday, August 25th, Adult Ukulele workshop at Hungry Monks music school,, August 18th, Noodle & friends at the Johns Island 1948 Belgrade, 10am-noon, $75//
Thursday, August 30th, the V-Tones of Charleston
at the Johns Island Tattooed Moose, 6-9pm, free//
Saturday, September 1st, The V-Tones of Charleston at Marion square farmers market, 10am-1;30pm, free//
Tuesday, September 4th, The V-Tones of Charleston presented by Awendaw Green at the Footlights Theater, 20 Queen street, . 7-10pm,more info tba//
Friday, September 14th, the V-Tones of Charleston at the World Music cafe show, South of Broadway Theater, Park Circle, North Charleston, more info tba//
Friday, September 21st, The Amazing Mittens at Savannah Grace for their happyhour, 3pm, private//
Saturday, September 29th, V-Tones at Sierra Club fundraiser, Santee Canal park,, more info tba//
Saturday, October 13th, V-Tones at Middleton Plantation for wedding, 4-5pm, private//
Friday, October 19th, The Amazing Mittens at Savannah Grace for their happyhour, 3pm, private//
Saturday, October 20th, The V-Tones of Charleston at Marion square farmers market, 10am-1;30pm, free//
Wednesday, October 31st, Noodle at Franke at Seaside, 2;30-3:30pm, private//
Sunday, Nov. 4th, 100th Anniversary of the WWI armistice, Main Branch, public library, more info tba//
Sunday, December 9th, the V-Tones of Charleston present our 14th Annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Main Branch of the Public Library,3pm, free//
September 20th, wedding at Whitepoint Gardens, private//