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!
Saturday, October 14th, V-Tones trio for baby shower, 4-7pm, private//
Sunday October 15th, Eden and Noodle at Gracie & Lacie's 20 year celebration! This is at the How Art Thou Cafe on Maybank, 3-6pm, we're performing at 3:35pm, free, tons of entertainment!//
Sunday October 15th, The V-Tones of Charleston at Prohibition for the Sunday Night Swing Thing, 8-11pm, free lesson at 7pm//
Saturday, October 21st, The V-Tones of Charleston at the Georgetown Wooden Boats Show, noon-4pm, down Georgetown, we're a the corner of Front and Screven, free//
Sunday, October 22nd, The Amazing Mittens at Dill Plantation for Musuem fundraiser,1-4pm//
Saturday, October 28th, The V-Tones of Charleston downtown at Marion Square for the Farmers' Market, 10am-1:30pm, free//
Saturday, October 28th, The V-Tones of Charleston for Ellitoborough Halloween Parade and party, more info tba, 6-9pm, free//
Sunday, October 29th, the V-Tones of Charleston at the West Ashley Farmers' Market, 12:15-4pm, free show!//
Sunday, N0vember 5th, V-Tones at the Cooper River Brewery, 3-6pm. free//
Tuesday, November 7th, V-Tones trio for Digital Corridor conference, lunch hour, more info tba//
Sunday, November 12th, Ukulele parade for playing Hava Nagila for Jewish Folk Festival, KKBE, downtown Charleston, more info tba//
Sunday, November 19th, V-Tones of Charleston at the West Ashley Farmers' Market, 12:15-4pm, free show//
Saturday, December 2nd, V-Tones at the Johns Island Homegrown Farmers' Market Bazaar with all kinds of musical surprises! We play 10am-1:30pm, free//
Saturday, December 9th, The Amazing Mittens at Jingles and Jammies, brunch party, private//
Saturday, December 9th, V-Tones trio for Christmas party, Bristol apts., 7-10pm, private//
Sunday, December 10th, The V-Tones 13th Annual Holiday Extravaganza, at the Main Branch of the Charleston County Public Library, 3pm, free//
Saturday, December 16th, Holiday band for private Christmas party, pm//
Sunday, December 17th, V-Tones at Marion Square Farmers' Market, 11am-2:30pm, free//